Category Archives: Soldiers

2190 Pte Walter Edward Lamb from Chapel-en-le-Frith

A pre-War Territorial who originally served with ‘H’ (Whaley Bridge, New Mills and Hayfield) Company and arrived in France in February 1915 with ‘B’ (Whaley and Chapel) Company. Wounded by a shell explosion in Ypres on 4th July 1915. Discharged due to wounds in May 1916.

The casualties numbered thirty-two; nine men were killed or died of their wounds and another 23 were wounded. 

On 4th July a routine fatigue party 200 strong and under the command of Captain Edgar Heathcote marched to the front line, but came under heavy shellfire on the return journey:-

“On the Saturday night we went up to the lines on fatigue, and travelled up a long way in motor lorries; it was quite an exciting journey for us after we left the lorries to march through Ypres, especially as for many of us it was the first experience of the war. Fritz was sending over a few gas shells and we were all sneezing and rubbing our eyes. We drew spades and set off after a short rest, landed at the work, finished off fairly quickly and started for home – home consisting of bivvies made from water-proof sheets, and some of us hadn’t even got those. We had a pretty rough journey coming through Ypres, had just downed tools and started the march towards the houses, when Fritz began shelling; of course he managed to get a lucky shot right in the middle of us, killing and wounding about half the party, many of whom had not yet even seen the trenches”.

[Battalion History]

See here

4471/241528 Frederick George Hall

Enlisted in August 1915 and served with the 1/6th and 1st Battalions

Victory Medal
Medal Index Card
Medal Roll

Frederick enlisted into the 3/6th (or 2/6th) Battalion in August 1915 and was subsequently posted to the 1/6th Battalion. He was not awarded a 14-15 Star so probably arrived in France in 1916. He was still serving with the 1/6th Battalion at the time of the Territorial Force renumbering in spring 1917. At some time (and for reasons unknown) he was transferred to the 1st Battalion. He survived the War.

268073 Pte Frederick Albert Surman from London

One of the ‘London recruits’, but did he serve with the 1/6th or 2/6th Battalion……..

Victory and British War Medals
Medal Index Card

Frederick was born in Fulham in 1898 and was one of the ‘Londoners’ that were posted to the Sherwood Foresters Battalions of the 178th Brigade, 59th Division in September 1916.

Medal Roll

He originally served with the 2/7th Battalion because in Spring 1917 he was issued with a number allocated to the 7th Battalion (265001 – 305000). However, the medal roll shows that he was transferred to the 2/6th Battalion and then the 2nd Battalion before finally ending up in the Middlesex Regiment.

31 Ambulance Train 25th October 1917

In October 1917 Frederick suffered a shell wound to the right leg and was transported on the 31 Ambulance Train from Brauy to Commines. At this point he is recored as serving with ‘B’ Company in the 2/6th Battalion.

1/6 Battalion War Diary 19th-28th October 1917
2/6th Battalion War Diary 25th-31st October 1917

At the time of his wounding only the 2/6th Battalion was occupying front line trenches and recorded 11 other ranks wounded during their 5 days in the front line.

5427/70266 A/Sergeant James Nye from Guildford

A 1916 recruit who served in France with the 1/6th and 17th Battalions

BWM and VM

James Nye enlisted into the 3/6th Sherwoods Foresters at Chesterfield in April 1916. James was a 36 year old farm labourer from Arlington near Guildford. His enrolment was approved by Captain Swann.

Statement of Service

Following training with the 6th Reserve Battalion James was transferred to the 1/6th Battalion and proceeded overseas to the 8th Entrenching Battalion in France. James was later posted to the 17th Battalion (The Wellbeck Rangers) on the 9th September 1916 with approximately 100 other men who were all renumbered from 70211 to 70312. This reinforcement was to make up for losses suffered by the 17th Battalion during their attack on Beaumont Hamel.

[Regimental numbers 70001 to ~71177 was a numbering systems employed by the Sherwood Foresters to move men from the Territorial Battalions to the Regular and Service Battalion between September and November 1916]

War Diary entry for Wellback Rangers recording the casualty figures for the attack on Beaumont Hamel
Drafts of men posted to the 17th Battalion in early September

James served in France with the 17th Battalion until he was posted home on the 22nd February 1917 suffering from rheumatism. After time spent at the Command Depot (possibly at Ballyvonare, County Cork) he was posted to the 3rd Battalion and then discharged in October 1917.

Report of the Medical Board held at Strensall
Military Service
Silver War Badge
SWB Roll

118815 Private Harry Watson and the 118*** series of Regimental numbers…….

A recent purchase that I am very happy with because I believe the recipient – 118815 Pte Harry Watson – has a special tale to tell in the story of the 1/6th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters.

Harry was issued the Regimental Number of 118815, which were numbers issued to conscripted men posted to the 3rd/4th and 5th/7th (Reserve) Battalions for training in early summer 1918.

The 118*** Series of Regimental Numbers

From studying surviving service records we can draw some broad conclusions:-

Men numbered between 118044 (Pte William Walters) and 118239 (Pte Sidney Nunn) were posted to the 3rd or 4th Battalions between 25th and 29th May 1918. Following training these men arrived in France in Sept/Oct 1918.

Men numbered between 118272 (Pte Charles Leedel) and 118287 (Pte Street) were posted to the 5th Reserve Battalion at Saltfleet on the 28th and 29th May 1918. Following training these men arrived in France in Sept/Oct 1918.

Men numbered between 118431 (Pte Hartwell) and 118547 (Pte Walker) were posted to the 3rd Battalion at Sunderland between on the 12th and 13th June 1918. Following training these men arrived in France on 4th Oct 1918.

Men numbered between 118785 (Pte McLocklin) and 118889 (Pte Hand) were posted to the 5th and 7th Reserve Battalions at Saltfleet between 18th and 20th June 1918. Following training these men arrived in France in mid Oct 1918.

Medal Roll of 118815 Harry Watson

From his service number of 118215 we can surmise that Harry Watson was posted to either the 5th or 7th Reserve Battalions in mid June 1918 and was highly likely to have arrived in France and posted to the 1/6th Battalion in October 1918.

And why is that important?……..It would make Harry one of the last reinforcements to join the 1/6th Battalion, most likely to replace losses following the storming of the Hindenburg Line.

Note: On the medal roll there is no longer a distinction between the 1/6th and 2/6th Battalions, the latter of which had been finally disbanded on 31st July 1918.

103039 Pte Frederick Blaydon – one of the ‘Bedfordshire Lads’………

Sherwood Foresters Cap Badge

Unfortunately, I carelessly let this Medal Pair ‘get away from me’ on a well known internet auction site last night, but I thought that I would still try to piece together Frederick’s story.

Frederick was one of approximately 112 men who were transferred to the 2/6th Battalion, the Sherwood Foresters from the Bedfordshire Regiment and issued the new Regimental numbers running from 103024 (Herbert Meekins) to 103137 (George Webster). Many of these men had previously been numbered with a post-1917 6-digit Bedfordshire Territorial Force Regimental number (see below).

Section of the Sherwood Forester Medal Roll showing the transfer of Men from the Bedfordshire Regiment to the 2/6th Battalion.

But when and why did this transfer happen?

Fortunately the Service Records of at least two of this group of 112 men still exist:

103035 Pte John Male from Bath (see above).

103065 Pte Horace Crowle from Cornwall.

Casualty Form – Active service for 204038 Pte John Male
Casualty Form – Active Service for 103035 Pte John Male
Casualty Form – Active Service for 103065 Pte Horace Crowie

These documents confirm that Pte John Male and Pte Horace Crowle – and by inference Pte Frederick Blaydon – were posted to the 5th Reserve Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment, before proceeding to France from Folkestone on the 28th March 1918.

They arrived at “L” Infantry Base Depot and were transferred to the 2/6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters on the 31st March 1918. This transfer was due to the losses suffered by the 2/6th Battalion (178th Bde, 59th Division) on the 21st March 1918 during the German Spring Offensive.

Neither John Male or Horace Cowle would survive the month

59th Division Casualties for April 1918

John Male was killed in action with B Company, 2/6th Battalion on the 16th April aged 48. He was the Son of Mr and Mrs Male of 13, Maytree Rd., Bitterne, Southampton. John’s body was exhumed near Kemmel Hall in July 1919 and he is now buried in La Clytte Military Cemetery.

Mount Kemmel – John’s body was found at 19 D, near to Kemmel Hall

Horace Cowle served with B Company and was listed as ‘missing in action’ during the defence of Kemmel on the 18th April 1918 aged 19. He was the son of Mr and Mrs Crowle of 1 Chapel Terrace, St. Blazey, Cornwall. Horace is commemorated on The Ploegsteert Memorial.

Horace had enlisted underage in November 1915. He arrived in France in December 1916 and was posted to the 1st Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. However, in January 1917 he was returned to England.

Frederick Blaydon was later transferred to the 1/6th Battalion when the 2/6th was reduced to Cadre in May 1918 and survived the War.

‘Kriegsgefangenen-Sendung’ from 70107 Pte George Wealthall of Nottingham

George was posted to the 16th Battalion, the Chatsworth Rifles with 125 other men in early Sept 1916. These men were issued with the Regimental numbers 70052 to 70177.

In 1916 this numbering system was used to transfer men from the Territorial Battalions of the Sherwood Foresters to the Regular and Service Battalions under Army Order 204/A.C.I. 1499.

George was captured at Thiepval on 9th October during the attack on the SCHWABEN REDOUBT.

War Diary of the Chatsworth Rifles
Trench Map showing Schwaben Redoubt
The Schwaben Redoubt (Art.IWM ART 3000) image: A view across to a redoubt, with shattered trees and wide craters pocking the chalky soil. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

George was interned in Giessen POW Camp when he sent this card.

Undated sick and wounded list with two original* members of the 6th Battalion……

*By ‘original’ I mean before Conscription started and they were issued with Territorial Force Regimental numbers

Undated sick and wounded list

240627 Sergeant Joseph Hughes

Joseph Hughes was a print works labourer from Birch Vale, near New Mills in Derbyshire. Joseph married Sarah and they had three girls; Dorothy (b 1907), Annie (b 1908) and Gertrude (b 1910). He enlisted in October 1914 and most likely arrived in France with the 2/6th Battalion in February 1917. He only served overseas with the 2/6th Battalion. According to the sick list (above) he suffered from slight myalgia (muscle aches and pains).

Limburg Camp Record
Joseph’s record recording his wounding

Joseph was later captured on the 4th December 1917 during the Battle of Cambrai and interned in Limburg POW Camp.

Silver War Badge Roll

Joseph was discharged in May 1915 aged 32 and received a pension.

2/6th Battalion Reunion held at Bakewell in 1935

It is possible that Joseph attended the reunions of the 2/6th Battalion held in Bakewell during the 1930s. Joseph died in July 1963.

241979 Sergeant Percy Walker

Medal Index Card
Medal Role

Percy Walker enlisted in July 1916 and was posted to the 1/6th Battalion in France in August 1916 according to his Medal Index Card. He would later serve with the 15th Battalion and was wounded (GW) with VI(I) [gunshot wound of back and spine (simple flesh contusions and wounds)] and IX(I) [gunshot wounds of lower extremities (simple flesh contusions and wounds)] – see ‘wounded and sick’ list above.

Record of the 31 Ambulance Train for May 1917

The undated ‘sick and wounded list’ ties in with the 7th-12th May 1917 record of the 31 Ambulance Train (above), which conveyed Percy Walker from Nesle to Rouen on the 12th-13th May 1917. Note: from April to June 1917 Nesle was the site of No. 21 Casualty Clearing Station.

15th Battalion War Diary – May 1917

At the time of his wounding the 15th Battalion were holding the front line and support trenches.

King’s Certificate of Discharge for Percy Walker (authors collection)

Percy was discharged in January 1918 aged 35 years and was awarded a Silver War Badge and a King’s Certificate of Discharge. He also received a pension.

100055 Pte Samuel Atkinson

100055 Pte Samuel Atkinson

Samuel was born in Essex in 1899 to Samuel Arthur and Annie Louisa in 1899 and was one of four siblings. In 1911 the family was living at 7 Nettleham Road in Lincoln.

Samuel enlisted into the 2/1 Derbyshire Yeomanry in September 1916 aged 18 at which time he was a Bank Clerk. He was examined by the medical board on 15th February 1917 when he was passed fit for military service.

1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters

Service Record for 100055 Pte Samuel Atkinson

Following basic training Samuel embarked from Folkestone on Christmas Eve 1917 and going ‘K’ Infantry Base Depot, where he was transferred to the 2/7th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (for record purposes). Samuel was amongst a number of soldiers who at that time were transferred to the Sherwood Foresters from the Derbyshire Yeomanry and Nottinghamshire Yeomanry (Sherwood Rangers).

Samuel served was transferred the 1st Battalion on the 29th December and served with them until his wounding in May 1918.

On 27th May 1918 the 1st Battalion were engaged in the front line trenches:-

“1 a.m. Enemy barrage opened. VENTELAY neighbourhood + transport lines gassed. About 4.30 a.m. Battalion ordered forward to AISNE LINE……casualties heavy”

Samuel suffered a severe gun shot wound to the head and was admitted to the 11th Stationary Hospital in Rouen.

Service Record for 100055 Pte Samuel Atkinson

1/5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters

Following his recovery Samuel was sent to ‘D’ Infantry Base Depot and then posted to the 1/5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters on July 14th 1918.

1/5th Reinforcements – July 1918

Samuel was one of 130 men that were posted to the 1/5th Battalion in July 1915.

Service Record for 100055 Pte Samuel Atkinson

Samuel was wounded a second time on the 22nd July 1918 whilst the Battalion was holding front line trenches in the ESSARS Sector and were raided by the Germans.

1/5th Battalion casualties – July 1918

Samuel was on of 30 men of the 1/5th Battalion who were wounded in July 1918, he appears to have remained ‘at duty’.

Storming the Hindenburg Line

1/5th Battalion War Diary October 1915.

Samuel died of his wounds on the 3rd October 1918 as the 1/5th Battalion were attacking the villages of Ramicourt and Montbrehain.

“Killed in action or died of wounds on or since 3.10.18. Body buried by Rev M H ?? and 32 MGC 11.10.18”

Magny La Fosse Map
Magny La Fosse burial record

Samual was originally buried in Magny La Fosse Churchyard Extension [62b. H.25. a.9.2.] alongside 14077 Driver Arthur Johnson from Kiverton Park near Sheffield.

MAGNY-LA-FOSSE CHURCHYARD EXTENSION was made by an Advanced Dressing Station in October 1918, and contained the graves of seven soldiers from the United Kingdom and one from Australia and three men of the Chinese Labour Corps.

In 1924 Samual and Arthur’s bodies were exhumed and they were reburied in Tincourt Cemetery.

103122 Sydney Charles Noble

Sydney Charles Noble is typical of the men that were posted to the 2/6th Battalion after their decimation on the 21st March 1918.

Sydney was 28 and a resident of London. He was a newspaper printer at the ‘Times’.

He attested in March 1916 and was mobilised the following year and posted to the 43rd Training Reserve Battalion.

After 8 months training he was transferred to the 3rd Battalion Bedford Regiment at Felixstowe in November 1917.

Sydney arrived in France in March 1918 and was posted to L Infantry Base Depot.

He was transferred to the 2/6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters on the 30th March 1918 and joined C Company ‘in the field’ on 3rd April 1918.

He fought with the 2/6th Battalion during the Battle for Kemmel Hill (14-20 April) were the re-formed 59thDivision suffered terrible casualties; 2363 Officers and men killed, wounded of missing.

Sidney was posted to K Infantry base on 7th May when the 2/6th Battalion was reduced to Cadre and transferred to the 16th Lancashire Fusiliers (2nd Salford Pals) on the 5th July along with 52 other men from the 2/6th.

He was gassed on the 25th August 1918 and admitted to 9th General Hospital Rouen before being transferred to England on HMS St Patrick.

“Whilst this action coast the 16th Lancashire Fusiliers few casualties, two days later [25th August] the still inexperienced men were subjected to a devastatingly heavy mustard-gas shelling, which left 15 Officers and 429 men as casualties”

[Salford Pals by Michael Steadman]

Sydney spent 56 days in the Military Hospital at Parkhust and 72 days in the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester.

He was finally discharged from Hospital in March 1918.