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Duke opens remembrance garden to honour war heroes at The Staffordshire Regiment Museum

Staffordshire | | Published:

A memorial dedicated to soldiers from Staffordshire was given a royal seal of approval at its official opening.

His Royal Highness Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester opened a remembrance garden at The Staffordshire Regiment Museum on Thursday.

The memorial, which is dedicated to Staffordshire and Mercian soldiers, was designed and built by veterans of The Staffordshire Regiment, and was funded by Arnold Clark Motorstore.

Danielle Crozier, curator at the museum, said: "We're delighted that HRH selected us as one of his visits today.

Duke of Gloucester officially opens the museum's new remembrance garden

"It was an honour for us to have him open our new memorial garden, and means a huge amount to have the veterans and volunteers work acknowledged like this."

Major, Retired, Jim Massey served with The Staffordshire Regiment and is a trustee at the museum.

He said: "The visit was a huge honour for the museum, and something we'd been looking forward to for weeks.

"HRH's visit highlights the fantastic work that our volunteers produce, and is certainly a day to remember for all those connected to The Staffordshire and Mercian Regiment."

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During his visit, The Duke of Gloucester enjoyed a tour of The Coltman Trench, a 100-metre reconstruction of British frontline from the First World War.

Volunteers and re-enactors were on hand to give him first-hand experience on what life on the front line might have been like.

The regimental mascots of The Mercian Regiment and Staffordshire Regimental Association, Swaledale Ram Private Derby XXXI and Staffordshire Bull Terrier Sergeant Watchman V, were also in attendance.

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The museum was selected for the visit after being recognised for its work with the local community over the past few years. It was awarded The Queens Award for Voluntary Service in 2013.

His Royal Highness stopped at the museum ahead of visits to the National Memorial Arboretum and Claymills Pumping Station in Burton-upon-Trent.

The Staffordshire Regiment Museum preserves the history of the Staffordshire Regiment, going back to 1705 and covering until the present day.

The Mercian Regiment is the Heart of England's Infantry, recruiting from five counties: Cheshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire. They also cover the Black Country and the Wirral.

They first formed in September 2007, bringing together the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, the 1st Battalion, Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment and the 1st Battalion, Staffordshire Regiment.

The Regiment has deployed on eight operational deployments since its formation.

Those interested in the reproduction trench can be given a tour of the facility next month.

One of the museum's WWI personnel will offer help bring to life what time in the trenches would have been like for British soldiers. Visitors will also get to try on a reproduction uniform and maybe handle a 1915 Lee Enfield rifle at an event on May 2.

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