A RALLYING call has gone out for the public to save the Duke of Wellington's Regiment.

It was made at the annual regimental dinner by the colonel of the Dukes.

Maj Gen Sir Evelyn Webb- Carter issued a plea for people to support Dukes in Iraq and fight to save the regiment's name back home.

He wants as many people as possible to march alongside him in Halifax this Saturday to protect the history of a regiment under threat in an armed forces shake-up.

Speaking at the dinner at the Huddersfield Drill Hall, in St Paul's Street, Sir Evelyn said: "On November 18 a final decision will be made as to the future of the regiment.

"Let us hope the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, named after one of the most famous British soldiers ever, lives on.

"We have so many links to local people and we want men to continue serving and fighting alongside their friends and brothers.

"And of course we must not forget while we dine here in comfort there are 650 Dukes out in Iraq tonight.

"We can only guess at what they must be feeling reading in the press what is happening to the Black Watch just north of where they are based."

The 302-year-old regiment is currently on tour in Basra, southern Iraq.

In the summer Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon announced the Dukes could be merged with the Green Howards and the Prince of Wales's Own to form a Yorkshire Regiment.

The efforts of the brave troops from Huddersfield, Halifax and the East and West Riding were recognised in the speech and the Territorial Army soldiers, who set off for the war-torn country later this month, were wished the best of luck by the assembled military dignitaries.

Major of Kirklees Mary Harkin said she was overwhelmed but not surprised at the level of public feeling for the Dukes.

"So many people have a connection with the regiment. I just hope its history can be saved," she said.

* The march to save the Dukes starts at 11.15am outside Halifax Town Hall.