Last updated: 21 November 2013
The Sherwood Foresters was a regiment set up in 1881 during the Childers Reforms of the British Army. It merged the rifle volunteer and militia units of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire with two regular regiments, the 45th (Nottinghamshire) (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment of Foot and the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot, with the regular regiments becoming 1st and 2nd Battalions of the new unit.
2nd Battalion was then immediately deployed to Egypt for the 1882 conflict there, then to the North West Frontier, where it took part in the Tirah Expedition and won its first Victoria Cross on the Heights of Dargai. In contrast, 1st Battalion was put on garrison duty in Ireland for the first 12 years of its life, until being sent to the Boer War in 1899.
Both battalions redeployed back to England on the outbreak of the First World War and during the course of the conflict raised 13 battalions for home service and 20 for foreign service. These fought in Gallipoli and Italy as well as the Western Front, gaining 57 battle honours.
Used during the interwar period as occupation and garrison troops, they were back in action in Norway, northern France and North Africa in the early years of the Second World War. Its whole 2nd Battalion was captured at Tobruk in June 1942 and 16th Battalion was renamed to replace it. However, this and the regiment’s other battalions went on to serve in Sicily, Italy, Singapore and Malaya. Forester volunteers joined both the Chindits and the Commandos - some of them were part of 4 Commando when it became the first British unit to land on Sword Beach on D-Day.
The regiment returned to occupation duties in Germany during the post-war period, though fought in Malaya in 1958 and in Cyprus in 1960. They also deployed to Northern Ireland from 1963 to 1966, before a final spell in Germany before returning to England in 1970, where they were amalgamated with The Worcestershire Regiment to form The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (29th/45th Foot).