'The Lions of Notts'

Photo:Marshal Foch

Marshal Foch

Marshal Foch's tribute to the Sherwood Foresters

Trnascibed by Jenni Dobson




(From The Newark Advertiser Wednesday 4 Dec 1918)

Within the last few days Marshal Foch has been on a visit to British Headquarters in France says the “Nottingham Guardian”. In the course of his visit the Marshal spoke in glowing terms of the part played by the British troops in the final triumph of the Allies, and in particular he paid a tribute  to the men of the Sherwood Foresters. In the following article a British staff officer who was present records the substance of the Generalissimo’s tribute.

One of the things that struck us most during the brief visit of Foch to our lines (he writes) was the fact that he seemed to know each unit of the British Army, and was able to say just what had been done by that unit at any period of the war. He spoke in the highest terms of what had been accomplished by the British troops, and when he came to refer to the part played by the Sherwood Foresters, his tribute to the men of the districts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire was as generous as it was deserved. This is what he said:-

“Men of the Sherwood Foresters, I am proud indeed to be among you, though my pride is tinged by regret that I am not able to meet face to face some of the heroes of your great regiment who have died to make it possible for us to celebrate the great victory that has been won over the forces of the Boches. I have watched the work of your regiment for the whole of the time I have been directing the operations of the Allied armies, and in that time I have never had occasion to make the slightest complaint of your work. You have been tried as men are seldom tried, but on each occasion you have shown yourselves worthy of the great trust we reposed in you, for you have faced the difficulties in your path with the courage of lions, and you have overcome them, as you deserved to overcome.


“i recall one critical stage in the operations of last March, when it was a question of meeting an unexpected attack by the Boches. They had suddenly appeared before a part of the Allied line with almost a division of the best troops they had in the field. I was anxious regarding the position, because there was only one battalion of British troops available to hold that part of the line. The British general to whom I confided by anxiety looked up the data supplied from his headquarters, and said to me: ‘It is all right. The Sherwood Foresters are in the line there, and they are equal to any German division.’

“I knew enough of the record of your regiment to see the force of that remark, and for the first time I was easy in mind. I gave orders to move troops around that region without fear of consequences, for I knew that I could rely on your regiment, and I was not disappointed. You met the repeated attacks of great enemy forces, and not only met, but vanquished them. For more than nine days you held that part of the line, and by holding it you enabled us to develop the counter-moves which ultimately brought about the crushing defeat of the enemy.

“France and humanity owe you a debt that can never be paid. I personally feel when I am congratulated on the winning of this war that success could never have been obtained had it not been for the glorious work of regiments like yours. Since that dark period you have been called on to attempt almost impossible tasks, but you have always succeeded.”

This page was added by Website Administrator on 02/09/2014.

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.