Mercian Medals: Army Battalion Recognised For Operational Achievements

In the last two years, 2 Mercian have served on both Operation Shader and Operation Toral.

Soldiers from 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment have received medals for their recent tours of Afghanistan and Iraq.

During the last two years, 2 Mercian have served on both Operation Shader, the UK contribution to the fight against so-called Islamic State (IS), and Operation Toral in Kabul.

They call themselves the Heart of England’s Infantry, and as well as supporting numerous operations, they have also moved to Cyprus.

Under the watchful eye of their mascot, Private Derby the 32nd, personnel gathered on the parade Square at Episkopi Garrison, to receive their operational medals.

On hand to present the medals was the Mercian's Regimental Colonel, Major General Ian Cave.

It was a day for the battalion to look back with pride.

Back in 2017, 2 Mercian deployed to Northern Iraq, training the Peshmerga in the fight against IS.

Then last summer, just a few weeks after they’d arrived in Cyprus, a company of troops was sent to Kabul on Operation Toral.

For 2 Mercian this was a chance to recognise all it has achieved, from providing security in Afghanistan, to helping in the defeat IS.

It was a day to look back with pride in a busy few years for this battalion.

Private Harry Goodwin served on Op Toral in Afghanistan and told Forces News: "Going out, getting to work with different nations, learning a lot, seeing how the battalion operates at operational level and then coming back now, is a sort of a nice conclusion to it all getting a medal.

"It's what we've been waiting for for a few months."

It has been a busy few years for the battalion.

One recipient of the Op Toral medal, Private Alex Hoddinott commented: "It's a very proud moment for me.

"I'm sure my Mum will be really proud of me, so yeah, I'm happy with that."

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Davis, Commanding Officer, 2 Mercian said: "2 Mercian - I always joke to all my peers I've got the most operationally experienced battalion in all the Army, and so far no one has come back to me to give me an example of someone who's done more than us in the last few years, that's for sure.

"I think it's a real marker, and it's amazing what a little bit of metal and some ribbon can mean to someone and it's really that sense of belonging and you feel as if you've made it in the team."