I have compiled the information on this post as a result of examining service records in WO 97 (online with Findmypast) and WO 363 and WO 364 (online with Ancestry). Note that Findmypast has also indexed WO 363/4 (and uncovered an additional half a million names).
In fact, there are over 43,000 Sherwood Foresters service and pension records (for this regiment - and its antecedents) in various War Office series held at the National Archives. Clicking on the link will take you to the results on Findmypast but you will need a subscription or Pay-Per-View credits to actually view the records. Some of these records can also be viewed on-line on Ancestry although Findmypast has by far the most comprehensive service record collection.
Use the regimental numbers and dates on which these were issued, below, to determine parameters for when your own Sherwood Foresters ancestor would have joined up. Note though that these numbers are only for regular enlistments. Special Reserve and Territorial Force battalions operated completely separate regimental number sequences.
10 joined on 6th July 1881
221 joined on 21st February 1882
451 joined on 2nd January 1883
726 joined on 11th January 1884
1017 joined on 7th January 1885
1363 joined on 11th February 1886
1886 joined on 24th March 1887
2229 joined on 5th January 1888
2494 joined on 15th January 1889
2749 joined on 27th February 1890
3125 joined on 8th April 1891
3469 joined on 10th January 1892
3978 joined on 16th January 1893
4624 joined on 21st March 1894
4993 joined on 15th January 1895
5358 joined on 21st February 1896
5559 joined on 16th February 1897
5784 joined on 7th January 1898
6200 joined on 7th March 1899
6519 joined on 16th February 1900
The Sherwood Foresters raised three volunteer service companies during the South African War and issued numbers as follows:
1st VSC: numbers within the range 7331 to 7553
2nd VSC: numbers within the range 7443 to 7587
3rd VSC: numbers within the range 7592 to 7619
On 23rd February 1900, the 1st VSC embarked aboard the SS Avondale Castle for South Africa. It comprised Captain Turner Lee, Lieutenant Kingdom, Lieutenant R K Ellis, Lieutenant F A C Wright and 113 men.
6808 joined on 16th January 1901
In 1902 the regiment’s name was changed to The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment). Numbering was unaffected by the title change.
7310 joined on 3rd May 1902
8565 joined on 6th January 1903
9058 joined on 8th January 1904
9770 joined on 17th February 1905
9980 joined on 12th January 1906
10241 joined on 15th January 1907
10730 joined on 7th April 1908
11182 joined on 4th February 1909
11277 joined on 8th January 1910
11567 joined on 6th March 1911
11897 joined on 13th June 1912
11998 joined on 17th January 1913
12197 joined on 21st February 1914
The First World War
When Britain went to war in August 1914, men joining the new service battalions were issued with numbers from the same series in use by the two regular battalions.
Recruitment rates 1881-1911
Between 1st July 1881 and 8th April 1891, The Sherwood Foresters recruited 3,125 men, an average of 318 men each year. Of the sixty-nine infantry regiments recruiting at this time, The Sherwood Foresters was the fifty-second most successful infantry recruiter.
The pattern improved dramatically over the following decade and up until the 16th January 1901, the regiment added close to 3,700 men to its books, a high average of 378 new recruits a year and a rate which saw the regiment leap up the recruiting table to be the fourteenth most successful infantry recruiter.
The trend continued into the next decade as well and by March 1911 the regiment had issued number 11567 to its latest recruit; an average recruitment rate for the decade of 468 men; the eighth best recruitment rate for an infantry regiment in the British Isles.
Overall, the Sherwood Foresters’s recruitment rate for the period July 1881 to March 1911 was an impressive 388 men per annum; a rate which made it the thirteenth most successful infantry recruiter in the United Kingdom.
1st Battalion stations 1881-1914
1899 South Africa
1902 Hong Kong
1914 France & Flanders (from November)
2nd Battalion stations 1881-1914
1914 France & Flanders (from September)
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