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Old soldier Derby Ram has just faded away...
A REGIMENTAL mascot who has rubbed horns with Royalty has died after suffering ill health for a number of months.
The 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment takes its heritage from the former Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment which recruits soldiers from the county. A spokesman for the regiment said: “It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of L Cpl Derby XXIX on December 6.
“L Cpl Derby has suffered from ill-health for a number of months despite treatment from the Royal Army Veterinary Corps and local vets.
“A new ‘Derby’ has been kindly offered to the Regiment by his Grace the 12th Duke of Devonshire. The selection procedure is in process and it is hoped the new Derby XXX will be available in the New Year. LCpl Derby XXIX will be a great loss to the regiment. However, we look forward to his successor carrying on this proud regimental tradition into the future.”
The late L Cpl Derby was promoted from the rank of private as a reward for his good behaviour, particularly when representing the regiment on parade. He is the 29th Derby ram since the mascot’s introduction in 1858. L Cpl Derby has two handlers from the regiment’s drums platoon whose duty is to look after him at all times. The senior handler is called the ‘Ram Major’ and the other ‘Ram Orderly’.
They escort L Cpl Derby when he is on parade by standing, one on each side, and leading or controlling him with two white ornamental ropes that are attached to a leather collar. It is the responsibility of the Ram Major to prepare L Cpl Derby for all parades and the other appearances that he makes.The Army recognised L Cpl Derby as a soldier and he even had his own regimental number and documentation. He was paid £3.75 per day. In addition, he also drew his rations like any other soldier. L Cpl Derby even had a leave card and took annual holiday at the Chatsworth Estate.