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Royal Irish Regiment chooses new mascot

North Shropshire | News | Published:

This adorable puppy has been unveiled as the new regimental mascot for Shropshire-based soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

This adorable puppy has been unveiled as the new regimental mascot for Shropshire-based soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

News of the dog's appointment has come as a big morale boost for members of 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, based at Tern Hill, near Market Drayton.

At just nine weeks old, Finn the Irish wolfhound has become Brian Boru IX and like his predecessors takes his official title from an ancient line of Irish kings.

The news comes as a morale boost for the soldiers just ahead of St Patrick's Day and follows the death on Wednesday of Lance Corporal Stephen McKee - the third member of the regiment to die on the current operational tour.

Finn is set to replace Merlin, who was also known as Brian Boru VIII, and died of a heart attack at Christmas.

Major Hugh Benson, who looks after the regimental mascot at his home, said Finn was born on January 8 at Driftcot Kennels in Cambridgeshire.

He said: "When we got there, there were 10 puppies in the litter to choose from.

"The others all ran out but Finn stayed behind then pushed his way to the front like he was saying 'I'm the one'.

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"He chose us and not the other way around. We've sent some pictures of Finn to the guys out in theatre and his handler can't wait to get back home to meet him.

"Now we have Finn it's a nice morale boost for the guys and something to look forward to on their return.

"Finn has the right temperament for the job and he's not frightened of people. When he's fully grown we'll be spending about £70 a week to feed him, so he's going to be big."

He added that Finn will now get to know the regiment and his handlers before attending welcome home parades being held in Market Drayton on April 11 and Shrewsbury the next day.

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