ARMY chiefs have welcomed the Yorkshire Warriors, a new era in military history.
And they urged soldiers to wear their cap with `pride and optimism' with the birth of The Yorkshire Regiment.
Three of the region's famous infantry battalions - the 1st Battalion Duke of Wellington's Regiment, the 1st Battalion Prince of Wales's Own Regiment and the 1st Battalion Green Howards - went on parade yesterday and changed their old cap badges for the new Lion and Yorkshire Rose emblem of the new regiment.
The Dukes have had a 300-year history closely allied with Huddersfield and still recruit extensively in the town.
The Yorkshire Warriors, as they will be known, will be able to select light, armoured, air assault or reserve roles at locations all over the world.
The launch, which comes as the country's infantry units are restructured to create more flexible fully-manned regiments, took place on the anniversary of D-Day, as all the battalions were present at the Normandy landings 62 years ago.
In a special message to his troops, the new colonel of the regiment, Lieutenant General Nick Houghton, urged all members to wear their new cap badges with pride and optimism.
He added: "You will be carrying forward the finest traditions of your forebears.
"A new era is beginning and you can be proud to be at the very start of something new, exciting and challenging."
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Lodge, a Yorkshire Regiment spokesman, said: "This is a memorable day, when we step forward together as part of the same regimental family.
"It is an exciting time for our serving soldiers and new recruits, Regular and Territorial Army, as they will have the opportunity to choose between a wide variety of roles.
"The Yorkshire Regiment will also provide the ultimate in sporting opportunities. In fact, we have four soldiers who are to row in the Shepherd Ocean Fours Transatlantic Challenge, setting off in a few days time in New York."
A total of 2,300 officers and soldiers in four battalions - three Regular and one Territorial - will form the new regiment. Some 1,700 youngsters from the Army Cadet Force and Combined Cadet Force will be affiliated to it.
The colonel in chief of the new regiment, which will recruit from within the historic boundaries of Yorkshire, including Cleveland, will be the Duke of York.