A CELEBRATED dog is to be given the freedom of Uttoxeter during this year’s Remembrance Day parade, town hall bosses have revealed.
Watchman V, the mascot of the Staffordshire Regiment, will be given the honour to underline Uttoxeter’s support for the armed forces.
Traditional historic benefits given to freemen and women include the right to be exempt from charges and tolls, graze cattle anywhere in Uttoxeter and drive sheep through the centre of town. While Watchman V will not be able to enjoy these perks, it is hoped the move will raise the profile of the Staffordshire Regiment.
The regimental name had been under threat last year until the Queen ruled that it would still be included within the remit of the wider Mercian Regiment.
Hugh Montgomery, who served his country in Malaya and Cyprus, launched the move to make Watchman V a freeman during his tenure as mayor last year.
He said: “We wanted to give Watchman V the freedom of the town during this year’s rededication of the war memorial, but he and his handler weren’t available.
“So we decided Remembrance Day would be the most appropriate time for us to do it.
“At the time when I proposed to give Watchman V freedom of the town, the Staffordshire Regiment name was under threat of disappearing from the Mercians.
“I thought it was a good opportunity to keep the regiment’s name alive in Uttoxeter.
“We still think it’s terribly important that we show our support for the Staffords as half the names on our memorial belong to men who have fought for the regiment.”
During the parade, the Staffordshire regimental standard will be on display.
Councillor Montgomery said it was ‘fantastic’ that Uttoxeter was showing its support for the armed forces during the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
He said: “I know about the horrors of war first hand. One of my oldest school friends, who I grew up with and subsequently joined the army with, blown up within a week of going to Cyprus.
“What these men go through is incredible and very traumatic.”