Raised in 1689 on the Roodee, Chester for service under William III, the Regiment next served in its home county in 1988.
During the intervening 300 years, it spent much time on garrison duty in the Empire. At Dettingen it won the distinction of wearing the oak leaf whilst parading for Royalty and also on certain Regimental days. The story is that the 22nd protected the king, who was commanding the field, from being taken prisoner by the French. The king picked a sprig of oak from a nearby tree and presented it to them. The taking of Louisburg in Nova Scotia was its most famous 18th-century event; the Grenadier Company going on with Wolfe to Quebec. A 22nd Grenadier appears to have been present at the death of Wolfe along with Ensign Browne. The regiment proceeded after the Seven Years War to the West Indies finally taking its place in New York for the American War.
A spell in India led to the 22nd being the only English Regiment in Sir Charles Napier’s force to conquer the Scinde. The great battle at Meeanee on 17 February 1843 is celebrated as the Regimental Day. The Regiment spent most of the 19th century in the Indian sub-continent or its dependencies. A 2nd Battalion was raised in 1814 for a short while and re-raised in 1858. It fought in the Boer War in South Africa in 1900. This battalion was amalgamated with the 1st at the end of the Second World War. In the Great War 38 battalions were raised by the Cheshire Regiment. At the outset of the war in 1914 the 1st Battalion was exposed to the brunt of two German Army Corps at the village of Audregnies near Mons. Their heroic stand saved the British Expeditionary Force from a disaster and is celebrated as a second Regimental Day on 24 August. This Battalion was in every major action in France throughout the war and won 35 Battle Honours.
The Territorial and New (Kitchener’s) Army Battalions fought in France, Gallipoli, Sinai, Palestine, Salonika and Mesopotamia. The 12th Battalion won the French Croix de Guerre. Over 8,000 officers and men gave their lives. Between the wars the two regular battalions served in India, Sudan, Palestine and Malta and became noted for their sport and athletic prowess.
Just prior to the Second World War the Regiment was armed with the Vickers Machine Gun and became a Support Regiment for the duration of the war. At the outbreak of war the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Battalions TA were re-established. A 30th Battalion (Home Defence) and 39 Home Guard Battalions made up the Regimental roll. The 2nd Battalion was at Dunkirk, North Africa and Italy before returning to be part of the initial landing at Normandy. The 1st Battalion was in North Africa and Malta during the siege and finally in NW Europe. The 6th and 7th Battalions fought in Italy.
Since the war the 1st Battalion has served in numerous operational areas: Malaya, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Bosnia under the United Nations and Iraq. The regiment was amalgamated in 2007 and the 1st Battalion of the new regiment is called the 1st Battalion, The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire).
In 2014, the Mercian Regiment was reduced in size by one Battalion. Soldiers from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions were merged into 2 Battalions. The 1st Battalion is stationed in Bulford and the 2nd Battalion are on a 2 year residential tour in Cyprus.