The Sherwood Foresters was formed in 1881 during the Childers Reforms of the British Army. The rifle volunteer and militia units of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire were merged with two regular regiments, the 45th (Nottinghamshire) (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment of Foot and the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot. The regular regiments became the new unit's 1st and 2nd Battalions.
Immediately after formation, 2nd Battalion was deployed to Egypt for the 1882 conflict there. It then went 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, before being sent to the Boer War in 1899.
Both battalions redeployed back to England on the outbreak of the First World War. During the conflict, the regiment raised 13 battalions for home service and 20 for foreign service. These fought in Gallipoli and Italy as well as on the Western Front, gaining 57 battle honours.
Used during the interwar period as occupation and garrison troops, both battalions were back in action in Norway, France and North Africa in the early years of the Second World War. 2nd Battalion was captured at Tobruk in June 1942 and 16th Battalion was renamed to replace it. Along with the regiment’s other 10 Territorial and hostilities-only battalions, it went on to serve at home, in Sicily, Italy, Singapore and Malaya.
Members of 18th Battalion were captured at Singapore in 1942 and forced by the Japanese to labour on the notorious Thai-Burma 'death' railway.
In 1970, the regiment was amalgamated with The Worcestershire Regiment to form The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (29th/45th Foot). Its traditions are now continued by 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters).
The National Army Museum works together with Regimental and Corps Museums across the country to help provide a network of military museums for everyone to visit and enjoy.
Explore the history and collections of the Sherwood Foresters by visiting the Museum of the Mercian Regiment at Nottingham Castle, and Derby Museum and Art Gallery.