Lord Mayor John Lines Will Present the Petition to the Prime Minister. 'They Saved This Country in Its Hour of Need. Now Their Future's in the Balance' ; CAMPAIGN: LORD MAYOR CALLS ON CITY TO BACK PETITION DEMANDINGREGIMENT WITH CLOSE LINKS TO BIRMINGHAM IS PRESERVED

By Elkes, Neil | Birmingham Evening Mail (England), May 2, 2013 | Go to article overview

Lord Mayor John Lines Will Present the Petition to the Prime Minister. 'They Saved This Country in Its Hour of Need. Now Their Future's in the Balance' ; CAMPAIGN: LORD MAYOR CALLS ON CITY TO BACK PETITION DEMANDINGREGIMENT WITH CLOSE LINKS TO BIRMINGHAM IS PRESERVED


Elkes, Neil, Birmingham Evening Mail (England)


BIRMINGHAM'S Lord Mayor has issued a call to arms after launching a campaign to defend the regiment most closely associated with the city.

The 2nd Battalion of Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the Warwickshire County regiment, is set to be disbanded by the Ministry of Defence next year as part of Army cuts.

Formerly known as the Warwickshire Fusiliers, its links with Birmingham were cemented in 1914 when the then Lord Mayor, Ernest Martineau, raised three battalions of city lads to go to the battlefields of France during the Great War. They became affectionately known as the Birmingham Pals.

Now the current Lord Mayor, John Lines, is calling on the city to back a petition demanding the regiment is preserved - and will present it to the Prime Minister later this month.

He said: "The Lord Mayor of Birmingham raised the three battalions of the Warwickshire Fusiliers, the Birmingham Pals, to save this country in its hour of need.

"A hundred years later this Lord Mayor is trying to save the regiment whose future is in the balance.

"Birmingham has many friendships and many links with many in the armed forces, but the Fusiliers are our own regiment. How could a city the size of Birmingham not have its own regiment?" Coun Lines was alerted to the regiment's plight after an emotional pilgrimage to northern France, including the town of Albert, which was on the front line of the First World War.

He laid wreaths at the war memorial and was given a warm reception by the town's people.

"It has a street named Rue De Birmingham, after the people of Birmingham who donated money towards the rebuilding of the town following the war."

Coun Lines also visited Wormhout, the scene of the famous massacre of British forces, including members of the Fusiliers, during the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.

"After my return from France I accepted an invitation to visit the Warwickshire Fusiliers and it was there, to my shock and horror, I learned that we would be losing the regiment and I vowed to do all I could to help," he said. …

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Lord Mayor John Lines Will Present the Petition to the Prime Minister. 'They Saved This Country in Its Hour of Need. Now Their Future's in the Balance' ; CAMPAIGN: LORD MAYOR CALLS ON CITY TO BACK PETITION DEMANDINGREGIMENT WITH CLOSE LINKS TO BIRMINGHAM IS PRESERVED
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