The mascot tradition in the Regiments of Staffordshire stretches back to the 19th Century. In 1882 The South Staffordshire Regiment was ordered to march with Lord Wolseley to the relief of General Gordon who was besieged in Khartoum. They entrained at Cairo with their Staffordshire Bull Terrier “Boxer”. Unfortunately Boxer leapt from the moving train and was seen lying unconscious or dead at the side of the track.
A few days later when the Regiment encamped at Assiut awaiting orders for the final phase of their march, a very thin and bedraggled dog staggered into their camp and collapsed. Boxer had walked for over 200 miles along the scorching desert railway track to rejoin his regiment, a true soldier.
From then on the tradition of having a Bull Terrier as a mascot continued with the battalions until after the Second World War.
Watchman I was presented to the 6th Battalion the North Staffordshire Regiment, in 1949, for being the highest recruited infantry battalion in the Territorial Army. He accompanied them to the Royal Tournament in Olympia on 25th May 1949. Watchman I, who was pure white in colour, showed little interest in the occasion until the band and drums struck up. At which point he raised his head and marched proudly to the thunderous applause of an appreciative audience who had immediately taken him to their hearts.
Over the next decade Watchman I attended every parade in which the battalion took part and was presented to Her Majesty The Queen on her visit to Burton-on-Trent on 28th March 1957. He passed away in 1959 and was laid to rest in the lawns opposite the Town Hall in King Edward Square Burton-on-Trent.
Such was the tradition, interest and good feeling of the people of Burton towards this popular mascot that in September 1960 the Regiment was presented with Watchman II by the town at a civic parade. Like his predecessor, he was to march at the head of the Battalion throughout the next six years of his life and was presented to Her Majesty The Queen on the occasion of the Presentation of New Colours to the 6th North Staffords and 5th South Staffords, and a Guidon to the Staffordshire Yeomanry at Molineaux in the early 1960s.
His last parade was the Honorary Colonels Parade held at St Martins Camp in 1966. The following year the County TA Regiments were reformed and Watchman II went into retirement until his death in 1974 at the age of fourteen. He was laid to rest alongside his predecessor at Burton where both are remembered on a commemorative plaque.
After the passing of Watchman II, it was felt that the time honored tradition of having a mascot should continue. Consequently, a search was made to find a dog with the suitable pedigree and bearing to do justice to the Regiment and County. As an indication of the depth of feeling within the County for the mascot, the people of Burton presented the Regiment with Watchman III in 1988. He served until his death in 1998 and was interred alongside his two predecessors.
Watchman IV & Watchman V
Watchman IV was presented to the Regiment as a puppy in August 1998 by the Friends of the Regiment and continues to parade with both the 1st Battalion and the newly formed West Midlands Regiment, participating in the Tercentenary Celebrations in 2005. He was retired on the 4th October 2009 and Watchman V took over duties on October 5th.