BATTALION HONOURED WITH FREEDOM OF THE CITY 09:30 - 08 September 2007 Soldiers fighting in Afghanistan are to be awarded the Freedom of the City of Derby. A motion has been put to a special meeting of Derby City Council to grant the honour to the 2nd Battalion, Mercian Regiment (Worcester and Foresters). The meeting will be held at the council chamber on Wednesday, September 12, and it is expected to be passed unanimously. This will follow tradition: the Sherwood Foresters were originally given the honour in 1946 and again in 1970, when they merged to become the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters. At the same time, Pauline Latham, the Mayor of Derby, will be asked to write to the commanding officer of the regiment currently serving in Afghanistan to offer the council's best wishes for a safe and successful tour of duty. She said: "Granting these brave soldiers the freedom of the city is something that I will be very pleased to do. We all feel very proud of the regiment, not just because they are our regiment but because of the incredible work they are doing out in Afghanistan and have previously done on other tours of duty. "I am sure that this move will meet with unanimous support, not just from my fellow councillors, but from the people of Derby." So far, five members of 2nd Battalion Mercian Regiment (Worcester and Foresters) have lost their lives during the tour, which began in March. This week, 18-year-old Private Ben Ford, who lived in Derby, and Private Damian Wright, 23, from Mansfield, were killed while taking part in a routine patrol near Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province. The regiment has also lost Captain Sean Dolan, 40, from Chester; Lance Corporal Paul Sandford, 23, from Hucknall, Nottinghamshire; and 21-year-old Drummer Thomas Wright, from Ripley.