Stoke & Staffordshire

Mercian 3rd Battalion begins week of final parades

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Media captionSoldiers from the 3rd Battalion, the Mercians, returned from Afghanistan in April

The 3rd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment - formerly the Staffords - is taking part in a series of marches to mark its return from active duty in Afghanistan.

After parading through Wolverhampton, they will march through seven other towns before formally merging with the 1st and 2nd Battalions on Saturday.

The regiment said it was a chance for the 250 soldiers to mark their return from operations in Afghanistan.

The final march will be through Lichfield before a cathedral service.

The government announced in 2012 the regiment would lose one of its battalions as part of a programme of cuts, and on Saturday 3 Mercian will merge with the 1st and 2nd Battalions.

Speaking at the first of the parades, in Stafford on Monday, Major Neil Kelly thanked the people who turned out to watch.

He said: "You can see the smiles on the soldiers faces, it means a lot to the whole battalion."

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