Nottingham’s Military Legacy

Nottingham’s Military Legacy

Gerry van Tonder
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
This is only a relatively small book of some 120 pages but extremely interesting because I know of only a couple of other books which describe county regiments. There is also a considerable amount of pertinent information and history relative to Nottinghamshire.

The book begins with an Introduction briefly explaining the military legacy which has stood the country in good stead since ancient times when invasion had to be suffered in one form or another. It then quickly moves on to the concept of defending an Empire and the involvement in the Great War.

Chapter 1 is entitled ‘A Brief History’ but the eleven odd pages provide a lot of information on the background of the city, county and the military from 1068, following the many changes up until 2014.

The second and third chapters are entitled Call to Arms with the second dealing with home actions followed by chapter three involving action in foreign territories. The actions at home describe some of the Civil War and the raising of Trained Bands with some useful anecdotes from the quotes displayed. There are also a couple of mistakes during proof reading which were easily spotted where dates in the Seventeenth century suddenly appeared as being of the Twentieth century but such mistakes are rare throughout the book. The next area of this history looks at the Luddite riots of the early nineteenth century and the mobilisation of Dragoon Guards and the South Nottinghamshire Yeomanry in and around Nottingham. This area of the book is particularly interesting and the descriptions of the Pentrich Plot of 1817, followed by the Nottingham riot of 1831 are well worth reading. To my mind this added history lesson is interesting, having lived in Nottingham for a couple of years.

Chapter 3 initially describes the part played by the 45th (1st Nottinghamshire) Foot in the Peninsular War, especially the Siege of Badajoz in 1812, followed by the involvement of the59th (2nd Nottinghamshire) Regiment during the second Anglo-Afghan War of 1879. In each case there are sketch maps and photographs with the description of the encounters.

Gommecourt on the Somme, during July 1916 where the Sherwood Foresters and the 7th Battalion known as the Robin Hoods were heavily involved with a considerable number of casualties. Again there are descriptions of occurrences immediately prior to that War and events leading up to the continued involvement of the Nottinghamshire regiments. There are considerable indications of the rebadging of the Nottinghamshire regiments during both the 1914 – 1918 and 1939 – 1945 wars encompassing their use in infantry, tanks and artillery. The Second World War tends to deal with deployments at El Alamein and also for the Allied invasion of Normandy.

In keeping with the historical content, Chapter four covers some of the more well known officers while chapter five describes the various units raised in Nottinghamshire throughout history. Needless to say, having covered the units, chapter six covers the various barracks and buildings which have been used since the first Norman castle of 1067.

Chapters seven and eight are almost a form of reminiscence, with space devoted to those of Nottinghamshire who were awarded the Victoria Cross and, in the last chapter a series of photographs and descriptions of some sixteen memorials which have been erected within the county over the years.

The book is well illustrated with photographs and there is a series of colour plates in the centre of the book which complement some of the descriptions. It is certainly interesting and relatively easy to read. In fact it would be nice to see one of these appear for each of the county regiments throughout the UK.
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