Research Results

1/8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derbys) Regiment

Territorial Battalion-

August 1914- In Newark, part of Notts and Derby Brigade, North Midland Division. .

May 12th 1915 – Formation became part of 139th Brigade, 46th (North Midland) Division.

Consisted of –

139th Brigade (Notts & Derby)

1/5th Sherwood Foresters, 1/6th Sherwood Foresters, 1/7th Sherwood Foresters, 1/8th Sherwood Foresters

The other brigades in the Division-

137th (Staffordshire)

138th (Lincoln and Leicester)

46th Division was part of V Corps, Fifth Army.

He would have won his Military Cross during the ‘Advance to the Hindenburg Line’ 1917.

The British Army followed up the German’s as they retreated to the Hindenburg Line. 14th March to 5th April 1917.

Death date – He has no known grave so must have died on the Battlefield and his grave lost.

On 23rd April 1917 the 46th Division were not involved in any specific attacks (that I can find) I believe that at some time during this period they were moved to I Corps, 1st Army. The Regimental War Diaries would show the exact location and also probably give the details of his death. An officer who had just won the MC would have got a mention.

In the book – Officers Died in the Great War 1914-1919 he is listed as

Officers missing and missing believed killed.

Hopkinson, Edward, MC, Lt. 8th Notts and Derby Regt, 23/4/1917.

From this he must have moved up a rank from 2/Lt to Lt. after getting his MC.

Other inf. –

1916 – may – The Robin Hoods held the line near Vimy Ridge.

The 1/7th Sherwood Foresters had the nickname ‘The Robin Hoods’. This was unofficially carried over to the whole of the 139th Brigade, which also became ‘The Robin Hoods’

The 1/7th and 1/8th held a sector between Boyau Central (in due course central Avenue – they had taken over from the French) and Boyau Lassalle (later Lassalle Avenue).

Further reading – The Sherwood Foresters in the Great War, 1914-1919; 1/8th Battalion, Capt. W C WEETMAN, Those Forman and Sons 1920 (Probably a copy at the Sherwood Foresters Museum.)

Later in 1916, they took part in the Somme battle 1st July 1916 – Their task was to take Gommecourt wood. The 139th Division was ripped to pieces during the battle.

Other sources –

London Gazette will have his medal announcement. Also his becoming an officer.

National Archives, Kew, London, Medal Cards, war diaries and trench maps.

Sherwood Foresters Museum

WARD, CHARLES 15th Bn Royal Irish Rifles.
15th (Service) Battalion (North Belfast)

Raised in Belfast Sept. 1914 from the Belfast Volunteers.

To Ballykinlar in 107th Brigade, 36th Division.

July 1915 – Seaford.

October 1915- Landed at Boulogne.

107th Brigade with 4th Division from 5 November 1915 to 3 February 1916.

11 November 1918 – 107th Brigade, 36th Division – Belgium, Mouscron, N.E. of Tourcoing.

(Source – British Regiments 1914-1918, Brig E.A. James, O.B.E, T.D.)

Battle in which he died

Operations. The Advance in Flanders (18th August – 6th September 1918)

Second Army

X Corps: 30th and 36th Divisions.

XV Corps: 9th, 29th, 31st and 40th Divisions.

XIX Corps: 6th, 34th and 41st Divisions, and 27th American Division.

Fifth Army

XI Corps: 59th, 61st and 74th Divisions.

XIII Corps: 4th, 19th and 46th Divisions.

(Source – A Record of the Battle and Engagements of the British Armies in France and Flanders, 1914-1918. Captain E A James.)

Bailleul –

The N42 crosses the Dunkirk – Lille Motorway. It enters Bailleul some 3 Ks away as the D944/D933.

Bailleul is a pleasant market town and is famed from ancient times for its lace making which, with linen, is still one of the major industries

It was a military base for much of the war. A real front line town.

The Germans briefly held it in 1914 but the British retook it on 14th October 1914.

It was then a forward base for the British for three and a half years.

The French also used it during this time.

During the savage fighting during the Battle of Lys (April 1918) it was almost totally destroyed. Eventually being retaken by the British in August 1918 during the 100-day march to victory.

Bailleul provided a welcome respite to the troops and a haven for the wounded in the hospital facilities of its well-known asylum and clinic.

Troops thronged its pleasant market square above, which the Belfry of the hotel de Ville (restored after the war) rose defiantly. Café’s and estaminets flourished and one in particular, ‘Tina’s’, in rue de Dunkerque, became famous as a popular officer’s haunt.

The town had hardly suffered from artillery bombardment but in July 1917; heavy shells, which caused much damage, shattered the relative peace. The, the almost complete destruction of the town came when the Germans advanced to capture the ruins on 15 April 1918 after the heroic defence of the British 34th and 59th Divisions, which were forced to retire exhausted and outnumbered. The British 25th Division on 30 August 1918 retook it.

Today, the old market square is the center of this charming and busy little town. The Hotel de Ville and belfry have been rebuilt in red brick and the cafes and shops welcome both resident and visitor alike. It sits atop a hill with good views into the French and Belgium countryside. The main road runs from Bailleul to Armentieres.

An obelisk of the 25th Division memorial is in the town. The church of Armand’s ruins form part of the town’s war memorial. A Demarcation stone lies behind it (put up to show extent of German advance throughout Belgium and Northern France.)

The road to Belgium (D23) leaves the market square and almost immediately the green CWGC sign can be seen. Down a small street and on the right is the Bailleul Communal Cemetery and Extension. The entrance to these cemeteries is just beyond the main gates of the town cemetery.

The Communal Cemetery holds some 610 graves but the Communal Cemetery Extension next to it has some 4,600 graves. These come from all countries – British, Commonwealth, French, Belgian, Chinese and many Germans.

From the cemetery walls you can get a panoramic view of the Monts des Flandres (Hills of Flanders – Mont Noir, Mont Rouge, Mont Kemmel) A fair way over to the left is the Mont des Cats. The old Royal Flying Corps base and aerodrome were nearby.

Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension.

It would seem that Rfn Charles Ward was buried in a battlefield cemetery and then after the war removed to this cemetery.

Firstly on his death 22 August 1918, Bailleul was still in German hands.

Secondly the later plots are usually concentration graves.

I cannot find the exact location of the 36th Division on 22nd August 1918. The War diaries and trench maps would need to be consulted.


Royal Army Medical Corps, 94th Field Ambulance

Hello again Victor, sorry it’s taken a while to get back to you. I’ve a bit of a backlog here, so it’s been quite busy. Re Ernest. I have found the following information which I hope you’ll find useful. I’ll add Ernest to my book of Remembrance.

Pte. Ernest Markham. 68443.

Royal Army Medical Corps. 94th Field Ambulance.

Recorded as being born in Hull.

Enlisted in Hull.

Reported as being KILLED IN ACTION on Saturday, April 13th 1918. Aged 21 years.

Son of Fanny Ellen Markham, of 7, Bramwell Terrace, Grey St., Park St., Hull.

No known grave, commemorated at Ploegsteert Memorial. France/Flanders.

Ernest was killed with 7 other men from the RAMC that day, 5 of whom were Territorial. Ernest is not listed as serving with a Territorial unit. The 94th were attached to the 31st Division. The Field Ambulance attached to the infantry or cavalry Brigade provided one or more Advanced Dressing Stations in reasonable proximity of the front lines. Field Ambulances moved with their Division and below is a brief synopsis of the movements and engagements of the 31st Division:

This Division was originally part of the Fifth New Army, and was numbered 38th. However, the Fourth New Army was broken up in April 1915, and the Division was renumbered 31st, part of K4. It was formed of many units that had been raised by public subscription and private projects, and was only taken over by the War Office on 10th August 1915.

On 16th December 1914, two Companies of the 18th (Service) Bn (1st County), the Durham Light Infantry became the first troops of the New Armies to come under enemy fire, when they were manning the trenches of the Tyne and Tees defences which were shelled by the German ships Derfflinger, Von Der Tann and Blucher.

December 1915 : moved to Egypt, and took part in defence of Suez Canal

March 1916 : moved to France and proceeded to the Western Front

The Battle of Albert (first phase of the Battle of the Somme 1916)

The Division took part in the assault on Serre, and suffered very high casualties. It was withdrawn for several months as a result.

The Battle of the Ancre (tenth phase of the Battle of the Somme 1916)

Operations on the Ancre

The Third Battle of the Scarpe (fourth phase of the Arras Offensive)

The latter action included the Division’s role in the capture of Oppy Wood.

The Battle of St Quentin (first phase of the First Battles of the Somme 1918)

The First Battle of Bapaume (second phase of the First Battles of the Somme 1918)

The First Battle of Arras, 1918 (fourth phase of the First Battles of the Somme 1918)

The Battle of Estaires (first phase of the Battles of the Lys)

The Battle of Hazebrouck (third phase of the Battles of the Lys)

In the above action, the Division played a part in the Defence of Nieppe Forest

The Advance in Flanders

The Battle of Ypres 1918

The Division also fought in the subsequent Action of Tieghem

The Division was demobilised between January and May 1919, having suffered 30,000 casualties during the war.

Order of Battle

92nd Brigade

On 16 April 1918 it was decided that, due to the heavy casualties recently sustained, the 92nd and 93rd Brigades would be temporarily amalgamated and called the 92nd Composite Brigade.

10th (Service) Bn (1st Hull), the East Yorkshires (joined June 1915)

11th (Service) Bn (2nd Hull), the East Yorkshires (joined June 1915)

12th (Service) Bn (3rd Hull), the East Yorkshires (joined June 1915, left February 1918)

13th (Service) Bn (4th Hull), the East Yorkshires (joined June 1915, left February 1918)

11th (Service) Bn (Accrington), the East Lancashire (joined February 1918)

92nd Brigade Machine Gun Company (joined 20 May 1916, moved into 31 MG Bn 21 February 1918)

92nd Trench Mortar Battery (joined by 11 April 1916)

92nd Composite Brigade

On 16 April 1918 it was decided that, due to the heavy casualties recently sustained, the 92nd and 93rd Brigades would be temporarily amalgamated and called the 92nd Composite Brigade. It was broken up two days later, and the 92nd and 93rd Brigades were reconstituted soon after.

93rd Brigade

15th (Service) Bn (1st Leeds), the West Yorkshires(joined June 1915)

16th (Service) Bn (1st Bradford), the West Yorkshires(joined June 1915, left

February 1918)

18th (Service) Bn (2nd Bradford), the West Yorkshires(joined June 1915, left

February 1918)

18th (Service) Bn (1st County), the Durham Light Infantry(joined May 1915)

93rd Brigade Machine Gun Company (joined 20 May 1916, moved into 31 MG Bn 21 February 1918)

93rd Trench Mortar Battery (joined by 12 April 1916)

94th Brigade

The Brigade was broken up between 11 and 16 February 1918. It was reformed on 30 May 1918, principally from Training Cadre units. It was fully reconstituted on 21 June 1918 by the addition of units from the 74th Division, and redesignated 94th (Yeomanry) Brigade.

12th (Norfolk Yeomanry) TF Bn, the Norfolks (joined June 1918)

12th (Ayr & Lanark Yeomanry) TF Bn, the Royal Scots Fusiliers (joined June 1918)

24th (Denbighshire Yeomanry) TF Bn, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (joined June 1918)

11th (Service) Bn (Accrington), the East Lancashire (joined February 1915, left February 1918)

2nd Bn, the Loyal North Lancs (joined and left June 1918)

12th (Service) Bn (Sheffield), the York and Lancaster(joined May 1915, disbanded February 1918)

13th (Service) Bn (1st Barnsley), the York and Lancaster(joined May 1915)

14th (Service) Bn (2nd Barnsley), the York and Lancaster(joined May 1915, disbanded February 1918)

2nd Bn, the Royal Munster Fusiliers (joined as cadre May 1918, left June 1918)

94th Brigade Machine Gun Company (joined 21 May 1916, moved into 31 MG Bn 21 February 1918)

94th Trench Mortar Battery (joined by 11 April 1916)

4th Guards Brigade

Attached to 31st Division, February 1918 and transferred into GHQ Reserve, 20 May 1918

4th Bn, the Grenadier Guards

3rd Bn, the Coldstream Guards

2nd Bn, the Irish Guards

4th Guards Trench Mortar Battery

Divisional Troops

12th (Service) Bn (Miners) (Pioneers), the KOYLI(joined May 1915)

243rd Machine Gun Company (joined 18 July 1917, moved into 31 MGBn 3 March 1918)

No 31 Machine Gun Battalion (created 21 February 1918)

Divisional Mounted Troops

B Squadron, 1/1st Lancashire Hussars (joined 27 November 1915, left 9 May 1916)

31st Divisional Cyclist Company (formed by August 1915, left 9 May 1916)

Divisional Artillery

The original Divisional Artillery between 30 December 1915 and 3 January

1916 joined the 32nd Division

CLV Brigade, RFA (joined by 5 August 1915)

CLXI Brigade, RFA (joined by 5 August 1915)

CLXIV (H) Brigade, RFA (joined by 5 August 1915)

CLXVIII Brigade, RFA (joined by 5 August 1915)

31st (Hull) Divisional Ammunition Column (joined August 1915)

The original Divisional Artillery of the 32nd Division moved to France to replace them on 8 December 1915

CLXV Brigade, RFA

CLXIX Brigade, RFA (broken up 24 January 1917)

CLXX Brigade, RFA

CLXXI (H) Brigade, RFA (broken up 27 August 1916)

124 (Hull) Heavy Battery, RGA (raised with the Division but moved to France as an independent unit on 29 April 1916)

31st Divisional Ammunition Column

V.31 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery RFA (formed by 4 June 1916, broken up 5 February 1918)

X.31, Y.31 and Z.31 Medium Mortar Batteries RFA (formed 31 March 1916; on 15 February 1918, Z broken up and batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each)

Engineer Units

210th (Leeds) Field Company (joined Jan 1915)

211th (Leeds) Field Company (joined Jan 1915)

223rd (Leeds) Field Company (joined Jan 1915)

31st Divisional Signal Company (joined Jan 1915)

Field Ambulances

93rd Field Ambulance (joined November 1915)

94th Field Ambulance (joined November 1915)

95th Field Ambulance (joined November 1915)

31st Divisional Train ASC (joined December 1914, originally 217, 218, 219 and 220 Coys ASC.)

228th Divisional Employment Company (joined June 1917)

41st Mobile Veterinary Section (joined December 1914)

71st Sanitary Section (joined 10 November 1917, left 11 March 1917)

31st Divisional Motor Ambulance Workshop (joined by November 1915, moved to

52nd Division by 21 April 1916)

Divisional command

Maj-Gen. E.Fanshawe (26/7/1915)

Br-Gen. E.Molesworth (Acting, 16/8/1915)

Maj-Gen. R.Wanless O’Gowan (24/8/1915)

Maj-Gen. R.Bridgford (21/3/1918)

Maj-Gen. J.Campbell (6/5/1918)

Above info from The Long Trail © Chris Baker, 2003

At the time of Ernest’s death, the Division were heavily engaged in fighting against the massive German Offensive which had began March 21st. The Division were spread around Hazebrouk and Lys. Historians call these engagements ‘tactical’ but in reality, they were desperate and savage holding actions in an attempt to slow the German surge. The Division suffered over 30,000 casualties during WW1 and Ernest, as a field medic, would have witnessed indescribable horrors.

As with all other units, the Field Ambulances relied heavily on horses for transport, and had an establishment of 14 riding and 52 draught and pack horses. They worked the 23 wagons, 3 water carts, 3 forage carts, 6 GS wagons, 10 ambulance wagons, and the cooks wagon. The Ambulance also had a single bicycle.

Neither officers nor men carried weapons or ammunition.

By the end of 1914, each unit also included 7 motor ambulances. A workshop to maintain them was added to the Division, although in 1916 it was absorbed in the Supply Column.

A Sanitary Section (consisting of a Lieutenant or Second-Lieutenant, 2 Sergeants, 2 Corporals, 20 Privates and 1 batman) was added to the Division in early 1915. It’s job was to maintain as far as possible clean water supplies, cooking facilities and billets. The Sanitary Sections came under Corps or Army control from March 1917 onwards.

Ernest would have been entitled to both war and victory medals, along with a memorial bronze plaque (nicknamed dead man’s penny). Depending on date of enlistment, he may also have received the 1914-15 Star and or Mons Star if he’d served from the start. His medal roll index is available from The Public Records Office in Surrey and his service records may still be there….many were destroyed during WW2.

Hope the above helps you Victor. If I can be of further assistance, don’t hesitate.

Thanks again for visiting us.

Very best wishes



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MINISTRY OF DEFENCE CstRM>2b Bourne Avenue Hayes Middlesex UB3 1 RF

Telephone 081-573 3831 ext 320

Mrs M Johnson

Kamardon North Street

Norton St Philip Nr Bath


Your reference 94/63091/CS (RM) 2b/1

Date 10 August 1994

Dear Mrs Johnson

In reply to your recent letter, our records show the following particulars ot the military service of 78970 formerly 37423 Private Leonard GARTON – Durham Light Infantry:

Enlisted into the Yorkshire Regiment on a short service engagement 07.02.15

Transferred to Army Reserve 08.02.15

Mobilized and posted to Depot 04.03.16

Re-transferred to Army Reserve 06.03.16

Re-mobilized 03.04.17

Posted to Depot 16.04.17

Posted to 2/5th Battalion 20.04.17

Embarked UK 03.01.18

Transferred to Durham Light Infantry and posted to 7th Battalion 06.01.18

Died of wounds at No 6 General Hospital France 30.03.18

Service with the Colours

07.02.15 to 08.02.15,

04.03.16 to 06.03.16,

03.04.17 to 30.03.18

Overseas Service:

France 03.01.18 to 30.03.18 Medals issued etc: British War Medal and Victory Medal

Personal Details:

Apparent age on enlistment: 29 years 7 days

Height: 5ft 2 5/8ins

Girth when fully expanded: 32ins

Next of Kin: Mother – Elizabeth GARTON of 40 Radford Boulevard, Nottingham Brothers: Lewis

Sisters: Lily Lawrence, Doris Richard

I hope you find this useful.

Yours sincerely

J HOCKINGS (Mrs) for Departmental Record Officer