THE battle to save the proud history of the Dukes is stepping up with even more veterans expressing their disgust at Government plans.
It is feared that Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon's cutbacks to the armed forces, which he announced last week, will mean the end for the 302-year old Duke of Wellington's Regiment.
It is thought the Dukes, who recruit heavily from the Huddersfield area, will be axed along with other Yorkshire regiments the Green Howards and The Prince of Wales's Own to form one regiment.
Veteran John Shaw, of Dalton, was a Duke from 1951 to 1957 and fought in the Korean War.
He was shocked when he heard the Dukes might lose their name and be merged.
"This is a regiment with so much history and so many battle honours," he said. "The Duke of Wellington's Regiment took part in the Battle of Waterloo.
"There may be people out there who are thinking: `What difference does a name make?' But for us, the veterans who have fought throughout the ages, and the families it does mean something.
"It is a part of Yorkshire and a part of Huddersfield."
Mr Shaw joined the Dukes when he was in his teens and said the bonds and friendships he built up were special.
"You had to look out for your mates and trust them to look after you when you were fighting together," he said. "When we were in Korea things were a bit rough, but we got through because of that bond."
In May, Mr Shaw and his wife, Patricia Anne, were members of a party of former Dukes who were invited to Gibraltar
Mr Shaw spent two years there in the 1950s.
He said: "It was incredible to see all my old friends again.
"The friendship is there and will be there forever."
A final decision on the future of the Dukes is expected in October, just as today's Dukes head off for Iraq.