The Regimental Mascot
The Sherwood Foresters, The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters and now The Mercian Regiment still have an official mascot. Private Derby is a Swaledale Ram who can trace is lineage back to 1858.
In 1858 the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment were chasing the mutineers across India. Tethered in a temple yard in Kotah they found a fine fighting ram. He accompanied the Regiment for the rest of the campaign, marching 3000miles, being present at six battles against the mutineers and defeating 33 other rams. from that time to this there has always been a Ram as a Regimental mascot. He is known as Private Derby and after prolonged periods of good behaviour he can be promoted to Lance Corporal, he leads the Regiment on parade. He is accompanied and cared for by his handlers, the Ram Major and Ram Orderly. on his death or retirement his replacement is presented by His Grace The Duke of Devonshire, from his pedigree Swaledale herd at Chatsworth in North Derbyshire.
When on parade, Private Derby wears a coat of scarlet with Lincoln green and gold facings, the whole emblazoned with the Regiment’s main Battle Honours. Also on his coat is to be found a replica of his India Mutiny Medal. In addition, he now wears the General Service Medal 1962 with the clasp Northern Ireland as he has been stationed there several times over the years. On his forehead is a silver plate embossed with the Regimental Cap Badge.