Hundreds turn out for Crich’s annual pilgrimage

Hundreds turned out at an annual pilgrimage to commemorate soldiers who gave their lives in service to their country.

On Sunday at 3pm former members of The Mercian Regiment and their families gathered at the War Memorial, in Crich.

NRHN 01-07-12 BE 14 Annual pilgrimage to Crich memorial.

NRHN 01-07-12 BE 14 Annual pilgrimage to Crich memorial.

The Lords Lieutenant were present, as well as high sheriffs, mayors and civic dignitaries.

Crowd gathered at Crich Stand, a memorial which was originally built to commemorate the 11,409 Sherwood Foresters killed in the First World War.

It is now a memorial site for the Sherwood Foresters, Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters and 2nd Battalion Mercian Regiment.

Those assembled then marched up the hill at Crich to pay homage to their fallen comrades, following which there was was a service of remembrance and 33 flags, including four colours and 29 standards, were on parade.

The pilgrimage was led by the Colonel of the Regiment, Brigadier A R D Sharpe and the Service of Commemoration was conducted by the Venerable Dr Christopher Cunliffe, Archdeacon of Derby.

Cindy Baines, assistant regimental secretary for the 2nd Mercian, said: “It becomes larger every year. We have soldiers named from all four battalions of the regiment on our memorial so people come from a wider area now.”

In 2010, extra space was added to the war memorial at Crich to make way for the names of soliders killed in Afghanistan.

The memorial was built by public subscription in 1923. It originally marked the deaths of men in the regiment who lost their lives in the First World War.

A second memorial for the Second World War was added. Later a third monument was built to commemorate lives lost in conflicts since 1945.

The parade came just days after about 300 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment marched through Derby to mark their return from Afghanistan.

People lined the streets as the soldiers paraded from Back Sitwell Street to the Market Place.

Following the parade, a civic reception was held at the Assembly Rooms where six Derbyshire soldiers received campaign medals.

Two soldiers were killed in action during the tour.