103 Foresters project – Update

A few months ago, we announced our current research project: ‘103 Foresters’. In short, we are researching the cases of the 103 soldiers who served in the local regiment (then known as the Sherwood Foresters) and were either sentenced to death or sentenced on mutiny charges by courts martial during World War One.

Although we are not yet quite ready to publish the first results of this very extensive project, we have been rather busy working on it (spreadsheets, tons of spreadsheets!). We have been continuing to look into the wider context of the cases, before then focussing on our first case over the last couple of months. This first case involved a soldier who was sentenced to death following his alleged desertion on the Western Front in February 1915. He was not executed and his final sentence of two years hard labour was probably suspended, resulting in him having to stay in the trenches and shortly afterwards taking part in an attack that resulted in his unit suffering catastrophic casualties.

This has proven to be a challenging but fascinating research process and we did succeed in learning a lot regarding the circumstances in which the ‘offence’ and the trial happened, although our information about the soldier himself remains rather vague at present. However, by combining the contextual information about the case and the scattered bits of evidence regarding the first of our 103 Foresters, we have been able to infer quite a lot of information about the case.

We are currently busy writing up our findings and will be able to publish the first two issues in what will become a series of pamphlets, hopefully before the end of November but definitely before the Xmas/New Year break.

Please keep on watching this space.

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