The 45th (Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot:
Colonel Houghton raised a new regular army regiment in the West of England (Bristol) in 1741when Britain was committed to War against France, this regiment was initially numbered as 56th. In 1745 the Regiment was in Gibraltar and under the command of Colonel Warburton and two years later it was serving in Nova Scotia. In 1751 Army reorganisation resulted in 11 regiments being disbanded and Warburton's was renumbered as the 45th Regiment of Foot.
AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
The actions of the French against the British in Canada resulted in the 45th being called out on active service. It was one of the regiments that won undying fame in storming and capturing from the French the Naval Arsenal of Louisburg, a stronghold that had been heavily and extensively fortifed. Although not present as a unit, the 45th was represented by its Grenadier Company in the British force that the gallant Wolfe led up the St Lawrence River to capture Quebec.
The 45th served for twenty years in Canada and for its gallantry at Louisburg was later awarded the first of a long roll of battle honours which now adorn the Colours. On returning home the Regiment served for some years in Ireland and when the American War of Independence broke out, was among the reinforcements sent to New York in 1776. It fought at Long Island, Philadelphia, Brandywine, Germantown and in other places, suffering losses but always exhibiting a high degree of courage and fortitude.
After the War, the 45th reduced to less than 100 all ranks, returned home to Nottingham. The citizens of Nottingham requested that the Regiment should be called "The Nottinghamshire Regiment" and His Majesty agreed, providing 300 men were recruited in the county. With volunteers from the Nottinghamshire Militia and the influence of local landowners, the stipulated number was soon obtained. Between 1786 - 1802 the 45th was in the West Indies, almost constantly engaged in fighting the French for possession of these Islands; Martinique, Dominica and Les Saints being captured. Unfortunately yellow fever took a far heavier toll of the Regiment than did the enemy. After a brief period at home the 45th was soon on active service again. The Regiment was despatched to South America in 1807 where it took part in the attack on Buenos Aires, when every man of the small British Force had to fight for his life in the street-fighting that followed the capture of the town. After this action the Regiment embarked for home.
The following year the 45th became part of the Peninsular Army under Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington. They were present at the opening battle at Rolica in 1808 and served continuously until the siege of Toulouse in 1814, winning no less than thirteen battle honours.At the Battle of Talavera, the French flung themselves in dense masses upon the advanced posts of the British Army, which were held by the 45th who opposed them with such firmness and courage that the enemy troops were firstchecked and then brought to a standstill. Retiring slowly, the 45th held up the enemy attack so completely that all the sting was taken out of it and the British were able to win a great victory. Wellington, describing the battle in his official report said "Upon this occasion the steadiness and discipline of the 45th Regiment were conspicious".The nickname 'The Old Stubborns' was bestowed upon the Regiment for its conspicious bravery at Talavera.
In the Battle of Busaco, the 45th again distinguished itself, leading the attack on a dense column of the enemy troops which had reached the crest of the hill. The attack, made with the bayonet, was so fierce that the enemy was driven pell-mell down the slopes, leaving some hundreds killed and wounded. Wellington wrote in his despatches "I can assure you I never witnessed a more gallant charge".
In the siege of Badajoz, a detachment of the 45th succeeded in getting into the castle first and the red coatee of an officer of the 45th was hoisted in place of the French flag to indicate the fall of the castle. This feat is commemorated on the 6th April each year when red jackets are flown on Regimental flag staffs and at Nottingham Castle.
At Vimiera, Fuentes d'Onor, Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca, Vittoria, the forcing of the passes in the Pyrenees and at Nivelle, Orthes and Toulouse, the Regiment forming part of Picton's famous 3rd Division, added to its reputation and was recognised as being amongst the best of Wellington's veteran units. When the Campaign ended, the 45th returned to its home county to recruit.
The Regiment was serving in Ceylon in 1819 and from there went to India and took part in the first Burmese War of 1824 - 25. This was an arduous campaign - dense tracts of steamy jungles had to be traversed and a number of strongly constructed and stubbornly defended stockades stormed and destroyed. This campaign added the Battle Honour 'AVA' to the Colours. The Regiment returned home from India in 1838.
The 45th was split into a 1st and a reserve battalion in 1843 and the 1st Battalion was sent to South Africa where it played a prominent part in the defence of Natal during the Boer disturbances. The Reserve Battalion saw active service in South America in the defence of Montevideo in 1846 and also served in South Africa during the Kaffir War of 1846 - 47 before being re-absorbed in the 1st Battalion. Reduced to a single battalion regiment for some years and distributed between the Eastern Frontier and Natal until 1859, the 45th took part in the Kaffir War of 1851 - 53 and the expedition across the Orange River.
CHANGE IN TITLE
The secondary title "The Sherwood Foresters" was granted to the 45th in 1866 by Queen Victoria; the Nottinghamshire Militia having previously been granted the title of 'The Royal Sherwood Foresters' in 1813. However, it should be noted that in the Historical Record of The Royal Sherwood Foresters by Captain A E Lawson Lowe published 1872 "At Agincourt, in 1415, the Nottinghamshire Archers again played a prominent part, and there, for the first time on record, they fought as "Sherwood Foresters", their banner being thus quaintly described by Drayton:-
"Old Nottingham, an archer clad in green, Under a tree, with his drawn bow that stood, Which in a chequered flag far off was seen; It was the picture of bold Robin Hood."
In 1867, the 45th formed part of the British force which under General Sir Robert Napier (later Lord Napier of Magdala) fought in the Abyssinian campaign. This was one of the most remarkable exploits in the history of the British army. Magdala, the capital, was a fortified city perched on the summit of a huge rock with almost perpendicular sides and approachable on one side only. It was situated four hundred roadless miles from the coast in the midst of a great range of mountains, over which the troops had to climb and in some places had to haul their guns and limbers up by ropes. The 45th marched 300 miles in 24 days and actually covered 70 miles in 4 days over a mountain pass 10,000 feet high to be present at the capture of Magdala.