For the last (too many) years I have been compiling a Nominal Roll of the 1/6th, 2/6th and 3/6th Battalions from 1908 to 1918.
It currently comprises of over 5000 men and includes the service records of over 1500 men (18,000 pages in total!).
The names of 976 men that sailed to France with the 1/6th battalion in February 1915 can be found on this page.
Until the beginning of 1917 each man in a Territorial Force unit (such as an infantry Battalion) was numbered using a scheme that was unique to that unit. In the case of the 6/Sherwood Foresters the number 1 was allocated to the first man to join the unit on its formation in 1908 (WN Broomhead) and successive numbering continued from there. This Battalion numbering would have been performed in the first instance by the Battalion staff of the 1/6th Battalion, and then subsequently by the staff of the 2/6th Reserve Battalion on its formation in September 1914 and then by the 3/6th Reserve Battalion (formed March 1915) as new recruits joined from 1914-15 onwards.
This Nominal Roll was assembled by using the 1917 renumbering of the Territorial Force to develop an initial framework and then supplementing this with information from various Nominal Rolls, Army Service Records, Medal Index Cards (MIC), Battalion War Diary, Battalion History and local newspapers.
The 5th Battalion History records that in March 1917; “A very big undertaking was now in progress, viz., the changing of the regimental numbers of the men of the whole Battalion, involving not only the Orderly Room in checking rolls, but the marking and issue of new identity Discs, the destruction of the old, and entries in pay books – and this with a fluctuating ‘population’.”
Each of the four Battalions comprising the 139th (Sherwood Foresters) Brigade was allotted specific blocks of regimental numbers.
|Battalion||Number start||Number finish|
|5th Battalion (Derby)||200001||240000|
|6th Battalion (Derbyshire)||240001||265000|
|7th Battalion (Nottingham)||265001||305000|
|8th Battalion (Nottinghamshire)||305001||330000|
|21st Home service personal||330001||355000|
The 6th Battalion was allocated the series 240001 to 265000 and by using the medal index cards available at the Public Record Office to compare these numbers to the original 3 and 4 digit pre-1917 regimental numbers it is clear that in the vast majority of cases the re-numbering followed the order of the original regimental numbers (see Table 2). This consecutive numbering of the men would suggest that the nominal rolls were drawn up in the Battalion Headquarters (or home station), in the case of the 6th Battalion this would have been Chesterfield, and then forwarded to the orderly room of each Battalion in France.
|Soldiers name||Rank||Original number||New number||Arrival and Disembarkation in France|
|Hubert Bacon||Sergeant||812||240064||Arrived F & F 28.2.15; Disemb 21.3.19|
|Peter Bond||Private||815||240065||Arrived F & F 28.2.15; d/w 6.6.17|
|William Burrows||Corporal||816||240066||Arrived F & F 28.2.15; Disemb 2.4.19|
|Richard Large||Corporal||825||240067||Arrived F & F 28.2.15; Disemb 27.2.19|
|Frederick Robinson||Corporal||828||240068||Arrived F & F 28.2.15; Disemb 24.2.19|
However, it is clear that there are many discrepancies in the re-numbering of the Battalion. These are either missing ‘original numbers’ or unassigned ‘new numbers’. Although some of these Discrepancies may have occurred through administrative errors or even lost medal index cards it is more likely that men were attested but then subsequently deemed medically unfit and discharged from service. Furthermore, it is clear from the records that there were a number of transfers to other Regiments and/or Corps, most notable of these was Machine Gun Corps (MGC).
It is noted in several Battalion Histories that at the end of 1916 the men in the Brigade Machine Gun Company were transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and struck off strength. Earlier in the year these men had transferred from the Battalion Machine Gun section to the Brigade MG Company. For example, on 16th February Lt GF Gardiner, 2/Lt Grimshaw and 35 other ranks joined the 139th Brigade Machine Gun Company. These men were issued new MGC numbers in the range 24230-24239
Several other transfers are noteworthy
- Many men from the 2/6th Battalion joined the 24th London Regiment in early 1918.
- Many men from the 1/Derbyshire Yeomanry joined the 6th Battn in December 1917.
Even with these potential areas for error it is still possible to derive a fairly comprehensive list of the’ pre-War Territorials’ that sailed with the 6th Sherwood Foresters in February 1915 and the subsequent drafts of reinforcements in the summer and autumn of 1915.
Assignment of numbers 1908-1916
Overview of numbering systems used
Hi, Do you have anything on a William Edward Gower, originally Notts & Derby 13th Trg Bn, then commisioned to a Bn in the Ypres Salient, in trenches at Plugstreet Wood around June 1916. He later transferred to the RFC and in 1917 was awarded the MC.
Harry, sorry can’t find any reference to him. Have you tried the Regimental Archivist? cheers Mike
My great-uncle Alfred Hollinshead joined the 1st/6th Sherwood Foresters in June 1911 and was allocated the number 1437. My grandfather Frank Hollinshead joined the 1/6th Sherwood Foresters and was allocated the number 1987, but have no joining date. Do you have information on the approximate date of joining or can it be estimated? Frank Hollinshead was later allocated the number 240358, Alfred was killed in action in September 1915. Both names are sometimes misspelt in available records as Hollingshead.
Thanks for your message
1987 Frank attested/enlisted on 12th/13th June 1913 and arrived in France on the 28th Feb 1915. Wounded at Kemmel on the 19th May at the same time as Alfred (see the Kemmel Page – Sorry I spelt the names wrong too!)
1437 Alfred attested/enlisted on 6th June 1911 and arrived in France on the 28th Feb 1915. Alfred enlisted with 4 other men from Ashbourne on the same day; Fred Chell, James Gallimore, Charles Needham and William Spencer.
Both Alfred and Frank served in C Company at the time of their wounding.
I don’t suppose that you have any photos of Frank and Alfred that you would be willing to share on the web site?
Many thanks for your expeditious response.
I just wish I had found the website long before I actually did. When did you set it up?
With regards to photographs of my two relatives I must admit that I have none of either taken during the war, and only a couple of my grandfather taken in the 1920s when he enlisted in the Regular Army.
I can give you the title and authors’ names of two books local to Ashbourne that DO have photos of them, if you so wish, as I assume they acquired them “somewhere” and they may well have a good copy and/or access to the originals.
My grandfather, Frank William, was awarded a MM for action of 3rd October 1918 (Battle of Beaurevoir??). Our family does not appear to have a citation, nor could I find one in the (London ) Gazette; there again I probably looked in the wrong place or inserted incorrect search words! I would imagine that you have all this detail to support your very comprehensive website. Any suggestions?
In the possession of my cousin (who happens to live in Spain!) is a congratulatory certificate dated 29 April 1919 and signed by the Duke of Devonshire and presented by the Territorial Force Association of the County of Derby. Details of soldier shown as 240358 Private F. Hollinshead 1/6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters Military Medal. Is it likely that he was presented with his medal on this day? If not, when would have it been presented to him? I do have a full size copy of this certificate if would be of any use to the website.
Once again many thanks for the information on my two relatives.
If there is any way I can contribute to your website, please let me know.
I’m desperately looking for any picture of my great grand-father, his name was Alfred Green, he was from Stapleford, Notts, Private #108537, 57th Coy, Machine Gun Corps, died 13th December 1917 in France on the western front probably during the Battle of Cambrai because he is buried in Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt. Never saw any picture of him, would like to find one…
Thanks for your message, but unfortunately I’m not really able to help very much. It’s possible that he will have been mentioned in one of the local Nottinghamshire papers at the time and there may be a photograph of him. I notice from your email that you probably live in France so won’t be able to get to Nottingham too easily. It might be a good idea to join the ‘great war forum’ – you can goggle it – and ask if someone local to Nottingham can look in the december ’17/jan-feb ’18 issues of local papers. Alternatively try contacting the local studies section of the local library (email@example.com) who may be able to help. cheers mike
my grandfather was alfreds elder brother his name is john green 6th battalion Leicestershire regiment 34494 also killed may 1918 near reims he worked on the railway as well .would be nice to get in touch john pinhorn
Really excited to find this site! My grandfather Frederick William Wood, 241748, from Ashbourne, enlisted 18th November 1915 and fought in Dublin and France before being “dangerously wounded” on 28th June 1917. Do you have any more nominal rolls? after years of searching I have only just been able to find out his battalion (2/6th Sherwood Foresters) so am very keen to find out more.
Andy, thanks for your message and glad that you like the site. With regards to your g/father Frederick – all that I can add is that his original 4-digit number would have been 4838 and that he enlisted/attested as part of the ‘Derby Scheme’ and that we has mobilised on the 4th February 1916 – so was definitely one of the ‘untrained men’ that fought in Dublin Easter 1916. With regards to a nominal roll – I have approx 4000 men listed that served in the 6th Battalion – so that is 1/6th, 2/6th and 3/6th. Its an old version of excel but I can extract most information that I need (given time). What specifically would you like to know? Cheers Mike
Thanks Mike. I’m trying to find out more about his time in Dublin (and have been unable to find a copy of the Edmunds book) , plus I’m trying to find out more about the action in which he was wounded.. Do you have anything which would give his company number?
Andy, I can’t help with the Company number, but I will try to email you a copy of the Edmunds book and also War Dairy for June 1917 later today.
I am looking for information on a John Lee of 2/6 Battalion. I know from a newspaper article that he served in the 1916 Easter uprising and then France. I have found a john Lee no 240811 of the 2/6 and 1/6 Battalions on the medal rolls. I wondered if you may know which company or companies he was in.
Hello Ken. 240811 John Lee is the only man that I have listed also. Enlisted on the 16th/17th October 1914 and his 4-digit number may have been 2939. Arrived in France with 2/6th Battalion in February 1917. Not sure why/when he moved to the 1st Battalion. May he was wounded and transferred after hospital or after the 2/6th Battn was disbanded in the summer 1918. Sorry – I don’t know what Company he was in – what town/village did he come from? cheers Mike
He was from the Eckington./ Mosborough area.
My Grand father was in the Notts & Derby regiment but not sure what Bn or where in France he served. His number was 108543 which was issued around Apr – jun 1908. But in the 1911 census he was running a pub in London. His Medals do not show any 4 digit number only his 6 digit number and the regiment. His Military records seem to have been destroyed during the bombing in WW2. Can you help as I have been told he may have been part of the 1/5 Bn which served in France from 1914 to 1918. have his medal card but it dose not show his Bn.
Hello Paul – thanks for message. Yes, Edward Foster Swainson served in France with the 1/5th Battalion. His number 108543 was issued around April 1918 so he would have seen fighting with the 1/5th during the last 6 months or so of the War, cheers Mike.
2152 Private Harold Chapman, D Company, 1/6 Batallion, Notts and Derby Sherwood Forester’s Regiment
First served in France 25 Feb 1915
Killed in Action 30 September 1915
Harold was a distant relative of my wife. I have a photo of him, a photo of his grave and letter from his commanding officer sent to his parents after his death. Any information would be gratefully received.
Hi, do you have any information on James William Henry. He was in the 2/6th battalion, and was discharged as medically unfit June 17th at Curragh Camp? Any information would be great – he was my 2nd great uncle.
Yes – by luck his service records have survived. I will email on to you later today. Cheers Mike.
Basically mobilised in Jan 1916, went to Ireland and then discharged June 1916.
Finally found someone that might be able to get me any information about my geat grandad Hubert Bacon . Thanks in advance Andy Bacon
I am trying to find information on my Grandad, Mark Beardsley who served in the Notts and Derbyshire regiment. I found his medal index card and Silver War Badge records on Ancestry. He was 200911 Pte Mark Beardsley. The SWB record says he served overseas but the medal index card only states a Victory and British medal. Any further info would be lovely thanks.
Morning Sandy, thanks for your message. Yes Mark served in France with the 2/5th and 2nd Battalions. He most likely arrived in France with the 2/5th Battalion in February 1917 and therefore is entitled to the Victory and War Medal (but not the 14-15 Star). On the SWB records he was discharged due to XVIa, which means ‘surplus to military requirement (having suffered impairment since entry into the service’. His pension record states that he suffered a GSW (gun shot wound) to his lower arm, which was probably why he was transferred to 2nd Battalion after recovering in hospital. Hope that helps, best wishes Mike.
That information is so useful, Mike. I applied for replicas of his medals but when I received a replica Silver War Badge it had someone else’s number stamped on the back. I have telephoned a few places that supply a replica SWB and they all say they are cast from an original so will have someone else’s number on the back. They can’t even seem to be able (or don’t want) to scratch out the number and restamp my Grandad’s number on the back. There seems little point having a replica of someone else’s badge to pass down through the family. Do you know of anywhere who would either supply me with a blank replica badge or at least one with the number deleted so I can get my Grandad’s number stamped on it. Thanks.
Hi Sandy – sorry, but I don’t know where you could get an unnumbered SWB – have you tried eBay? they certainly have medals with the numbers removed, cheers Mike
Hi Mike, yes I’ve tried Ebay but it seems they are all ‘pre-owned’ and therefore numbered. I wonder what they are made of and whether it is possible to get somewhere to stamp / engrave my Grandad’s number on the back.
Hi Sandy – I’ll have a look at one of my SWB later today and see what’s possible – but I would imagine you could easily file down the number and then re-engrave, cheers Mike
Hi Sandy, I’ve had a look at my SWB and the numbers are stamped on, but not very deeply. I would image it would be easy to file off on a replica and get his number engraved, cheers Mike
Thanks Mike. I’ll do that.