Guinness World Records is saddened to announce that the mascot ram for the Mercian Regiment of the British Army, Derby XXX (UK), has passed away after developing a bacterial infection at the end of last year.
This news comes shortly after Derby’s elevation from Private to Lance Corporal – a promotion which earned him a Guinness World Records title as the Highest ranking sheep in the world.
The official announcement of his advancement was made by the Colonel of the regiment, Brigadier Andrew Williams, at Dale Barracks, Chester, UK on 1 September 2015 – the eight-year anniversary of the Regiment’s formation.
The three-year-old Swaledale ram was given a promotion due to good behaviour and performing well as a Private in a variety of tasks.
His duties included leading parades and attending various charity functions. Back in 2014, Derby XXX switched on the Christmas lights in Ashbourne and often led out the teams at Derby County FC for its home matches.
As a serving member of the British Armed Forces, Lance Corporal Derby XXX was entitled to take a wage, which covered his food and veterinarian bills, and take annual leave, which he took at Christmas (mating season).
The highly decorated animal was even awarded a service medal for his part in a UN peacekeeping tour in Cyprus.
His coat also boasts a replica of the India Mutiny Medal, a General Service Medal 1962 with the clasp Northern Ireland (as he was stationed in the country several times during his career), and two jubilee medals.
Derby had a silver plate embossed with the Regimental Cap Badge on his forehead and silver protectors fitted to the tip of his horns (pictured below).
This record-breaking animal was the 30th in a long line of army mascot rams, which date back to 1858. The regiment will now look for the next Private Derby, but Lance Corporal Derby XXX will forever be remembered as the first sheep to have reached such an impressive rank.