Sheffield historic ‘Dukes’ safe but set to lose identity

Cyril Withers, chairman of Sheffield Duke of Wellington's Regiment Old Comrades' Association
Cyril Withers, chairman of Sheffield Duke of Wellington's Regiment Old Comrades' Association

SHEFFIELD veterans of the historic former Duke of Wellington’s Regiment have been told the current battalion bearing its name will lose its identity under a shake-up of the Army.

Although Third Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, successor to The Dukes, is not being axed, it will be renumbered as the Second Battalion.

The current Second Battalion - the former Green Howards - is being cut.

A letter from Major General Graham Binns, Colonel of the Yorkshire Regiment, has written to ‘friends’ of the affected units.

He said: “After the merger, we will have two fully-manned battalions of the Yorkshire Regiment.

“These Battalions will not be PWO Prince of Wales’ Own, Dukes or Green Howards. They will be Yorks. Hence the removal of our antecedent titles.”

Cyril Withers, chairman of Sheffield Duke of Wellington’s Association Old Comrades’ Association, who fought in the Korean War, said: “It’s a real shame and as if our historical regiment which dates back 300 years is being rubbed out.

“We would like to keep the name alive. The regiment has such a history - people have joined and still do because their relatives served before them.

“This decision is getting rid of tradition.”

Mr Withers, aged 79, was also concerned about what will happen to the regiment’s old standards and battle honours once the changes take place in Autumn 2013. Some 17 Army units are being axed.