Chesterfield Sherwoods on the Somme
1st July - 18th November 1916
This is the story of the men of Chesterfield who served and died
with Battalions of the Sherwood Forester Regiment
during the Battle of the Somme
"We cannot look back with anything but regret on that awful battle, when so many lives were sacrificed apparently to no purpose. July 1st is not our happiest of days"
[Captain W.C.C. Wheetman, 1/8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters]
"I see by your grave stone that you were only 19, when you joined the great falling in 1916"
"I hope you died well and I hope you died clean, or young Willie McBride was it slow and obscene"
[ "No Man's Land (The Green Fields Of France) " by Eric Bogle ]
This site does not glorify war. Instead it acts as a memorial to the men of Chesterfield and the surrounding districts of North Derbyshire, who went to the battlefields of France and Flanders with battalions of the local regiment - never to return.
The idea for this WEB site evolved during the spring of 2000. It is not my intention to re-assess the military operations of the Sherwood Forester Battalions on the Somme, there are plenty of qualified accounts of these actions. Instead I want to concentrate on the individual soldiers who took part and subsequently died in that terrible bloodbath of 1916. Specifically, who were they, where did they come from, what role did they play in the battle and is their sacrifice commemorated on one of the numerous village memorials to be found across Derbyshire.
During 1914-18 countless men from Chesterfield and the surrounding towns and villages answered 'the call'. Many of these enlisted in battalions of the local regiment, The Nottingham and Derbyshire Regiment (Sherwood Foresters), which raised 32 battalions during the Great War.
By the end of the war there was hardly a family or village that had not suffered a loss and the Battle of the Somme supplied many of these casualties. One only has to remember Tom and Stanley Allcock from the small village of Peak Dale, who both served with the 6th Btn. There is also brothers George and Joseph Pearson of the 10th Btn, who were both killed on the 7th July during the attack on the Quadrilateral support trench.
It would be impossible to list all of the 11,409 men of the Sherwood Foresters Regiment who died during the Great War, or for that matter all of the men from Chesterfield who also paid the ultimate sacrifice. For these reasons I have restricted this memorial to the men of Chesterfield (and the surrounding towns and villages) who fought and died with battalions of the Sherwood Foresters during the battle of the Somme. Sadly, for many of these men of 'Kitcheners Army' this was their first and last battle.
This web site is constantly being updated, please call back soon. Alternatively, if you have any comments or can add any information please e-mail me:
Site launched 11/11/00 and last updated 30/07/03
The Technical Bit - not my strength, but I think this site is best viewed using Internet Explorer with a screen resolution of 1014x768x16bpp
(or go straight to what's new)
[Click on the underlined (orange) hyperlinks to navigate the site. Many of the pictures are thumbnails]
Battalion Movements, Engagements and Roll of Honour:
[This section contains extracts from the War Diaries of each Battalion, operation maps and eye witness accounts. It also has biographies of some of the local men that died during the battle]
1st Btn 2nd Btn
1/5th Btn 1/6th Btn 1/7th Btn 1/8th Btn
[Formed the 139th (Sherwood) Brigade in the 46th North Midland Division]
Service Battalions of Kitcheners Army:
9th Btn 10th Btn 11th Btn 12th Btn 15th Btn 16th Btn 17th Btn
[Formed parts of the 11th, 17th, 23rd, 25th, 35th and 39th Divisions]
Wounded & Full Casualty Lists
[The names and brief details of over 160 Sherwood Foresters wounded during the Battles of the Somme]
Village Memorials [A-D] Village Memorials [E-M] Village Memorials [N-Z]
[Pictures and brief details of the various War Memorials to be found in Derbyshire Towns and Villages]
[A very special memorial to the past pupils of Chesterfield School who died during the Great War]
[But here in this grave yard that's still No Man's Land. The countless white crosses in mute witness stand]
[Several series of interesting photographs showing the Sherwood Foresters]
[The role my own family played in the First Great War]
Acknowledgements and Links to other sites of interest
[Without whom none of this could have happened]
July 2003 - Added a section on Lt MR Allen (2nd Battn) courtesy of Fay Shepherd.
March 2003 - Started to work a little on the 12th and 15th Battns - much still to do
February 2003 - Finally found the time for a few updates. Added a few pictures and information that have been kindly sent to me over the last 6 months or more, including the story of Harry Farnath MM, 16th Battn. Unfortunately due to space restrictions on the server I've had to do some editing. The text has not changed but some pictures are no longer available, such as extra images of the Memorials.
July 2002 - Following a trip to the Somme in June 2002, I've added a few pictures of Gommecourt (site of 46th Division attack), Nab Valley (11th Battn), Quadrilateral (2nd Battn) and Fricourt (10th Battn)