Nominal Roll

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.


Background

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.


TF Renumbering

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).


Transfers

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.

Summary

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

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Overview of numbering systems used

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19 thoughts on “Nominal Roll

  1. Harry Jones

    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.
    Thanks

    Harry

    Reply
  2. David Hollinshead

    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.

    Reply
    1. mikebriggs1910 Post author

      David,
      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?
      Thanks
      Mike

      Reply
      1. David Hollinshead

        Mike,

        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.

        Regards

        David

  3. Christophe Pourcines

    Hello Mike,
    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…

    Reply
    1. mikebriggs1910 Post author

      Dear Christophe
      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 (stapleford.library@nottscc.gov.uk) who may be able to help. cheers mike

      Reply
  4. Andy Wood

    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.

    Reply
    1. mikebriggs1910 Post author

      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

      Reply
      1. Andy Wood

        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?

      2. mikebriggs1910 Post author

        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.

  5. ken robinson

    Hello Mike
    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.
    Regards
    Ken

    Reply
    1. mikebriggs1910 Post author

      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

      Reply
  6. Paul Swainson

    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.

    Reply
    1. mikebriggs1910 Post author

      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.

      Reply
  7. Robin Moore

    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.

    Thanks

    Reply
  8. Alex Henry

    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.

    Reply
    1. mikebriggs1910 Post author

      Dear Alex
      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.

      Reply

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