Unit History: 45th Foot (Nottinghamshire)
In 1731 off the Florida coast the British brig ‘Rebecca’ was boarded by a Spanish patrol boat. The commander Julio Leon Fandino, proceeded to cut off the left ear of Captain Robert Jenkins who was accused of smuggling. The incident was perceived as a great insult and along with other ‘Spanish Depredations upon British Subjects’ led to ‘The War of Jenkins’s Ear’ (1739-41). It was under these tensions that the 45th was formed. It was initially raised by Daniel Houghton as the 56th Regiment of Foot but rose in rank to the 45th in 1748 after the disbandment of several Regiments.
In 1755 the Regiment was deployed to Canada and saw its first actions in North America during the Seven Years War (1754–1763) fighting the French as part of General Wolfe’s force at the Capture of the Louisborg Fortress (1758) and the city of Quebec (1759). The Regiment remained in Canada and was once again in action at the outbreak of the American War of Independence (1775-83) fighting at the Battles of Long Island, Philadelphia, Brandywine Creek and Germantown. The 45th was reduced to just 100 Officers and men after two years of fighting and returned to England to rebuild. While billeted in Nottingham the citizens successfully petition King George III to add ‘Nottinghamshire’ to the Regiment’s name in return for the recruitment of 300 local men. The Regiment was deployed twice to the West Indies in 1786 and again in 1795, both times suffering heavy losses due to disease.
The Regiment served during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) fighting at the Battles Rolica, Vimiera, Talavera, Busaco, Fuentes d'Onor, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajos, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Orthes, Tolouse and Peninsula. The Regiment went on to serve during the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-26) and a detachment of 100 men were involved in the ‘battle’ of Bossenden Wood (1838) suppressing a small riot of Kentish labourers.
In 1843 the 45th served in South Africa during the Cape Frontier Wars (1811-1858), when the native Xhosa tribes rose in armed rebellion against continuing European rule and the Orange River Expedition. In 1865 the Regiment successfully petitioned to have the title of ‘Sherwood Foresters’ added and became the 45th (Nottinghamshire) (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment of Foot. In 1868 the Regiment took part in the Expedition to Abyssinia against the Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros II who had imprisoned several missionaries and two representatives of the British government and the expedition was described as ‘one of the most expensive affairs of honour in history.’ The Regiment also served during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
In 1881 it was merged with the 95th Regiment of Foot to form Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment).