The death of the Regimental Mascot, Private Derby XXXI cast a shadow over the celebrations to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Mercian regiment.

Soldiers from Bulford based 1 MERCIANS joined their comrades from the Reserve battalion, 4 MERCIAN, to march through the streets of Tamworth, just as it did on formation in 2007.

Regimental Mascot, Private Derby, who was due to have led the parade, was sadly missing having lost his battle with illness the day before.

Pte Derby, a Swaledale ram, had been unwell for some weeks but his condition suddenly deteriorated on Friday and on veterinary advice he was put to sleep.

Most recently Pte Derby played an important role leading the Mercian Regiment on public duties, including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

Colonel of the Regiment, Brigadier (Retd) Andrew Williams OBE, said: "For The Mercian Regiment this is a day of celebration for our first 10 years, so we are particularly saddened that we should lose our Regimental Mascot, Private Derby.

"Pte Derby XXXI was a great character, behaving impeccably when on parade and drawing great crowds of young fans who loved to pet him. Back in barracks, though, he was never slow to assert his authority and keep the soldiers on their toes."