CAMPAIGNERS wanting Stafford shire Regiment mascot WatchmanV to be given the freedom of the borough say Stafford Borough Council has made a dog’s breakfast of it after learning the pooch already has the honour.
Staffordshire Regimental Association (SRA) has been calling for the honour, which has recently been awarded by Tamworth Borough Council, after he lost his mascot status with the formation of the Mercian Regiment in 2007.
The borough council said this week freedom had been bestowed on the regiment since 1946 and that it extended to Lance Corporal Watchman V but SRA Stafford branch chairman Dave Lovell accused the council of “whitewashing” over the issue.
He said: “I am pleased to see that the borough council has informed you of the fact that the regiment was given the freedom of Stafford back in 1946 and that it includes Watchman V.
“However I feel this subject has been whitewashed over by the councillors as they do not want the fight.” Freedom was given to north and south regiments the year after WorldWar Two ended.
In 1959 it was given to the amalgamated Staffs Regiment.
And when they were incorporated into 3 Mercian it was passed to them in 2007.
Mr Lovell renewed his calls for the council to issue Watchman, along with his handler WO2 Greg Hedges, a fresh accolade.
Council leader Mike Heenan said in June he would back the campaign but as yet, no action has been taken.
Mr Lovell said: “What we ask is that the freedom of Stafford is offered to Watchman V and his handler, reinforcing the freedom of Stafford to the Regiment and keeping the Stafford knot much in the public eye.
“I feel that the council has lacked any enthusiasm on this subject.
“The powers-that-be in the Army council do not want any history of regiments being put forward but want us a to forget and leave it at rest. “ A spokesman for the borough council said: “We have consulted with Major JimMassey at the regimental headquarters of the Mercian Regiment.
“He has confirmed that the Freedom of the Borough that we passed to the 3rd Mercian Regiment includes Watchman V and handler.”