Cllr Robert Pritchard, Deputy Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, is calling on councillors to support his proposal to honour LCpl Watchman V (and his successors) by presenting him with the “Freedom of the Borough of Tamworth.”
Cllr Robert Pritchard believes this is a very important proposal that will honour our historic links with the Staffordshire Regiment (now 3 Mercian).
LCpl Watchman V is the former regimental mascot of the Staffordshire Regiment and still carries out numerous duties. He is loved by former Staffords, current 3 Mercian soldiers and most of all – the public. LCpl Watchman V is the fifth mascot to carry the name Watchman, and it has been handed from one mascot to the next.
The Staffordshire Regiment was merged with other regiments in 2007 leading to the formation of the Mercian Regiment here in Tamworth. The Staffordshire Regiment became their third battalion and like the rest of the regiment adopted LCpl Derby (a ram), who was the mascot of the Worcester Foresters.
The Mercian Regiment no longer officially recognise LCpl Watchman V as a mascot and this has ended a very long and treasured tradition of the Staffordshire Regiment. Although LCpl Watchman V no longer has any official position in the Mercian Regiment, he is still serving and working to promote the actions being carried out by all soldiers in the Mercian Regiment. Furthermore, he still actively engages in local events including the Olympic Torch relay celebration here in Tamworth last year.
This lack of official recognition LCpl Watchman V no longer has the Freedom of the Borough and would be present with the Regiment when it marches through Tamworth. This honour was enjoyed by previous Watchman when the Staffordshire Regiment held Freedom of the Borough.
Cllr Robert Pritchard’s proposal would further cement Tamworth’s special links with the Mercian Regiment, while remembering the local significance of the Staffordshire Regiment.
Cllr Pritchard said, “I think it is important that we have such a powerful and significant symbol of Staffordshire regaining the honour and joining the Mercian Regiment when they return home to Tamworth. I am very confident that most other Staffordshire towns will follow our example.”
He added, “As you can imagine there is a lot of passion over LCpl Watchman V’s importance, especially as many regular army veterans in Tamworth are former Staffords. Like them, I would very much like to see LCpl Watchman V again in Tamworth, carrying out his duties with unique the Staffordshire links he provides, while backed up with restoration of the important “Freedom of the Borough of Tamworth” status.”