KEEP the Dukes! That's the message coming over loud and clear today as Examiner readers make their voices heard.
A campaign to save the Duke of Wellington's Regiment is gathering pace after an armed forces shake-up was announced.
The Dukes - strongly linked with Huddersfield - are prime targets for the chop.
The Government wants to merge four single-battalion regiments, one from Scotland and three from England.
Details of the change will be revealed in October.
But Examiner readers are having none of it.
Proud Walter Dawson, 83, who served in the regiment for 10 years, said: "Like everyone else who has been in the Dukes, I feel it is idiotic what they are planning.
"These people have no idea about Army life.
"I've heard nothing but grumbling from ex-Dukes and other ex-soldiers about this," he added.
Mr Dawson, of Lepton, is a member of Huddersfield Army Veterans' Association and has organised 20 Dukes reunions.
He said: "It is essential to have a strong identity and a close regiment.
"If regiments merge, there will be a certain amount of rivalry between different groups. As new recruits come in, it might ease off, but to start with there will be problems. Regimental loyalty is very strong."
Maj David Harrop, the Dukes' regimental secretary, said he had received a strong message from the public that the Dukes should stay.
He said: "The feeling is a sense of real disappointment, because we would inevitably lose our name and there would be a considerable dilution of regimental identity."
The regiment, whose headquarters are in Halifax, has recruited heavily in Huddersfield throughout its 302-year history.
Maj Harrop added: "Larger regiments struggle to recruit. Local people want to join a local regiment.
"It is the most powerful recruiting tool we have."
He said soldiers would be low when the Dukes head back to Iraq in October for peace-keeping.
Maj Harrop said: "It is difficult to keep morale and commitment up with news like this.
"Feelings could run high if they feel the institution is not supporting them."
The regiment was founded in 1702 and re-named after the `Iron Duke' in 1881. In the First World War, 14 of the regiment's 21 battalions were engaged in active service on the Western Front, in Italy and at Gallipoli.
During the Second World War they were engaged in battle in Dunkirk, North West Europe, North Africa, Italy and Burma.
Since then they have served in Korea, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Bosnia and Iraq.
Do you feel strongly about the threat to the Dukes?
Make your point to Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon by adding your details to this letter.
Post your letters to Save the Dukes, News Desk, The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, PO Box A26, Queen Street South, Huddersfield, HD1 2TD, and we will forward them.
Dear Mr Hoon,
We deplore any threat to the 302-year-old history of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment in your review of the armed forces and strongly urge you to save this cherished name.