Freedom honour for Watchman V


Watchman V – the popular former mascot of the Staffordshire Regiment – is now an official holder of the Freedom of the Borough of Tamworth.

Staffordshire bull terrier Corporal Watchman V and his handler, WO2 Greg Hedges, had the award conferred on them at a special ceremony in Tamworth’s historic Town Hall on Monday, where Regimental standards were proudly carried by Staffordshire Regiment veterans.

The honour will pass to successive mascots and handlers and means that Watchman will proudly march through Tamworth with the Mercian Regiment whenever it returns to Tamworth.

The role of Watchman is steeped in tradition, and the ever-popular Staffordshire bull terrier mascot has been representing the serving men and women of Tamworth and Staffordshire for more than 130 years.

Watchman and WO2 Hedges continue to carry out numerous duties, now that the Staffordshire Regiment is part of the larger Mercian Regiment.

Watchman joins the Mercian Regiment, The Defence Medical Services and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship RFA Fort Rosalie (A385) in holding the Freedom of the Borough.

Tamworth Borough Council Chief Executive, Anthony Goodwin, said: “As a former serving officer in the armed forces, I am very conscious of the impact that changes over the last decade to regimental, Naval and Air Force command structures have had on ex-servicemen and their families. Consequently; I was delighted when the Council resolved to bestow this honour upon Watchman, his Handler and their successors.

“Any act that serves to acknowledge and sustain the value of such traditions has to be good, not just for the recipients, but for the entire body of men and women, past and present….in this case, the Staffordshire Regiment. For my part; it was good to stand alongside those very proud veterans and to share their day.”