Queen unveils memorial to the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment

Queen Elizabeth II views the new Duke of Lancaster's Regimental memorial during a service at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire. Image copyright PA
Image caption The lion faces the north-west in tribute to the origins of The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment

The Queen has unveiled a new memorial to those who died while serving with the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment.

She laid a wreath at the Lion of England bronze statue at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire after a service earlier.

Since the regiment was set up in 2006, its soldiers have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan where 32 have died.

The dedication service was attended by wounded veterans, Army personnel, families and friends.

The infantry regiment was formed after the merger of the King's Own Royal Border Regiment, the King's Regiment and the Queen's Lancashire Regiment.

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Media captionNew memorial for The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment

The lion faces north-west England in tribute to the origins of the regiment, of which the Queen, who holds the title of Duke of Lancaster, is Colonel-in-Chief.

It recruits soldiers Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester.

Stonemason Nick Johnson and sculptor Georgie Welch crafted the lion from clay before it was cast at a foundry.

Ms Welch said: "The Queen said it was very life-like and that it had a real look of power. She also said it looked fearless."

The new statue is one of more than 300 dedicated memorials in the 150-acre site in Staffordshire.

At the scene

Dave Guest, BBC North West Tonight

For those whose loved ones are remembered by the new memorial, today was a day of pride and poignancy.

Naturally, there was was sadness recalling lives cut short too soon. But there was pride too in the fact they died for Queen and country.

Tracy Dunn-Bridgeman, from Liverpool, was among those who made the journey to the National Memorial Arboretum. She lost her son Jason to the Afghanistan conflict in 2009.

She said: "They say the Regiment's its own little family, and although the lads have all got their individual headstones, this is a family headstone for want of a better description."

Darren Deady, from Westhoughton near Bolton, had wanted to be a soldier from being a boy. He was injured in Afghanistan and died in 2010.

Today his mum Julie Hall and bother Daniel watched the Queen dedicate the new memorial to the fallen of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment with a deep sense of pride.

"It's beautiful," said Mrs Hall. "It remembers all the boys and all the boys are together."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Queen laid a wreath at the Lion of England statue after a service of dedication

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