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The 45th Regiment of
The history of The
Sherwood Foresters goes back to 1741, when England was committed to War
against France in Europe and later in Asia and America. In this year a new
Regiment was raised and commanded by a Colonel Houghton.
By 1745 the Regiment was
in Gibraltar and under the command of a Colonel Warburton, while two years
later it was serving in Nova Scotia. In 1751 numerical titles were introduced
and the Regiment became the 45th. The aggressive actions of the French against
the English 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
fortified. The 45th Regiment served for twenty years in Canada, and for its
gallantry at Louisburg was later awarded the first of the long roll of battle
honours that now adorn the Colours. 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 and thus seal the doom
of French rule in Canada.
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
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 1786-1794 and 1795-1802, the 45th was in the West Indies almost
constantly engaged in fighting the French for possession of those 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 Peninsular War
The following year the
45th Regiment became part of the Peninsular Army, under Sir Arthur Wellesley,
the future Duke of Wellington. The 45th was present at the opening battle, at
Rolica in 1808, and served without a break in all Wellington's famous battles
until the siege of Toulouse in 1814, winning no less than thirteen battle
honours. The nickname, "The Old Stubborns", was bestowed on the
regiment for its conspicuous bravery at the battle of Talavera. In that battle
the French flung themselves in dense masses upon the advanced posts of the
British Army, which were held by the 45th, who opposed the enemy with such
firmness and courage that the enemy troops were first checked and then brought
to a standstill. Retiring slowly, the 45th held up the enemy attack so
completely that the entire 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 conspicuous".
In the Battle of Busaco,
the 45th Regiment 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 on the ground killed and
wounded. "1 can assure you 1 never witnessed a more gallant charge",
wrote Wellington in his despatches. In the siege of Badajoz, a detachment of
the 45th succeeded in getting into the Castle first and the red coat 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
among the best of Wellington's veteran units. When the campaign ended, the
45th, worn to a shadow, returned to its native 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 tracks of steamy
jungle 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 reabsorbed into 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 1851 -53 and the expedition across the Orange River.
Change in Title
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.
In 1867, the 45th formed
part of the British force that, under General Sir Robert Napier (afterwards
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 road less 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.
The 95th Regiment of
The 95th Regiment was
raised in 1823 as the 95th Derbyshire Regiment. It was the sixth regiment to
bear this number in the British Army. During its first 20 years the 95th saw
service in Malta, The Ionian Islands, Ceylon and China.
The 95th was called on
active service in 1854 for the Crimean War. It experienced all the hardships
of the arduous campaign, and was in the thick of all the heaviest fighting. At
the Alma it was in the forefront of the attack across the river and up the
heights. Owing to the heavy casualties amongst the officers, the Regimental
Colour was finally carried by Pte. 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 - 20th September.
At this time, as a result
of heavy casualties that were occurring to Colour Parties, an Army order was
issued that Colours would no longer be carried in battle. However at the
battle of Inkerman (fought in fog), the Russians 30,000 strong attacked and
found the 95th as one of the regiments on outpost duty, fighting stubbornly in
small parties to hold on until the repeated British bayonet charges caused the
Russians to withdraw. As the Army order concerning Colours had not been
received, the 95th Colours were carried and these were the last in the Army to
be present in a major battle.
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 95th was on its way to
the Cape when the Indian Mutiny occurred. The Regiment was diverted to Bombay
where it joined the Central Indian Field Force, whose achievements in marching
and fighting through jungle and over arid plains under tropical skies still
stand as a marvel of military achievement and endurance. It fought at Awah,
Kotah, the battle of Kotah-ke-Serai; the siege and capture of the great
fortress of Gwalior and Pouree, and the capture of the rebel camp of Koondryee.
In sixteen months it marched over 3,000 miles and took part in 14 actions. Pte.
McQuirt won for the Regiment its first VC at Rowa. The 95th remained in India
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
The Regiment now consisted
of: 1st Battalion (45th), 2nd Battalion (95th), 3rd (late Derbyshire Militia)
and 4th (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
on 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.
The outbreak of the Boer
War in 1899 found both regular battalions in Malta and during November of that
year the 1st Battalion 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 Cpl H Beet and Pte W Bees, while amongst the many
other decorations bestowed on Foresters were no fewer than twenty-two
Distinguished Conduct Medals.
The growing threat of War
with Germany at the beginning of the Century caused a further reorganisation
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
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 at Derby. During
the War the Regiment expanded to a maximum of 33 Battalions, of whom 20 served
overseas. Altogether some 140,000 men, nearly all from Nottinghamshire and
Derbyshire, served in the Regiment.
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 20th September
(the anniversary of the Battle of 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 Alma, 17 out of 22
officers and 214 out of 930 other ranks. Reinforced, the 2nd 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 War. It was brought home, and sent to France in
November 1914 without any chance of adjusting itself to European conditions
and as a result suffered badly in its first four winter months of "Trench
War". The Battalion took part in two of the major battles in 1915 - Neuve
Chapelle and Loos, and suffered severe casualties. Pte. J. Rivers and Cpl. J.
Upton were awarded VCs for bravery.
Both 1st and 2nd
Battalions continued to serve in France until after the Armistice on 11th
November 1918, and overall were the most heavily committed of all the
battalions of 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
Foresters 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 Capt. 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 80ř/ /0 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; Lt. Col. B. W. Vann MC, the Commanding Officer of the
1/6th Battalion and Sgt. W. H. Johnson of the 1/5th Battalion being awarded
the VC for conspicuous 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 Ypres Battle (Passchendaele),
suffering heavy casualties, and also at Cambrai 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 of The Sherwood Foresters were formed, followed later 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
throughout the remaining Somme offensive; the bitter drawn-out battle of
Passchendaele in 1917, where in October Cpl. 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.
The 10th Battalion went to
France in July 1915 and moved almost immediately into the notorious Ypres
(Bloody) 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 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 grievous 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 assist the
Italians in their struggle against the German/ Austrian offensive and won
further renown for its successful stand at Asiago, where its Commanding
Officer Lt. Col. C. E. Hudson DSO MC was awarded the VC for outstanding
bravery and leadership. In October 1918 the 11th Battalion 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 conduct on several occasions, notably the Battle of
Loos in 1915 and the final German offensive in 1918.
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 redesigned 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
heavily 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 their period of 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 Cpl 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
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.
Between the Wars
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 2 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
peacekeeping 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 1922 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 U K. until
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 Borden 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 civil disturbances in
Jamaica in 1938. 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
After the immediate
post-war demobilisation, the Territorial Army was reformed and the 5th, 6th,
7th (Robin Hoods) and 8th Battalions of the Regiment continued to train
together as the 139th (Sherwood Foresters) Brigade.
Then in 1936, the
increasing air threat resulted in the 6th and 7th Battalions being converted
to RE searchlight units and losing their Infantry connection although they
retained their Sherwood Forester link. Finally as the War clouds gathered in
1939, a 2/5th and a 9th Battalion were formed from the 5th and 8th Battalions,
During all this period the
Regimental Depot at Derby played its part as the home and backup for the
Regular and Territorial Army Units of the Sherwood Foresters.
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 1/5, 2/5 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, the 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 fighting
alongside 51st Highland Division, was evacuated from Cherbourg.
Meanwhile 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
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
The 1/5th Battalion after
a year in England sailed for the Far East and arrived in Singapore on 29th
January 1942 just prior to its capture by the Japanese.
As a result of those early
defeats, many Foresters spent long years in captivity. Those of the 1/5th
Battalion suffered particularly badly at the hands of the Japanese while
working on the now 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 to 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 and both
became jungle-training units, providing officers and men for the 14th Army's
campaign in Burma. The 8th Battalion after retraining in Northern Ireland and
a period on defence of the Southeast coast of England was converted to a pre-OCTU
at Wrotham, where it gave valuable service in training large numbers of
The 6th and 7th (Robin
Hoods) Battalions in their respective antiaircraft roles as 40th SL Regt
(later 149th LAA Regt) RA and 42nd SL Regt RA did their share in the Air
Defence of the UK and then later operating in N.W. Europe. The Robin Hoods
were awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre.
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 Capt. J. H. C. Brunt MC, who at the time was serving with the 6th
Bn The Lincolnshire Regiment. Some 400 other Foresters received awards for
gallantry and outstanding War service.
Post World War 2 (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 further short period following the Korean
War, the 2nd Battalion was reactivated (1952-1955). 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 tracked
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 UK in 1961.
In December 1963 following
an emergency over-Christmas move to Cyprus, the Battalion found itself in a
United Nations peace keeping role once again keeping the Turks and Greeks
apart. In 1964 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 in turn bestowed their 'Freedom' on the Regiment
further cementing ties with their County Regiment.
The wartime system of
conscription was continued through to the early sixties with national
servicemen augmenting the soldiers of the peacetime Regular Army. The national
servicemen served for 2 years with the Regular Army and then a further 2 years
with the Territorial Army. Many however became TA Volunteers.
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 Hood) Battalions continued in the form of 575 (The Sherwood Foresters)
LAA Regt RA and the 350 (The 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
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 Midland Brigade; this was renamed the Forester
Brigade in 1958 when the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment 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, Derby,
became an outstation of the Brigade Depot at Leicester and finally closed in
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 A new common cap badge was introduced but regiments
reverted to their old buttons.
The grouping was again
changed in 1969; regimental cap badges were restored and The Sherwood
Foresters found themselves in the present Prince of Wales's Division whose HQ
and Depot is at Lichfield.
and Sherwood Foresters Regiment
On 28th February 1970, The
Sherwood Foresters amalgamated with the Worcestershire Regiment to form The
Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (29th/45th Foot).
The Regiment is honoured
to have HRH The Princess Anne as its Colonel in Chief. The active part of the
Regiment consisted of one Regular Battalion (1 WFR), two Territorial Army
Battalions (3 & 4 WFR) and a small administrative Regimental Headquarters.
The 1st Battalion was formed by amalgamating the 1st Battalions of the former
Regiments, who incidentally served alongside each other in 24 Infantry Brigade
throughout the 1914-18 War. 4 WFR was disbanded in 1991.
Headquarters is located in Worcester. There are Regimental displays in the
civic museums of Worcester, Nottingham, Derby and Newark.
The Regimental Journal of
the new Regiment is called 'Firm and Forester' thus perpetuating the name of
the original Regimental Magazines; it is published twice a year.
The First Battalion
Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters
The Regular Battalion has
served with distinction on UN postings in Cyprus and latterly the Former
Yougoslavia, as well as active service in Northern Ireland.
The Battalion has an
ongoing reputation for success in Skill At Arms Competitions.
The Third Battalion
Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters
The 3rd (Volunteer)
Battalion, consisting of part time soldiers from Nottingham and Derbyshire,
was a direct successor to the former 139 Forester Brigade; it was based on the
5th/8th Bn The Sherwood Foresters (TA).
In 1991 a defence review
cut the battalion from 6 infantry companies to 3.
A Defence review was
initiated in 1997, attempting to make the Territorial Army reflect its
envisaged role within the Army’s order of battle. On 1 June 1999,
following a parade in April that saw the best foot drill the Battalion had
ever carried out (in the authors opinion), 3 WFR was disbanded. One company
remains as part of The East of England Regiment, keeping its beret in a sea of
Royal Anglian ones.
Members of the 95th
Regiment of Foot acquired Derby 1 at the siege of Kotah during The Indian
Mutiny 1858. He did, however, have one predecessor, a ram presented to the
95th by the Raja of Travancore in 1838. 'Derby 1' accompanied the Regiment
during the remainder of the campaign in Central India. He fought 33
battles with other rams and was never defeated; he marched over 3,000 miles
with the 95th and was present in six actions.
He received, with the rest of the Regiment, the India Medal with Clasp
"Central India". This medal can be seen in the Regimental Museum at
Nottingham Castle and a replica is worn by his successor on ceremonial
The ram mascots have traditionally been named Derby and are numbered
consecutively. In recent years the Duke of Devonshire has presented them all.
Derby enjoys a 6-week period of leave every year at the Duke of Devonshire's
estate - Chatsworth House - in a field of ewes!
Since the amalgamation with the Worcestershire Regiment, 'Derby' has become
the official mascot of The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment and
normally serves with the 1st Battalion.
Once a Ram is retired, he returns to Chatsworth to live out his days on the
Derby normally has 2 handlers - a Ram Sergeant and a Ram Orderly. The Ram
Sergeant is entitled to a jumper made from the sheared coat of Derby. It is
not a thing of great beauty, but is worn with pride.
Legend has it that Derby's second handler was introduced after a battle with
the Irish Guard's mascot, an Irish Wolf Hound, which was embarrassing for all
and fatal for the dog.
Derby has the rank of Lance Corporal and draws his pay in the form of sweets
and other luxuries.