Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has unveiled a new memorial to commemorate those who have died whilst serving with the North West’s Infantry – The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.
The Queen, who is also the regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief, attended the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire earlier today to perform the ceremony and meet some of the families of the soldiers whose names are commemorated there.
The regiment recruits from Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester and was formed on 1st July 2006 by the amalgamation of the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment, the King’s Regiment and the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment. In that decade, a total of 32 of its soldiers have died in service, 19 as a result of injuries sustained on operations.
Tracy Dunn-Bridgeman, mother of Kingsman Jason Dunn-Bridgeman who died in 2009 following a fire-fight in Afghanistan, travelled from her home in Liverpool to be at the ceremony. She said: “Jason’s is not the only name on this memorial, there are others. Although we have an individual headstone to remember him by, this is a place we can come to remember that wider family of the regiment too.”
Brigadier Peter Rafferty, Colonel of the Regiment, said: “This is the first memorial this regiment has commissioned since it was formed and it is appropriate that its focus is on the families who have suffered so much in that time.”
A consultation across all ranks led to the sculpting of the ‘Lion of England’ – an ancient royal badge, which is not only the regiment’s nickname, but is a symbol worn on the arms of its soldiers. The monument is cast in bronze, seated on a plinth of Cumbrian stone and its outstretched paw points home to the North West of England.
Brigadier Rafferty added: “We captured the essence of what our soldiers wanted to say about their characters and the character of the regiment.”
The Queen joined family and friends of the fallen, wounded, current serving soldiers and veterans, to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.