The Royal Leicestershire Regiment – The Tigers – has launched an appeal to raise £40,000 for a memorial to the regiment at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire.
The memorial, together with the Regimental Chapel in Leicester Cathedral, the Regimental Museum in Leicester and Royal Tigers’ Wood at Bagworth, west of the city, will form a lasting visible testimony to the regiment to serve as a reminder to future generations of the part it played in the life of the history of the city, county and nation.
To join the large number of other regimental memorials in the National Memorial Arboretum, the regimental trustees of The Royal Leicesters have commissioned one in the form of a Tiger mounted upon a large Irish Blue limestone plinth.
The dimensions would be 5ft 6ins long, 3ft wide and 5ft 9ins high. The Tiger, 4ft in length, would be sculpted by Theodore Gillick of Stamford in Lincolnshire.
Andre Vrona’s Ketton Stone Masonry and Fixings company has most generously donated the stone for the memorial with which members of his staff have been closely associated.
The cost of further work needed for completion, which involves the design, fabrication and construction of the base, and the sculpting and fabrication of the Tiger is £40,000.
The county’s regiment was first raised in 1688, becoming the XVIIth Foot in 1751, and served continuously until amalgamation into the present Royal Anglian Regiment in 1964.
The link with the county of Leicestershire dates from 1782. Over the course of nearly 300 years the regiment served with great distinction across five continents, earning an impressive list of battle honours, the main ones being shown on the memorial itself.
For 19 years’ unbroken service in India during the early 19th Century it was awarded the famous Tiger badge. In the First World War the regiment fielded 19 battalions and 8,600 of its men were killed.
During the Second World War, its six battalions fought in every theatre: Norway, Dunkirk, Malaya, North Africa, Crete, Syria, Burma, Italy, Greece, France, Belgium, Holland and into Germany.
For this service the regiment was awarded the Royal title in 1946. From then until amalgamation, the regiment served in India, Hong Kong, Korea, Germany, Sudan, Cyprus and Borneo.
Michael Goldschmidt Colonel (Retd), who is one of those helping to drive the fundraising campaign, said: “It would be marvellous if the money could be raised by Christmas.
“That would enable the memorial to be dedicated next summer and thus appropriately commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, thus enabling former members and friends of the regiment to have a fitting site where they can pay their own respects to fallen comrades of that and later conflicts.
“The generosity of those citizens of earlier centuries who answered the call to arms and gave their lives for their country is well-known and visible on war memorials across the county.
“The opportunity now exists for today’s citizens of Leicestershire to display a similar generosity by making a monetary contribution to the cost of this new and fitting memorial.”
A donation form can be downloaded by visiting the website www.royalleicestershireregiment.org.uk.
If Mail readers wish to donate, can they please write the initials HM in the bottom right corner of the form, so that the campaigners can track the source of the donation.
Story by Alex Blackwell
Follow Alex on Twitter, @BlackwellHarb.