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BOER War Roll of Honour Sherwood Foresters

45th Roll of Honour: 1843 - 1859







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The 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot:


In 1694, Britain was at war with France and William III, needing more troops ordered Colonel Thomas Farrington, an officer of the Coldstream guards to form a new Regiment. This Regiment became known as Farrington's Regiment of Foot following the custom of the period of naming Regiments after their Colonel. In 1751 (by which time the Regiment had changed its name eight times under successive Colonels) the system changed and all Regiments were given numbers based upon the date of their formation and the Regiment assumed the the title 29th Foot. The first few years of the Regiment's history were spent in England and Ireland, though with the War of the Spanish Succession developing in Europe it was not long before Farrington's regiment joined the Duke of Marlborough's force in Holland where it arrived in March 1704. However it was several months before the Regiment became actively engaged, namely at the lines of Brabant whren Marlborough's force met that of Marshal Villeroi in an inconclusive action. This was followed in 1706 by a decisive British Victory at the Battle of Ramilies in which the Regiment gained the first of its many Battle Honours.


During a period of over sixty years between1746 and 1807, the 29th Regiment of Foot spent much of its service in North America and two incidents in which they were involved during this time are particularly worthy of note:

"The Ever-Sworded 29th" One night in September 1746, the Officers of the Regiment were at Mess in their Station in North America when they were treacherously attacked by Red Indians, who were supposed to be loyal. The attack was beaten off, but to guard against similar attacks in future the custom of wearing swords in Mess was instituted. This continued as a regimental custom after the Regiment left America, but in 1850 the custom was changed so that only the Captain of the Week and the Orderly Officer of the Day continued to wear their swords at Mess. This unique custom was maintained by the Worcestershire Regiment.

"The Boston Massacre" In 1770 the 29th Foot were stationed in Boston at a time when the discontent and hatred felt by the American colonists towards the Mother country, England was extended to the British Troops station in the Colony. Boston was a particular centre of discord and on several occasions there had been free fights between the townsfolk and members of the Regiment. On 5th March, it being their turn for Garrison Duty, the 29th provided a guard for the customs house, where a certain amount of cash was kept. A mob of rioters tried to rush the post and the sentry called out the guard. The guard fixed bayonets and kept the crowd at bay, taking no more violent action, although being subjected to a barrage of abuse. However words led to blows and Captain Preston and Private Montgomery were struck down by one of the mob leaders. On regaining his feet Montgomery heard someone shout "Why don't you fire?" and thinking that this was an order to fire, he did so. Others followed him; three of the rioters were killed and several wounded, the rest of the mob running away. In memory of this incident which the Bostonians called the "Boston Massacre" the Regiment, being the first to shed the blood of the Colonists, was given the nickname 'The Blood Suckers' or 'The Vein Openers'. The incident led to the trial of Captain Preston, Private Montgomery and others of the Guard on murder charges, however, with the aid of John Adams (later to become the second President of the United States) as counsel for Captain Preston, they were totally exonerated by the judge and walked from the court free men.


In 1782 individual Regiments began to be linked territorially to counties and the 29th Regiment of Foot was linked to Worcestershire becoming the 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot.


In a decree of the French Convention of 1792, the Republic declared its intention to extend assistance to all dissident subjects of monarchist governments. This led eventually to War with Britain and her European allies resolving to contain the French ports and to attack her shipping. The most important French convoys came from the West Indies and these were protected by the French Navy. On 2nd May 1794 news of an important French convoy was received and the Channel Fleet under Lord Howe put to sea. Aboard several of the men-of-war were detachments of the 29th Foot which, like a number of other regiments provided drafts to make up for a shorfall of Marines. On the 1st of June the British Fleet came into action against the French. The four hundred-plus of the Regiment were distributed among several ships: Brunswick, Ramillies, Glory, Thunderer and Alfred. Brunswick with 81 men from the 29th on board was played into battle by the ship's band and a drummer from the 29th, with a popular tune of the day, "Heart of Oak". Brunswick met and came to close grips with Le Vengeur a French ship of equal size and armament and for over two hours they fought. During the fierce fighting, the 29th Detachment Comander, a Captain, was killed and the Ensign and 20 others were wounded. At one stage of the Battle, Achille came to the aid of Le Vengeur but was quickly disabled by a broadside from Brunswick. At last Brunswick and Le Vengeur drifted apart and the French ship, which was sinking, surrendered. The Battle was fought so far out into the Atlantic that it is known by its date - The Glorious First of June. For its share in the engagement, the Regiment was awarded the Naval Crown to be borne with its Battle Honours.


This important campaign, one of the most glorious in the annals of the British Army, was fought in support of the Portuguese and Spanish Allies whose territories had been violated. The 29th Foot was part of Sir Arthur Wellesley's (later to be created Duke of Wellington) Army - as was the 36th Foot, the first time that the two Regiments which were to become the Worcestershire Regiment were on active service together. The 29th embarked at Cadiz on July 1808 and claimed to be the first British unit to land in the Pennisula. It was commanded by the extrovert Lieutenant Colonel The Hon G A F Lake as they advanced towards Rolica. He rode into battle impeccably dressed as if, an observer noted, 'He was about to be received by the King'. Sadly though, it was to be the last time he was to lead his Regiment for he was shot by an enemy skirmisher. He was buried on the battlefield at a spot marked by a monument surmounted by a cross which is maintained by the Portuguese to this day. The musket ball which killed him and the gold medal which was awarded to him posthumously are on display in the Regimental Museum. The 29th saw fierce fighting during the day suffering 151 casualties, the highest figure in Wellesley's army. Four days later the Regiment fought at Vimeiro where the casualties were much lighter, only 14.

At Talavera the 29th again distinguished itself. The dominant feature was a hill about a mile distant from Talavera upon which Wellesley's left rested and as the Regiment was moving up to occupy it the French attacked. It was growing dark and in the half light they secured a foothold on the high ground. However the 29th rallied and charged up the slope at the double with bayonets fixed, cheering as they closed with the enemy and firing volleys at the same time, forcing the French to give way. During this battle the 29th captured two enemy colours although the Eagles which had been on top of them had been unscrewed and removed prior to their being taken, otherwise the honour of taking the first French Eagle would have fallen to them. They suffered 189 casualties in the days fighting. It was after this action that Wellesley wrote to the Viscount Castlereagh, the Secretary of State "My Lord...I wish very much that some measure could be adopted to get some recruits for the 29th Regiment. It is the best Regiment in this Army, has an admirable internal system and excellent non-commissioned officers...."

In 1811, at Albuhera, the Regiment was again to prove its mettle. As the Battle progreessed, casualties were heavy and in the centre stood the Colours, steadfastly carried by two Ensigns, Vance and Furnace. Both were boys of about eighteen and taking part in their first battle. As the ranks thinned, those that were left rallied on the Colours; which unfortunately formed a good aiming mark for the enemy. Two Colour Sergeants had been killed; Ensign Furnace was wounded. The remaining Colour Sergeant propped up his officer, who once more raised aloft the Colour. By now the Regiment had shrunk to a few small groups and the Colour Party itself was isolated. Ensign Vance fell, mortally hit and the last Colour Sergeant was killed. No help was in sight and in an effort to save the Regimental Colour from the French, young Vance ripped it from its pike and hid it, partly in his tunic and partly underneath his body. Ensign Furnace was dead and the King's Colour was his pall. Fresh troops came up; the French were repulsed and that night a search party found the Colours and their guardians. They were dead, but the Colours were saved.

On October 3rd 1811 the Duke of York issued orders for the 29th to return to England to recover and on November 2nd the Regiment embarked, under the command of Major Tucker, on HMS Agincourt, arriving at Portsmouth on December 1st.


The 29th was ordered to the Netherlands in April 1815 in order to take part in the Waterloo campaign. The Regiment landed at Ostend on June 13th but in spite of being rushed up by boat along the canal to Ghent, which was reached on June 15th, the Regiment arrived too late to take part in the battle itself.


The 29th played a distinguished part in the Wars against the Sikhs in the Sutlej and the Punjab between 1845 - 1850 gaining four Battle Honours; Sobraon, Ferozeshah, Chillianwallah and Goojerat as well as the Honour Punjaub. The Battle of Goojerat was the last occasion upon which the Colours of the Regiment were carried into action.

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The 36th (Herefordshire) Regiment of Foot:


At the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1701 King William III ordered Viscount Charlemont to form a new Regiment in Ireland. The following year Charlemont's Regiment was picked to become one of six infantry regiments designated for Sea Service, which meant that it could be called upon to act in a Marine role should the occassion warrant it. This order came into effect and the Regiment under their Colonel, Lord Charlemeont, left for Spain on board His Majesty's Ships Grey, Ruth and Friendship. However this was to a short lived affair and it was to be a further three years before the Regiment again returned to Spain, this time under the leadership of the enigmatic Earl of Peterborough. During the capture of the Fortress of Montjuich, which in turn led to the successful conclusion to the siege of Barcelona, the Regiment fought admirably and Lord Charlemont was subsequently presented to the King of Spain who thanked him warmly for his part in the success. However at a later stage in the campaign, disaster struck the Regiment when at the Battle of Almanza Peterborough's erratic leadership led to Charlemont's Regiment being virtually annihilated.


In 1746 the 36th Regiment played a small part in the Battle of Culloden before embarking upon a campaign in Flanders.


The Regiment acquitted itself well in an expedition that was generally unsuccessful. It is possible that the origin of the Regimental Motto 'FIRM' may stem from this campaign, for it is thought that the 36th, by dint of their steadfast performance during the rearguard action at Lauffeld, may have had this motto conferred upon them by Field Marshal Lord Stair whose own family motto it was.


In 1782 individual Regiments began to be linked territorially to counties and the 36th Regiment of Foot was linked to Herefordshire becoming the 36th (Herefordshire) Regiment of Foot.


Between 1783 and 1793 the Regiment served in India as part of the force that was sent to oppose the ambitious Tippoo Singh. However, due to the vast forces confronting them this proved to be no easy affair. Nevertheless, after major successes at Nundydoorg and Pondicherry, Tippoo Sing was eventually brought to heel and later king William IV authorised the 36th to bear the word "Hindoostan" on its Colours.


In 1808 the 36th landed in Portugal with the expeditionary force under Sir Arthur Wellesley and took part in the Battles of Rolica and Vimiera. The Regiment's gallantry at Vimiera was particularly noticed by Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley, who wrote in a letter Castlereagh, that "the Thirty Sixth Regiment is an example to the Army". After participating in the retreat to Corrunna, under Sir John Moore in 1808/1809, the Regiment returned to England. However, in 1811 the Regiment returned to the Peninsula and there remained under The Duke of Wellington's command until the fall of Toulouse in 1814, amassing ten Battle Honours during the course of the campaign.

The 45th (Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot:

The 45th Nottinghamshire Regiment

Colonel Houghton raised a new regular army regiment in the West of England (Bristol) in 1741when Britain was committed to War against France, this regiment was initially numbered as 56th. In 1745 the Regiment was in Gibraltar and under the command of Colonel Warburton and two years later it was serving in Nova Scotia. In 1751 Army reorganisation resulted in 11 regiments being disbanded and Warburton's was renumbered as the 45th Regiment of Foot.


The actions of the French against the British in Canada resulted in the 45th being called out on active service. It was one of the regiments that won undying fame in storming and capturing from the French the Naval Arsenal of Louisburg, a stronghold that had been heavily and extensively fortifed. Although not present as a unit, the 45th was represented by its Grenadier Company in the British force that the gallant Wolfe led up the St Lawrence River to capture Quebec. The 45th served for twenty years in Canada and for its gallantry at Louisburg was later awarded the first of a long roll of battle honours which now adorn the Colours. On returning home the Regiment served for some years in Ireland and when the American War of Independence broke out, was among the reinforcements sent to New York in 1776. It fought at Long Island, Philadelphia, Brandywine, Germantown and in other places, suffering losses but always exhibiting a high degree of courage and fortitude.


After the War, the 45th reduced to less than 100 all ranks, returned home to Nottingham. The citizens of Nottingham requested that the Regiment should be called "The Nottinghamshire Regiment" and His Majesty agreed, providing 300 men were recruited in the county. With volunteers from the Nottinghamshire Militia and the influence of local landowners, the stipulated number was soon obtained. Between 1786 - 1802 the 45th was in the West Indies, almost constantly engaged in fighting the French for possession of these Islands; Martinique, Dominica and Les Saints being captured. Unfortunately yellow fever took a far heavier toll of the Regiment than did the enemy. After a brief period at home the 45th was soon on active service again. The Regiment was despatched to South America in 1807 where it took part in the attack on Buenos Aires, when every man of the small British Force had to fight for his life in the street-fighting that followed the capture of the town. After this action the Regiment embarked for home.


The following year the 45th became part of the Peninsular Army under Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington. They were present at the opening battle at Rolica in 1808 and served continuously until the siege of Toulouse in 1814, winning no less than thirteen battle honours.At the Battle of Talavera, the French flung themselves in dense masses upon the advanced posts of the British Army, which were held by the 45th who opposed them with such firmness and courage that the enemy troops were firstchecked and then brought to a standstill. Retiring slowly, the 45th held up the enemy attack so completely that all the sting was taken out of it and the British were able to win a great victory. Wellington, describing the battle in his official report said "Upon this occasion the steadiness and discipline of the 45th Regiment were conspicious".The nickname 'The Old Stubborns' was bestowed upon the Regiment for its conspicious bravery at Talavera.

In the Battle of Busaco, the 45th again distinguished itself, leading the attack on a dense column of the enemy troops which had reached the crest of the hill. The attack, made with the bayonet, was so fierce that the enemy was driven pell-mell down the slopes, leaving some hundreds killed and wounded. Wellington wrote in his despatches "I can assure you I never witnessed a more gallant charge".

In the siege of Badajoz, a detachment of the 45th succeeded in getting into the castle first and the red coatee of an officer of the 45th was hoisted in place of the French flag to indicate the fall of the castle. This feat is commemorated on the 6th April each year when red jackets are flown on Regimental flag staffs and at Nottingham Castle.

At Vimiera, Fuentes d'Onor, Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca, Vittoria, the forcing of the passes in the Pyrenees and at Nivelle, Orthes and Toulouse, the Regiment forming part of Picton's famous 3rd Division, added to its reputation and was recognised as being amongst the best of Wellington's veteran units. When the Campaign ended, the 45th returned to its home county to recruit.


The Regiment was serving in Ceylon in 1819 and from there went to India and took part in the first Burmese War of 1824 - 25. This was an arduous campaign - dense tracts of steamy jungles had to be traversed and a number of strongly constructed and stubbornly defended stockades stormed and destroyed. This campaign added the Battle Honour 'AVA' to the Colours. The Regiment returned home from India in 1838.


The 45th was split into a 1st and a reserve battalion in 1843 and the 1st Battalion was sent to South Africa where it played a prominent part in the defence of Natal during the Boer disturbances. The Reserve Battalion saw active service in South America in the defence of Montevideo in 1846 and also served in South Africa during the Kaffir War of 1846 - 47 before being re-absorbed in the 1st Battalion. Reduced to a single battalion regiment for some years and distributed between the Eastern Frontier and Natal until 1859, the 45th took part in the Kaffir War of 1851 - 53 and the expedition across the Orange River. A roll of honour of those who died during this period can be found here.


The secondary title "The Sherwood Foresters" was granted to the 45th in 1866 by Queen Victoria; the Nottinghamshire Militia having previously been granted the title of 'The Royal Sherwood Foresters' in 1813. However, it should be noted that in the Historical Record of The Royal Sherwood Foresters by Captain A E Lawson Lowe published 1872 "At Agincourt, in 1415, the Nottinghamshire Archers again played a prominent part, and there, for the first time on record, they fought as "Sherwood Foresters", their banner being thus quaintly described by Drayton:-

"Old Nottingham, an archer clad in green, Under a tree, with his drawn bow that stood, Which in a chequered flag far off was seen; It was the picture of bold Robin Hood."


In 1867, the 45th formed part of the British force which under General Sir Robert Napier (later Lord Napier of Magdala) fought in the Abyssinian campaign. This was one of the most remarkable exploits in the history of the British army. Magdala, the capital, was a fortified city perched on the summit of a huge rock with almost perpendicular sides and approachable on one side only. It was situated four hundred roadless miles from the coast in the midst of a great range of mountains, over which the troops had to climb and in some places had to haul their guns and limbers up by ropes. The 45th marched 300 miles in 24 days and actually covered 70 miles in 4 days over a mountain pass 10,000 feet high to be present at the capture of Magdala.

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The 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot:

The 95th as the 95th Derbyshire Regiment of Foot was the sixth regiment to bear this number in the British Army the previous ones being;

1760 - 1763, 95th Regiment of Foot (Burton's) - Disbanded.

1779 - 1783, 95th Regiment of Foot (Reid's) - Disbanded.

1794 - 1796, 95th Regiment of Foot (Edmeston's) - Disbanded.

1803 - 1812, 95th Regiment of Foot (Coote-Manningham's) 1812 - retitled the 95th Regiment of Foot (Riflemen) (Coote-Manningham's) and in 1816 - the 95th Regiment of Foot (Riflemen) became the Rifle Brigade

1816 - 1818, 96th Regiment of Foot retitled 95th Regiment of Foot (Don's). Disbanded as 95th in 1818.

1823 - 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot

The young 95th was only completed by the 10th February of the year following, but in April, 1824, it embarked for Malta, at which station its first Colours were presented to it by the Marchioness of Hastings. Here, too, while commanded by Lieut - Colonel A. C. Wylly, C.B., the 95th was accorded, in November, 1825, the title of "the Derbyshire Regiment," and so commenced its connection with that county which has endured. The 95th spent five years at Malta, and that the island was then far from being the health resort of the present day, may be proved by anybody who cares to stroll among those silent grass-grown cemeteries which are to be found in the bastions overlooking the Quarantine Harbour, below Florian, and where on headstones, broken and defaced, may still be traced the names of dead and forgotten "Derbies," officers and men. From Malta to Corfu, from one island to another, went the regiment in December, 1829, and at Corfu they received their second set of Colours, presented to them by General Sir Alexander Woodford, under whom the regiment had served at Malta. While quartered at Corfu the regiment was sent to Cephalonia to quell an insurrection of the Greeks, and was thanked by the High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands "for the exemplary steadiness, patience, and humanity, as well as gallantry, displayed by them during a very arduous and trying service." The 95th returned home in January, 1835, and was stationed at Cork.

The regiment was not, however, permitted to enjoy a long spell of home service - it was not even allowed to march through the county whose name it bore - and in October, 1838, the 95th sailed eastward once more, under the command of old Colonel Jimmy Campbell, who sleeps in Kensal Green Cemetery. The voyage from Cork to Ceylon would seem, even for those days of sailing ships, to have been an inordinately protracted one, for the Ceylon Government Calendar notifies the date of the arrival of the regiment in the colony as 4th March, 1840! In Ceylon, distributed between Colombo, Kandy, and Trincomalee, the 95th remained until 1847, having suffered terribly from cholera in the previous year. From Ceylon the regiment sailed to Hong Kong, where it received the third set of Colours those under which so many officers and men were to fall in the Crimea and in Central India, and where too the 95th suffered greatly from fever, losing 116 men, four women, and four children between June and September, 1848. The losses of the regiment are commemorated on an obelisk erected in the cemetery at the Happy Valley - This memorial was thoroughly cleaned and restored by subscriptions from both battalions of the regiment in 1904. In March, 1850, the 95th, now greatly reduced in strength, sailed for England, and was on arrival quartered at Winchester.


3 Veterans of the Crimea


During the quarter of a century that the 95th had been in existence, it had seen nothing of active service, but its turn was now to come, and when early in 1854 an expeditionary force proceeded to Turkey, the young 95th accompanied it, being attached to the 1st Brigade of the famous 2nd Division. While in Turkey the regiment suffered some loss from cholera, and when the army sailed for the Crimea it left one company behind at Scutari and a depot at Varna; consequently at its maiden battle, the Alma, the 95th numbered no more than 29 officers and about 740 of other ranks. Those who would know how the young 95th bore itself in its first battle will find the record in glowing words in the pages of Kinglake. The regiment - in the centre of its brigade - moved directly upon the burning village of Bourliouk, and because, during the advance, divided into two portions, the one moving straight on, the other taking ground to its left. The river was passed near the bridge, some men being drowned in the crossing, but those who struggled through had but one idea - to get on, and assail the great redoubt frowning upon them from the further bank. Joining the 23rd Fusiliers, the 95th charged up to and into the work, and while the 23rd captured one of the only two guns the Russians had been unable to remove, Captain Heyland and a handful of men of the 95th, took the other - Heyland scratching "95" on the gun carriage with his sword, held in the one hand which the battle had left to him. Owing to the heavy casualties amongst the officers, the Queens Colour was finally carried by Private Keenan - an event traditionally celebrated by the Regiment handing over one of its Colours to the custody of a Private soldier on the anniversary of the Battle of Alma, 20 September where it is Trooped through the ranks of the Regiment in commemoration of Keenan's gallantry and the steadiness of the soldiers, at this, their first battle.

Of the losses of the 95th Regiment at the Alma, Lord Raglan said in his despatch that they were "immense," the regiment losing 62 per cent. Of its officers, and nearly 30 per cent. Of its non-commissioned officers and men. Six officers were killed and 12 wounded, four sergeants and 42 men were killed, 12 sergeants and 156 men were wounded, and 6 were missing - rolled seawards, doubtless, in the troubled water of Alma - wide-eyed, unrecovered corpses.


When the siege of Sebastopol was decided upon, the Second Division took up a position on the extreme right, on the heights of Inkerman, and here it was twice attacked - on the 26th October, and, more heavily, on the 5th November. At the battle of Inkerman, the 95th - weakened by the losses at Alma and on the 26th October, and by the sickness which had been contracted in Turkey and had never left the army - numbered only 10 officers and 433 of other ranks. The regiment was now formed in six companies. There were not enough officers to spare two to carry the Colours, but there was no idea of leaving them in the rear in safety. They were brought on the field, "and were carried that day by two sergeants" - the Queens Colour by Sergeant William McIntyre and the regimental Colour by Sergeant John Gooding. Surely there can be no battle more difficult to describe than Inkerman! The aim of the British soldiers was to attack, and no sooner did they leave the high ground about their camps to meet their enemy that the men found themselves involved in isolated combats, by small parties, by twos and threes, and even of individuals, fought out to the death in the mist-laden copses below Mount Inkerman. Many fought alongside the Guards near the sandbag battery that was taken and retaken seven times that day. Champion, who led the 95th, was mortally wounded, Major Hulme was shot through the thigh, Macdonald, the adjutant, received nearly twenty wounds by ball or bayonet; and till long past midday the unequal fight went on, until at its close the regiment had suffered casualties to the number of 144, and when the company rolls were first called, barely 80 men answered to their names. Two sergeants and 28 rank and file had been killed; four officers, two sergeants, and 108 of other ranks were wounded. Although the Battalion strength was under 100 as it marched away from Inkerman, it nevertheless continued to serve in the trenches before Sevastopol and the final attack on the fortifications. The saying in the 2nd Division "There may be few of the 95th left, but those are as hard as nails" led to the nickname of "The Nails".

Its numbers reduced by three great losses in action, the survivors weakened by disease, exposure, and privation, the regiment yet continued during that awful winter on the Crimean uplands to do its full share of trench work; and when the campaign ended, the 95th had sustained a loss of 637 killed or dead of wounds and sickness, while 462 had been invalided.


Returning home in July, 1856, the regiment was again quartered in Ireland, but sailed in June of the year following for the Cape, on arrival at which port it was ordered to India, owing to the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny. For the 16 months following its disembarkation the 95th was constantly on the march in Central India, fighting under Sir Hugh Rose, and suffering equally from the sun and from the enemy. During this campaign the regiment marched 3,000 miles, and was engaged 14 times under four general officers. The men were ready for fighting of all kinds; they served captured guns, and hunted mutineers as mounted infantry perched upon camels. It fought at Awah, Kotah, the Battle of Kotah-ke-Serai, the siege and capture of the great fortresses of Gwalior and Pouree, and the capture of the rebel camp of Koondryee. Private McQuirt won for the Regiment its first VC at Rowa. The casualties sustained bear happily no comparison with the preceding campaign - two officers and two men being killed and four officers and 23 men being wounded, while one officer, one sergeant, and 34 of other ranks died during the campaign; but no doubt the effects of the exposure remained with the regiment, for on one day five officers and 84 men were struck down by the sun.

At the end of thirteen years of foreign service the 95th returned home under command of Colonel Raines in October, 1870, enjoying for once a long spell of home service, not proceeding abroad again until the end of 1881 - this time to Gibraltar. It was during these eleven years that two important events took place; the territorial system was inaugurated by the establishment of a regimental depot (26th Brigade Depot) at Derby; and in June, 1881, the numbers of all regiments were abolished, infantry regiments being linked together in pairs under a territorial title, the 45th and 95th becoming respectively the 1st and 2nd Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters, Derbyshire Regiment.


The Worcestershire Regiment

1881 - 1914

The Cardwell reforms of 1881 brought together the 29th and 36th Regiments of Foot with the Militia of Worcestershire plus the Volunteer Regiments. The Regiment now consisted of: 1st Battalion (29th), 2nd Battalion (36th) The Worcestershire Regiment; 3rd (Militia) Battalion (late 1st Battalion Worcestershire Militia) and 4th (Militia) Battalion (late 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Militia) The Worcestershire Regiment and the volunteer Battalions became known as the 1st and 2nd (Volunteer) Battalions The Worcestershire Regiment.


At the outbreak of the Boer War both the 1st and 2nd Battalions were mobilized and sailed to South Africa. The 2nd Battalion (including a company of men from the Worcestershire Volunteer Battalions) was the first to arrive and landed at Cape Town on the 10th January 1900, and as a result saw more action and had more casualties. The 1st Battalion arrived in South Africa at the end of March 1900 and during April they concentrated at Edenburg. The 6th (Militia) Battalion also served in South Africa but from the end of December 1901 and were mainly involved in blockhouse duty in Cape Colony.

Although the 4th Battalion were sent to South Africa in February 1901, they were not involved in any fighting. Their duty was to guard prisoners. The 4th Battalion went to Bermuda with the Bermuda-bound POWs and stayed until 1903. When the POWs first arrived in Bermuda en masse in 1901 from South Africa, it had been proposed that they be guarded by black members of the West India Regiment. But the-then Governor of Bermuda, Sir Digby Barker, felt that the South Africans would regard such an arrangement as a deadly and unforgivable insult to them, which would not be in the best interests of later subjugating their people in South Africa under British rule. As a result, he ensured that they were guarded instead by the all-British - and all-white troops of the Worcester Regiment.

WORLD WAR 1 1914 - 1918

When the War broke out there were four Regular Battalions, two Militia and two Territorial Battalions forming the Regiment and from these eight Battalions the Regiment expanded to 22. Throughout its bloody course, the War claimed lives of over 9,000 of the 13,000 officers and men who filled its ranks.

Most of the actions in which the majority of the battalions took part were across the muddy, pock-marked battlefields of France and Flanders. However, some battalions were also engaged in the fighting in the Dardanelles, Salonika, Mesopotamia, Russia and Italy. In all, nine Victoria Crosses were awarded to members of the Regiment. Six of these VC's are on display in the Museum. In addition the Regiment won 82 Distinguished Service Orders, 327 Military Crosses, 238 Distinguished Conduct Medals and over 800 Military Medalds.

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31st October 1914. The Germans invaded France and at the first shock came near to defeating the combined French and British Armies. Their objective was the Channel Ports, from which an attack on England could have been launched. The British Army stood to fight at Ypres.

After 10 days hard fighting, the 2nd Battalion, 500 strong was the only reserve for the Gheluvelt sector. The Battalion was then resting in Polygon Wood. The line at Gheluvelt, attacked by overwhelming numbers, gave way and the enemy took the Chateau and village. The situation was very serious and preparations for a general retirement were made; unless the gap was closed, the Army would be lost, so more or less as a forlorn hope the Battalion was ordered to counter-attack. 'A' Company advanced to a railway embankment overlooking the village to prevent the enemy advancing up the Menin road. Meanwhile with lightened kit and extra ammunition the rest of the Battalion made ready for the attack. The village was hidden by a ridge and their aiming mark was the Chateau. as they advance, signs of retreat were everywhere; they alone went forward. The crest of the ridge was covered by the enemy guns and could be crossed only by a quick rush. Though over a hundred fell to the storm of shelling which met their advance, the rest dashed down the slope, forced their way through the hedges and fences and into the Chateau grounds, where they closed weith the Germans. Surprised by the impetuous speed of the attack, the enemy though far superior in numbers, gave way and the attackers linked up with the remnants of the South Wales Borderers, who were still holding out.

As a result of the capture of Ghelevult against terrific odds and the consequent closing of the gap in the British Line, Ypres was held and the Channel Ports were saved. In his despatch describing this action the Commander in Chief, Sir John French said "The rally of the 1st division and the capture of the village of Gheluvelt at such a time was fraught with momentous consequences. If any one Unit can be singled out for special praise, it is the Worcestershires".


12th March 1915. In March 1915 the British Army attacked the Germans at Neuve Chapelle. After two days of fighting, although the village had been captured the attack was still a partial failure; for the Germans had repaired the gap in their line and were preparing to re-take the village by counter-attack. Two Bavarian Battalions advanced against the front held by the 1st Battalion, who held their fire. When the enemy was within 70 yards the whole Battalion fired their 'mad minute' (at the rapid rate of fire of 20 rounds per rifleman per minute) and the Germans fell in large numbers. 'A' Company cleared the enemy from the abandoned trenches on the right, while the rest of the Battalion drove them back into their own lines and took part of the enemy trenches. Unfortunately this advance was unsupported and the Battalion was isolated and nearly surrounded. Although several attacks were beaten off, they were forced to withdraw across the open ground and met with heavy loss. On the following morning the Battalion was withdrawn into reserve, however, the situation had been saved by the defeat of the counter-attack and the ground previously won was held.

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BETWEEN THE WARS 1919 - 1939

As peace returned to the World, one after another the fighting Battalions of the Regiment were disbanded or reduced to Cadre and the soldiers who had gained the final victory came back in small parties to England. However, at the same time the political situation in Ireland was deteriorating and both the 2nd and 3rd Battalions were sent to Dublin in 1919 to help control the outbreak of violence. The temporary ending of the Irish troublesl in 1921 provided the opportunity of reducing the country's military forces and orders were received for all Regiments with four Regular Battalions to disband their 3rd and 4th Battalions. This was a decision which was greeted with great sorrow in the Regiment for along with the Royal Fusiliers, The Middlesex, the 60th Rifles and Rifle Brigade were the only Regiments in the Army to have four Regular Battalions. Between the Wars the 1st Battalion, apart from a period of active operations during the troubles in Palestine, divided its time between India, China and England in a relaxed peacetime way; with, in India, the usual diversions of polo and game shooting for the officers and from 1930 the 2nd Battalion enjoyed spells of duty in Malta, China and India.

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WORLD WAR 2 1939 - 1945

When the War was imminent the 1st Battalion was in Palestine and its war service was, therefore, destined initially to be in the middle East. Likewise the 2nd Battalion, who were in India in 1939 were destined to remain there until called to take part in the Burma Campaign. It was in fact the two Territorial Battalions, the 7th and 8th who first saw active service. both went to France in 1940 and both were in the Dunkirk tragedy.


The first Regular Battalion to join battle with the enemy was the 1st Battalion. They moved from Palestine, via Egypt to the Sudan and following the entry of Italy into the War, formed part of the British force which attacked the Italian Colony of Eritrea in 1941. The first Italian resistance came at El Gocni from which, after stiff fighting the enemy was ejected. Barentu was likewise successful and essentially a company battle in which 'A' Company played a prominent part. Ahead lay the fortress of Keren whose steep rocky approaches added to the stiff Italian resistance, however, this was also captured although the battalion suffered heavy losses.


At the end of August 1941 the 1st Battalion moved to the Western Desert, where in the summer of 1942 they took part in the Gazala Battle and in the defence of Tobruk. The Gazala line stretched from Gazala on the coast some fifty miles south to Bir Hachim. It consisted of a series of isolated infantry localities, wired and mined, which were called "Boxes" and between which were large gaps that could neither be held by artillery fire nor plugged by tanks. One such locality was Point 187 near Acroma, midway between Gazala and Tobruk, where the Battalion stood to meet the German onslaught. By 13th June 1942 the Germans had penetrated the surrounding defences and the Battalion Box became isolated. Enemy tanks attacked relentlessly and although some twenty of them were knocked out, all of the Battalions anti-tank guns had become casualties. Throughout the day the Battalion stayed true to its Motto of "FIRM" and as evening fell and with the desert a blazing inferno, orders were received for the Box to be evacuated.

At Tobruk the German attack, which was launched on 20th June 1942 was heralded by a fierce air bombardment after which came well co-ordinated artillery fire from both the Germans and Italians. This in turn led to a massive Panzer attack against which resistance was virtually impossible. Any attempt to break out to the coast was forestalled by the enemy who were too thick on the ground. A general surrender was ordered - unlike at Corunna and Dunkirk where the soldiers of the Regiment had withdrawn to safety; at Tobruk few escaped being made Prisoners of War.


On 1st January 1943 the 1st Battalion was reformed by disbanding the 11th Battalion, a Service Battalion formed in May 1940 and drafting its personnel to the 1st Battalion. Soon after D Day in 1944 the Battalion arrived in France and their first action, which resulted in the capture of Mouen, was described by the Divisional Commander as "one of the slickest attacks of the war". After the break out came the spectacular drive to the Seine - over one hundred miles in three and a half days. This was followed by some intense fighting in which every man in the Battalion - drivers, clerks, orderlies and signallers fought like demons. The fierce fighting gave cover to the armoured drive to Belgium and Holland. After a spell of comparative quiet the Battalion once more went into battle, to try and relieve the gallant men of Arnhem. The battle to keep the corridor open was some of the fiercest the Battalion had experienced and in the fighting round the Nederijn three of its Company Commanders were killed. From then on it was only a matter of time before victory in Europe was assured and when it came the Battalion had reached an area North of Luneberg, thus ending the advance from Normandy to the Elbe.


Two Battalions of the Regiment fought in South East Asia Command, the 2nd and the 7th. Throughout it was a tale of fight and advance - never once was either Battalion forced back. One action among many is memorable; it was at Merema, near Kohima when the 7th Battalion evicted in 36 hours a Japanese force that had been ordered to hold on for ten days. In the last two months of 1944 the two Worcestershire Battalions advanced on the enemy, taking different directions. Leaving behind 350 miles of soil and dust once trodden by the Japanese the 7th Battalion reached and crossed the Chindwin at Kalewa. Plumes of dust marked their progress across the sandy plain of Central Burma as they moved towards Shwebo. Once there, the grateful inhabitants presented the Battalion with a lacquered bowl, now to be seen in the Regimental Museum. Meanwhile the 2nd Battalion had completed one of the greatest of the Burma Campaign's forced marches, covering 400 miles in six weeks; arriving at Shwebo just after the 7th Battalion, who were there waiting for them with a meal laid out in the open on tables covered with parachutes as table cloths. There then remained the Battle for Mandalay; the 7th Battalion moved towards the city from the South West but it was to be the 2nd Battalion that fought the battle and who carried out the follow up.

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THE POST WAR YEARS 1945 - 1970

Since the Second World War the changing role of the Army resulted in drastic reductions; the first major change to be felt in the Regiment being the disbandment in 1947 of the 2nd Battalion. Then in 1967 with the reduction in Territorial forces the 7th Battalion was reduced to one company, which became part of the Mercian Volunteers.

During the Post War years the Regiment continued in its usual down to earth way. Not least during the Malayan Emergency in the early 1950s, when it established a fine reputation through its operational successes. A campaign in which the George Cross was awarded to Awang Anak Rawang, a tracker attached to the 1st Battalion.

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The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment)

1881 - 1914

The Cardwell Reforms of 1881 brought together the 45th and 95th Regiments of Foot with the Militia of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire plus the Volunteer Regiments of the two counties to form The Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment). It is of interest that it was not until 1902 that Nottinghamshire was added to the title. The Regiment now consisted of: 1st Battalion (45th), 2nd Battalion (95th); 3rd Battalion (late Derbyshire Militia) and 4th Battalion (late Royal Sherwood Foresters) Militia Battalions; and 1st and 2nd (Derbyshire) and 3rd and 4th (Nottinghamshire) Volunteer Battalions. The Headquarters of the Regimental District was established in Derby.

The 2nd Battalion saw active service in Egypt during 1882 and later went on to India. In 1888 they took part in the Sikkim Expedition to Tibet and in 1897 they were once again in active service in the Tirah Expedition where Lieutenant H S Pennell won the VC during the capture of the Dargai Heights. It was in India in 1885 that the Battalion established what is accepted as a World sporting record, when two companies contested a tug-of-war pull that lasted 2 hours 41 minutes. (This was before the rules were changed to prevent sitting).

The outbreak of the Boer War in 1899 found both regular battalions in Malta and during November of that year the 1st Batalion sailed for South Africa where they were to remain until the end of the War in 1902. They took part in most of the major battles and shared all the hard marching and privations of that long campaign. On one occasion they marched 400 miles in 45 days and were engaged with the enemy 28 times. The 4th Battalion and Service Companies of the Volunteer Battalions also took part in the campaign with great credit. The 2nd Battalion, still stationed in Malta, provided volunteers for the many Mounted Infantry companies. VCs were won by Corporal H Beet and Private W Bees, while amongst the many other decorations bestowed on Foresters were no fewer than twenty two Distinguished Conduct Medals. Click here for BOER War Roll of Honour

The growing threat of War with Germany at the beginning of the Century caused a further re-organisation of the Army. In 1908 the 3rd and 4th Battalions became part of the Special Reserve with liabilities for overseas service, whilst the Volunteer Battalions became the 5th, 6th, 7th (Robin Hoods) and 8th Battalions of The Sherwood Foresters in the newly formed Territorial Force, later renamed the Territorial Army.

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WORLD WAR 1 1914 - 1918

The History of the Regiment in the First World War is very much the story of the men of the counties of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. When War was declared, The Sherwood Foresters consisted of eight battalions and a Depot in Derby. During the War the Regiment expanded to a maximum of 33 Battalions of which 20 served overseas. Altogether, some 140,000 men, nearly all from Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, served in the Regiment - 11,409 of whom did not return.

The 2nd Battalion was part of the British Expeditionary Force which landed in France in September 1914 and went straight into the bitter fighting on the Aisne. On 20 September (the anniversary of the Battle of the Alma - a previous Battle Honour of the 95th) the Battalion carried out a counter-attack to plug a gap in the British Lines. The casualties were almost identical with those at the Alma; 17 out of 22 officers and 214 out of 930 other ranks. Reinforced, the Battalion fought another major battle in October at Ennettiere on the way to Ypres, holding a vastly superior German force for 48 hours and losing in the process 16 officers and 710 other ranks.

The 1st Battalion was in India at the outbreak of the War and was sent to France in November 1914 without any chance to adjust to European conditions and as a result suffered badly in its first four winter months of 'Trench War'. The Battalion took part in two major battles in 1915 - Neuve Chapelle and Loos - and suffered severe casualties. Private J Rivers and Corporal J Upton were awarded VCs for bravery.

Both 1st and 2nd Battalions continued to serve in France until after the Armistice on 11 November 1918 and overall were the most heavily committed of all the Battalions in the Regiment. The 3rd and 4th Militia Battalions were embodied at the outbreak of War but remained in the UK as holding and reinforcement units. The Territorial Army was immediately mobilised on the outbreak of War and the original four Sherwood Forester Territorial Battalions, the 5th, 6th, 7th (Robin Hoods) and 8th formed the 139 (Forester) Infantry Brigade in the 46 (North Midland) Division. In September the Territorial Army was doubled and almost overnight the 2/5th, 2/6th, 2/7th (Robin Hoods) and 2/8th Battalions of the Regiment were formed from the original battalions and were made up into the 178 (Forester) Infantry Brigade of 59th (North Midland) Division.

In February 1915, the 139th (Forester) Brigade had the distinction of being part of the first Territorial division to land in France. By the end of the year they had been engaged in heavy fighting and Captain C G Vickers of the 1/7th (Robin Hoods) had been awarded the VC. This Forester Brigade served in France for the remainder of the War and suffered severe casualties. In particular it gained special recognition for its valour on the opening day of the Somme Battle on 1st July 1916, where it suffered 80% casualties and its magnificent part in the breaking of the Hindenburg Line and the final defeat of the German Army in the Autumn of 1918; Lieutenant Colonel B W Vann MC the Commanding Officer of the 1/6th Battalion and Sergeant W H Johnson of the 1/5th Battalion being awarded the VC for conspicious bravery in the latter action.

In 1916, the 178 (Forester) Brigade although only partially trained, was despatched to Dublin to suppress the Easter Rebellion. This operation was completed successfully although at some cost in casualties, especially to the 2/7th (Robin Hoods) and 2/8th Battalions. In 1917 the Brigade moved to France and took part with distinction in the latter part of the 2nd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) suffering heavy casualties and also at Cambria later in 1917. The Brigade continued to fight in France until 1918.

As the new Kitchener Armies were raised in 1914, the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th (Service) Battalions were formed, followed by the 15th (Bantams), 16th (Chatsworth Rifles), 17th (Welbeck Rangers), 18th (Bantams), 19th and 20th Battalions.

The 9th Battalion took part in the ill fated Gallipoli campaign in 1915 and gained a name for its stubborn fighting qualities similar to those of the 45th Foot some 100 years previously. The Battalion arrived in France in August 1916 and fought through the remaining Somme offensive; the bitter drawn-out battle of Passchendaele in 1917, where in October Corporal F Greaves was awarded the VC; followed by the German breakthrough in the Spring of 1918 and the final successful Allied offensive later in the year. Click here to visit the 9th (Service) Battalion Memorial Site

The 10th Battalion went to France in July 1915 and moved almost immediately into the notorious bloody Ypres Salient. In 1916, it took part in the first ten days of continuous fighting on the Somme, returning for a second time into the grim battle in August and yet a third time in October/November. In 1917 the Battalion fought magnificently throughout the 2nd Battle of Ypres suffering further heavy casualties and like the 9th Battalion continued in the forefront of battle throughout 1918 to the end.

The 11th Battalion arrived in France in August of 1915 and within the month was engaged in a minor role in the Loos Battle. It took part in the opening day of the Somme offensive on 1st July 1916 and suffered such grevious losses it was relieved that night. It returned to the bitter struggle in late July and again in October for the final attempt to break through the German rear position. In 1917, the Battalion was heavily engaged in the second Ypres Battle for Passchendaele Ridge. In November it moved with its Division to Northern Italy to asist the Italians in their struggle against the German/Austrian offensive and won further renown for its successful stand at Asiago, where its Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel C E Hudson DSO MC was awarded the VC for outstanding bravery and leadership. In October 1918 the 11th Battalion was returned to France and took part in the final offensive.

The 12th Battalion arrived in France in August 1915. The following month it took part in the Battle of Loos and from then onwards was engaged in most of the major battles until the end of 1918. Although its primary role was that of a Divisional Pioneer Battalion it was drawn into the fight in times of crisis and gained recognition for gallant action on several occasions, notably the Battle of Loos in 1915 and the final German offensive in 1918. This Battalion, under the editorship of Captain Roberts MC created and published what must be the most famous wartime news sheet of all - "The Wipers Times".

The 15th (Bantam) Battalion, made up initially of men who although fit were below the normal minimum service height of 5' 3", moved to France with the 35th (Bantam) Division in 1916. The Battalion fought with great distinction and heavy casualties throughout the 1916 battles on the Somme. However at the end of 1916, the problems of finding 'bantam' reinforcements in sufficient numbers became too difficult; the 15th Foresters was redesignated a normal 'service' battalion and fought as such until the end of the War.

The 16th (Chatsworth Rifles) and 17th (Welbeck Rangers) Battalions arrived in France in late April 1916 and played a prominent part in the Somme Battle from August to the bitter end in November 1916. Their losses were heavy: These Battalions were also engaged in the 1917 offensive and again in the great German offensive on the Somme and Lys in the Spring of 1918, after which they were reduced through severe losses to Cadre form to train the newly arriving American Forces. Their finest hour and certainly the period of their heaviest casualties came in the 2nd Battle of Ypres and particularly the grim fighting leading to Passchendaele. It was for outstanding bravery during this battle that Corporal E A Egerton (16th Battalion) was awarded the VC.

All other battalions filled the vital role of reinforcement and training units combined with Home Defence, attempting to keep pace with the heavy losses over the four years of the War. However, towards the end of the War , the high rate of casualties necessitated amalgamation of weakened Battalions and, as with other Regiments, Forester Battalions started to disappear from the Order of Battle. Throughout all the fighting, officers and soldiers alike, displayed the same selfless courage that had won The Sherwood Foresters so many Battle Honours in the past. After the War, no less than 57 Honours were added to that list. For outstanding acts of bravery, nine members of the Regiment were awarded the Victoria Cross including Captain A Ball VC DSO MC Royal Flying Corps, who was previously a Robin Hood. Over two thousand more received other decorations, honours and distinctions.

The cost was high as shown on the War Memorials throughout Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. There can hardly have been a village or city street that did not produce men to serve in The Sherwood Foresters - 11,409 of whom did not return.

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BETWEEN THE WARS 1919 - 1939

As peace returned to the World, all Battalions of The Sherwood Foresters were withdrawn to the UK. By early 1919 the Territorial and Service Battalions were all disbanded or reduced to Cadres while the two regular Battalions - the 1st and 2nd, reformed on a peacetime basis. In late 1919, the 2nd Battalion set out on an overseas tour which was to last for nearly seventeen years. After 2½ years in Egypt, the Battalion suddenly found itself ordered to Constantinople and precipitated into a peace-keeping role between the Greeks and the Turks in what has become known as the Chanak incident; the peace was held and in late 1922 the 2nd Battalion sailed for India. Meanwhile in 1920 the 1st Battalion had also found itself involved with another less critical peace-keeping role in Schleswig-Holstein, where a plebiscite was being held to decide whether the country should join Denmark or Germany. After six months and a brief visit to Copenhagen, the Battalion returned to England. However, in June 1921 they returned to internal security duties again - this time in Southern Ireland where they spent a difficult if uneventful six months on guards and patrols. Subsequently the Battalion remained in the UK until 1935.

It is not easy for a Regiment to distinguish itself in peacetime but apart from their general military efficiency, both Battalions played their part in gaining for the Regiment a reputation as the leading soccer Regiment in the Army. The 1st Battalion won the Army Football Cup for three years running in 1930, 31 and 32 and the 2nd Battalion (which had won the Army Cup in 1911 and 1912) became the All India Champions during 1926 - 28.

In October 1934, the 2nd Battalion left India for the Sudan and remained there until early 1938. A pleasant year in Guernsey followed before the Battalion moved to Bordon near Aldershot in early 1939. In 1935 the 1st Battalion started an overseas tour with a posting to the West Indies where, amongst other duties, it assisted the civil police in containing the disturbances in Jamaica in 1938. A Wing of the Bn was based in Bermuda where in 1937 it provided a Ceremonial Honour Guard for the former Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald who had died whilst on a cruise. He laid in state in Bermuda before he returned to England for burial. En route to Palestine in 1939, the 1st Battalion met up briefly with the 2nd Battalion at Bordon, where a memorable joint parade and reunion was held. In Palestine the Battalion was soon on active service and suffered casualties including one officer killed in operations in the disturbances there.

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WORLD WAR 2 1939 - 1945

The 2nd Battalion landed in France with the British Expeditionary Force in September 1939 and took part in the early stages of the 'Phoney War' and the advance into Belgium. The 1/5th, 2/5th, and 9th Battalions also joined the BEF, the former as lines of communication troops and the latter two for pioneer duties. All three of these Battalions were totally ill-equipped for the operational tasks they eventually had to perform in the retreat to the Channel Coast. At one period the 2nd, 2/5th and 9th Battalions were together defending the Dunkirk perimeter before the successful evacuation. At the same time the 1/5th Battalion, after a period of fighting alongside the 51st Highland Division, was evacuated from Cherbourg.

In April 1940, the 8th Battalion had landed in Norway as part of the ill-fated attempt to assist the Norwegian Army against the Germans. This Battalion had had little training and was not fully equipped; a situation made worse when the ship carrying its vehicles and heavy equipment was sunk. The Battalion became involved in a withdrawal through mountains and deep snow pursued by ski troops supported by aircraft and tanks; the remnants eventually being evacuated to Scotland.

In June 1940 the 1st Battalion was moved from Palestine to reinforce the Garrison of Cyprus, where they suffered their first war casualties in an air-raid. Early in 1942 the Battalion was moved to Egypt, converted to a motorised role and joined the Desert Army. Unfortunately after a sharp engagement in the Knightsbridge Box, the Battalion was ordered to surrender when the Garrison in Tobruk capitulated.

The 1/5th Battalion after a year in England sailed for the Far East and arrived in Signapore on 29 January 1942 just prior to its capture by the Japanese.

As a result of these early defeats, many Foresters spent long years in captivity. Those of the 1/5th Battalion suffered horrendously at the hands of the Japanese while working on the notorious Burma-Siam Railway; 450 officers and men of this Battalion died in captivity.

Our fortunes turned with the 8th Army's victory at El Alamein in November 1942. The 14th Battalion took part with distinction in this Battle. It had been originally formed as the 50th Battalion in 1940 but was renumbered after a few months and then in July 1942 had been converted to a Motor Battalion. In January 1943 the 2/5th Battalion, by now renamed the 5th Battalion, joined the 1st British Army in Tunisia and was followed shortly by the 2nd Battalion. The Battalions took part in severe and difficult fighting, in particular at Sedjenane and the Medjez Plain and suffered many casualties before the remnants of the German Armies capitulated at Cap Bon.

The 5th Battalion were next in action in Italy at the assault landing at Salerno in September 1943. They suffered heavy casualties there and later in the difficult and fiercely resisted fighting advance up to the Cassino area.

The 2nd Battalion took part in the assault landing at Anzio in January 1944 where they were joined later by the 14th Battalion and took part in what was probably the toughest fighting of the whole War. After the fall of Rome the 2nd, 5th and 14th Battalions continued the difficult fight up the length of Italy, adding a further eleven battle honours to the seven earned in North Africa.

In December 1944 the 5th Battalion was despatched to Greece to help quell the Civil War which had started there after the German withdrawal. Meanwhile the 14th Battalion had been disbanded and many of its officers and men were posted to the 2nd and 5th Battalions. At the end of the War the 2nd Battalion was in Palestine and the 5th back in Italy from where they moved into Austria with the liberation armies. The 1st Battalion was meanwhile re-forming in England.

Brief mention should now be made to some of the other Battalions of the Regiment. The 9th Battalion had been converted to an armoured car role after Dunkirk but was disbanded in October 1944. The 12th and 13th Battalions had been sent to India where the 12th became a Jungle Training Unit providing officers and men for the 14th Army's campaign in Burma and the 13th was converted to 163rd Regiment Royal Armoured Corps. They were both disbanded in India, the 12th Battalion in February 1946 and the 13th Battalion in September 1945. The 8th Battalion, after retraining in Northern Ireland and a period of defence of the South East coast of England was converted to a pre-OCTU at Wrotham, where it gave valuable service in training large numbers of potential officers. The 6th and 7th (Robin Hoods) Battalions in their respective anti-aircraft roles as 40th Searchlight Regiment (later 149th LAA Regiment) Royal Artillery and 42nd SL Regt Royal Artillery did their share in the Air Defence of the UK and then later operating in North West Europe. The Robin Hoods were awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre for their actions in the Antwerp Box shooting down V1 and V2 Bombs.

The requirement for infantry in World War 2 was considerably less than in World War 1 and the casualties were thankfully correspondingly lower. A total of 26,940 officers and men served in the Foresters, of whom 1,520 were killed or died of wounds and about three times that number were wounded. The Foresters won 25 Battle Honours, ten of which are emblazoned on the Queen's Colours. The VC was posthumously awarded to Captain J H C Brunt MC, who at the time was serving with the 6th Battalion The Lincolnshire Regiment. Some 400 other Foresters received awards for gallantry and outstanding War Service.

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THE POST WAR YEARS 1945 - 1970

By mid 1945 the 1st Battalion had been re-formed and was training as part of 61 Light Division to move out to take part in the final defeat of the Japanese. However with the end of hostilities its role was changed and instead it joined the Army of Occupation in Germany. The 2nd Battalion remained in Palestine seeing further active service during the post war disturbances there. Meanwhile TA and Service Battalions were disbanded. As the old colonies and territories of the British Empire were granted their independence, the size of the Army was reduced. In 1948 the 1st and 2nd Battalions were amalgamated to form one battalion, although for a short period (1952 - 1955) as a result of the Korean War, the 2nd Battalion was reactivated; the Sherwood Foresters as a Regiment did not take part in this War but provided men for other Regiments.

During the post war period the 1st Battalion served first as a lorry-borne infantry battalion in Germany and then as Garrison Troops in Egypt. Early in 1953 the Battalion moved to Libya where they became a motorised battalion equipped with armoured track vehicles. Service in the same role in Germany followed. In 1958 the Battalion reverted to a normal infantry role and took part in the closing stages of the jungle fighting against the communists in Malaya. Then, after a further period in Singapore, the Battalion returned to the UK in 1961.

In December 1963 the Battalion found itself in a United Nations peace-keeping role in Cyprus once again keeping the Turks and Greeks apart. In 1966 1 Foresters moved again to Germany as a mechanised infantry battalion and served there until returning to UK in early 1970. It was during this period that Nottingham, Derby, Chesterfield, Ilkeston, Mansfield, Newark, East Retford and Buxton bestowed their 'Freedom' on the Regiment further cementing ties with their County Regiment.

The Territorial element of The Sherwood Foresters consisted of the re-formed 5th Battalion based in Derbyshire and the 8th Battalion in Nottinghamshire, while the old 6th and 7th (Robin Hoods) Battalions continued in the form of 575 (The Sherwood Foresters) LAA Regt RA and 350 (Robin Hood Foresters) Light Regt RA. Unfortunately all of these were reduced in size by subsequent Defence cuts, the 5th and 8th Battalions being finally amalgamated to form the 5th/8th Battalion.

As the strength of the Army diminished it was decided to group regiments together into administrative brigades with common basic depots. Initially the Sherwood Foresters were grouped with the Royal Warwickshire, Royal Lincolnshire and Royal Leicestershire Regiments in the Midlands Brigade; this was renamed the Forester Brigade in 1958 when the Royal Lincolnshires left the group. A Forester Brigade cap badge and buttons were introduced but regiments retained their own collar badges. The Regimental Depot at Normanton Barracks in Derby became an outstation of the Brigade Depot at Leicester and finally closed in 1963. In 1963 a further regrouping occurred and the Foresters found themselves linked with the Cheshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire Regiments in the Mercian Brigade based on Lichfield Staffordshire. A new common cap badge was introduced but regiments retained their old buttons. The grouping was again changed in 1969; regimental cap badges were restored and The Sherwood Foresters found themselves part of the Prince of Wales's Division.

On 28th February 1970 at Battlesbury Barracks Warminster in Wiltshire the 1st Battalion The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) amalgamated with 1st Battalion The Worcestershire Regiment to form 1st Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (29th/45th Foot)

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The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (29th/45th Foot)

The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment



Feb 1970 - Mar 1972 UK Warminster - Battlesbury Barracks Demonstration Battalion at School of Infantry
Mar 1972 - Jun 1972 Northern Ireland Londonderry Internal Security Duties
Jul 1972 - Sep 1974 British Army of the Rhine Berlin - Montgomery Barracks Garrison duties
Sep 1974 - Apr 1976 Northern Ireland Ballykelly Internal Security Duties
Apr 1976 - Apr 1977 UK Colchester - Meeanee Barracks Air Portable Bn
Apr 1977 - Aug 1977 Northern Ireland South Armagh Internal Security Duties
Aug 1977 - Aug 1978 UK Colchester - Meeanee Barracks Infantry
Aug 1978 - Mar 1979 Caribbean Belize Airport Camp
Holdfast Camp
Infantry/Internal security
Mar 1979 - Nov 1979 UK Colchester - Meeanee Barracks Infantry
Nov 1979 - Aug 1982 British Army of the Rhine Hemer - Peninsula Barracks Mechanised Infantry
Aug 1982 - Dec 1982 Northern Ireland Belfast Internal Security Duties
Dec 1982 - Oct 1984 British Army of the Rhine Hemer - Peninsula Barracks Mechanised Infantry
Oct 1984 - Aug 1986 UK Warminster -Battlesbury Barracks Demonstration Battalion
Aug 1986 - Jun 1987 UK Cambridge - Oakington Barracks Home Defence
Jun 1987 - Dec 1987 Cyprus Nicosia/Dhekelia UNFICYP
Dec 1987-Jan 1989 UK Cambridge - Oakington Barracks Home Defence
Jan 1989 - Mar 1991 Northern Ireland Omagh - Lisanelly Barracks Internal Security Duties
Mar 1991 - Oct 1993 Cyprus Dhekelia Garrison Duties
Oct 1993 - Apr 1994 UK Tidworth- Lucknow Barracks Armoured Infantry
Apr 1994-Sep 1994 Northern Ireland   Internal Security Duties
Sep 1994-May 1996 UK Tidworth - Lucknow Barracks
Armoured Infantry
May 1996 - Nov 1996 Bosnia Markinjic Grad, Sanski Most, Gorni Ribnik, Sipovo (Bn HQ) NATO
Nov 1996 - Nov 1998 UK Tidworth - Lucknow Barracks Armoured Infantry
Nov 1998 - Apr 1999 Bosnia   Armoured Infantry
May 1999 - Nov 1999 UK Tidworth - Lucknow Barracks Armoured Infantry
Dec 1999 - Dec 2001 Northern Ireland Omagh - Lisanelly Barracks Internal Security/
Dec 2001 - Apr 2003 UK Chester - The Dale Arid Conditions
Apr 2003 - Dec 2003 Northern Ireland South Armagh Internal Security Duties
Dec 2003 -Oct 2004 UK Chester - The Dale Arid Conditions
Oct 2004 - Mar 2005 Afghanistan Mazar-e-Sharif, Kabul Internal Security Duties
Mar 2005 - Jul 2005 UK Chester - The Dale Arid Condition
Aug 2005 - UK Hounslow - Cavalry Barracks Public Duties
Apr 2007 - Afghanistan Helmand Province ISAF
1 Sep2007   Retitled 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters)  

On 16 December 2004 the Secretary of State for Defence announced, under the Future Army Structure, that the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (29/45 Foot) would become the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters) along with the 1st Battalion (Cheshire) and the 3rd Battalion (Staffords). So as Colonel Dalbaic wrote on the completion of his History of the 45th Regiment:

"Thus by a stroke of a Minister's pen........the Regiment which had maintained the best traditions of the British Army and the Honour of England in four continents, were swept away as if unworthy of a moment's consideration."

Also, in November 1956 when the Army entertained their Queen at a dinner in the Royal Hospital Chelsea Her Majesty said in her speech - "A short time ago I was shown a letter written by a Private soldier who had just been transferred from his old Regiment to a new one. He wrote to his former Colonel somewhat as follows -

'You will see by the address that disaster has overtaken me. I feel something like a man who has awakened from an operation to find himself minus a limb. They have taken away my Cap Badge and with it, the great love of my life. The traditions of my county regiment are in my blood and to be known as a Forester was an estate of which I was deeply proud'

This, said Her Majesty is how one British soldier feels about his Regiment..." (Extract taken from the Foresters Regimental Magazine dated March 1957)



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