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Hundreds to march through Chester ahead of anniversary service

Published date: 03 September 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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UP to 300 soldiers and veterans will march their way through Chester on Sunday ahead of a service to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Mons.

Members of The Cheshire Regiment Association and soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, will march to Chester Cathedral, led by The Band of The Mercian Regiment and the Regiment’s mascot, Private Derby.

Thousands are expected to gather for the commemorative parade which will begin at Chester’s Grosvenor Street from 10.20am.

The service will commemorate the battle, and will also be the Diocese of Chester’s commemoration of the centenary of the start of The Great War.

Following the service, The Mercian Regiment and Cheshire Regiment Association (CRA) will be joined by the Royal British Legion and other ex-Service organisations as well as the Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force, Air Training Corps and Combined Cadet Force detachments.

The salute will be taken by The Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, Mr David Briggs MBE, The Lord Mayor of Chester, Councillor Bob Rudd and Brigadier Ian Cave, Deputy Colonel of The Mercian Regiment and president of the CRA.

It will be a poignant day for The Mercian Regiment and CRA, with antecedent Regiment, the 1st Battalion of the 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment heavily involved in the Battle of Mons. Other antecedent Regiments of The Mercian Regiment also saw action at Mons, with The Sherwood Foresters also involved.

On August 24, 1914, 1st Battalion of the 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment were ordered to take up a defensive position outside the Belgian village of Audregnies. Their role was to delay the advance of the German IV Corps.

Despite the fact that more than half of the men were reservists, and being abandoned by the rest of the Allied Army, they delayed the advance by four hours. In the end it took four German Regiments, each of three Battalions to surround the Battalion, which was by now standing alone. A senior German officer is reputed to have said, “I have captured a Division, but have nothing but Cheshire’s.”

On this date last month, Mercian soldiers and the CRA made a pilgrimage to Audregnies to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Mons.

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