The historic battalion titles of the county’s three famous Army regiments are to be consigned to history.
Officials last night confirmed that the famous names of the Duke of Wellington’s (3 Yorks), Prince of Wales’s (1 Yorks) and Green Howards (2 Yorks) will not be retained as the Yorkshire Regiment is slimmed down.
The 3rd Battalion, formed from the disbanded Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and which largely recruits in the Bradford area, will disappear and its colours laid up.
The decision has left the mother of one Bradford soldier, who was serving with 3 Yorks when he was killed in conflict in Afghanistan last year, “heartbroken”.
The huge Army shake-up ordered by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is due to start this autumn and as part of the process the Yorkshire Regiment will shrink to two regular battalions, 1 Yorks and 2 Yorks with the reserve battalion, 4 Yorks, retaining its title.
The Telegraph & Argus reported last year that the 2nd Battalion (2 Yorks) would be merged into the remaining units with the 3rd Battalion rebranded 2 Yorks.
Monica Kershaw, whose 19-year-old son Private Chris Kershaw was serving with 3 Yorks when he was the youngest of six troops to be killed when their armoured vehicle was blown up on March 6 last year, said that 3 Yorks was part of her son.
“I just think it is absolutely disgusting and heartbreaking,” she said.
“It is 3 Yorks where Chris came from and it is always going to be lost.
“It just does not make sense. You lose your son then lose everything else. It is just not right.”
The colours of the 3rd Battalion will then be laid up within the next five years, with the Battalion’s Honorary Colours being moved around the three remaining Battalions each year.
Lieutenant Colonel David O’Kelly, regimental secretary of the Yorkshire Regiment, when asked whether losing the 3rd Battalion would mean the loss of history and significance to so many, said: “You never lose your history.
“There will still remain a link to our antecedent past. We use it as a handrail rather than an anchor. We are not anchored to the past, we use it as a guide from the past to the future.
“I would say the Duke of Wellington Regiment ceased to exist as a regiment in 2006. We were able to carry on antecedent lineage from old to new when we had three regular Battalions, but we are not able to do that any more.
“We have chosen not to treat it as a disbandment of one, but a merger of all three.”
Keighley Conservative MP Kris Hopkins, who served with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, said he was sorry that the names of the famous Yorkshire Regiments were being lost.
“However, the historic names – including the Dukes of Wellington’s with whom I was immensely proud to serve – were effectively lost back in 2006 when the then Labour Government presided over the formation of the Yorkshire Regiment.
“I would be very sorry to see the names not being used for ceremonial purposes, but that must be a decision for the regiment rather than politicians.”