2nd battalion sherwood foresters 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by Hurty, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. Hurty

    Hurty New Member

    I’m looking for some information regards the movements of the 2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derbs) on or around 17th May 1940. I have a relative Private Harold Fores - 4971915 who was sadly was killed on that date and is currently buried in Belgium. I know how Harold died and have some of his personal belongings but know very little about that battalions movements/actions on and around that date. I understand there’s a book about the battalion but it’s no longer in print and I can’t find a copy for sale. I would be extremely grateful if anyone could help me.

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  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The best place to start really is with the battalion war diary held at the National Archives. Whereabouts are you located ?


    2 Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) | The National Archives

    There are members here who can copy at a reasonable cost.

    It's unlikely that you'll find a published source which goes into such detail regarding locations etc as the war diary does. If you're really keen then the diaries of the other battalions in 3rd Infantry Brigade (1 Duke of Wellington's and 1 KSLI ) may also throw something up, as may the brigade diary or indeed that of 1st Infantry Division.
  3. Hurty

    Hurty New Member

    I’ll look into that! I live near Worksop, Notts. Thank you that’s much appreciated.
  4. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is an excerpt from the regimental history on the movements of the 2nd Battalion from 11-22 May 1940.
    SF01.jpg SF02.jpg SF03.jpg
  5. Hurty

    Hurty New Member

    Thank you that’s a great help.
    dryan67 likes this.
  6. As well as the official history, there was an unofficial history written by Richard Garrett, an officer with the 8th and later 5th Battalions. I am not sure this was ever formally published, copies may exist with the Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire archives, or local history societies. There is not much on the 2nd Bttn around 17th May but attached is a scan (not very good I'm afraid due to the binding).

    I'm researching the 2/5th in France 1940, and I know there is material about them in the Nottinghamshire Archive. Not sure if anything on the 2nd, but might be worth checking their catalogue online.

    Unfortunately although i have both the 2/5 and 9th WD for the period you are looking at, I don't have a copy of that of the 2nd.

    Finally the Regimental Museum and archive at Foresters House, Chilwell, Nottingham, NG9 5HA. is very helpful, although they do make a charge for research or access to materials in order to support their work. Contact Jennifer Brookman-Moore the curator; emial is curator@stand-firm-strike-hard.org.uk.

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  7. JoeZapp

    JoeZapp New Member


    I'm trying to research a family member who was a casualty at Dunkirk

    Private John Thomas Simcox
    4971833, 2nd Bn., Sherwood Foresters Died 01/06/1940
    Buried at the Dunkirk Memorial Column 95

    I was unsure whether it's best to start a new thread or tag this request onto an existing thread - if anyone can assist in pointing me in the right direction, I'd be very grateful. I'd like to try and fight out more details, where possible, about where he died and whether this was during the evacuation or during the operation to halt the German advance.

    I'm guessing the battalion war diary would be a good place to start, nevertheless I wondered whether anyone has access to any records/details that might shed some further light in the meantime and if anyone has access to anything that might yield some clues.

    Very interested to find out more about the 2nd Bn's role and activity during the events of those fateful days in the lead up to 01 June.

    I've read that the battalion was back in England on or before 01 June, so I wondered if there's any further accurate details about when casualties occurred or was this done as an exercise once they had left Dunkirk i.e. updating the records after the event rather than contemporaneously?

    Thanks in advance
  8. Private J T Simcox appears twice in the official casualty lists (which are available on findmypast.co.uk), first on #237 on 21st June where he is listed as ‘Died’, date 1.6.40, and then again on #248 issued on 6th July where it is corrected to ‘Died of Wounds’. Trying to identify exactly when and where he was wounded will be difficult I think, but it is likely that it was within the Dunkirk perimeter. The 2nd was part of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division on the left (north) flank of the perimeter on 1 June.

    The fact he is commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial rather than having an individual grave would indicate that his body was not identified (which is the case with most of the 2nd Battalion’s casualties in 1940). If he had died in one of the hospitals in the Dunkirk perimeter I would have expected a known grave. So my best assumption would be that he died in the field of wounds at roughly the same time as the battalion was evacuated. But I have found one reported instance of men being buried in the perimeter and then the bodies uncovered due to shellfire, a similar incident could also explain the lack of a known grave.
  9. JoeZapp

    JoeZapp New Member

    Thanks for this Michael - it's an interesting insight and I'm definitely keen to find out more. It's a pretty unimaginable set of circumstances and an element of the WW2 experience that perhaps doesn't get enough attention. It's only now when you start to dig a little deeper that you come to realise the enormity of it all. I think I might start a fresh thread and see what else comes up, if at all. Your work is much appreciated and I've passed this on to a few of my relatives.
  10. Dirk

    Dirk Member


    I'm very interested in the story of your relative, Harold Fores. Currently, I'm preparing an article for the local history society of Huldenberg about the 2nd Bn. The Sherwood Foresters.

    Since 1977 the municipality of Huldenberg comprises the former autonomous villages of Sint-Agatha-Rode, Ottenburg, Neerijse and Loonbeek. The 2nd Bn. Sherwood Foresters was deployed in and around Sint-Agatha-Rode during the period 12 May - 16 May 1940.

    I do wonder whether your unfortunate relative, Private Harold Fores, was badly injured in the area of Sint-Agatha-Rode during the Battle of the River Dyle (period 15 May - 16 May 1940), and evacuated to Number 1 Casualty Clearing Station in Ninove. Private Harold Fores was originally buried at Ninove Churchyard. In the 1950's his body was exhumed and reburied at Heverlee War Cemetery.

    I'm very interested to learn whether Harold Fores was badly injured during the Battle of the River Dyle near Sint-Agatha-Rode.

    Attached is a photo I took of his grave at Heverlee War Cemetery. Directly behind Harold Fores' war grave is the grave of Private Frank Edwards View attachment 274926 of the 2nd Bn. Sherwood Foresters . He died the 16th of May 1940. He too was initially buried at Ninove Churchyard. Frank Edwards' war grave inscription reads : "A Banstead Boy".


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