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Nottingham's Military Legacy (Paperback)

Local History British History Military/Maritime/Historical Military History

By Gerry van Tonder
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Military Legacy
Pages: 128
ISBN: 9781526707581
Published: 17th July 2017

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Two years after landing on English soil in 1066, William of Normandy erected a strategic castle at Nottingham, thereby creating an enduring military nexus through to the modern era.

On 22 August 1642, in his endeavours to quash Parliamentarian insurrection in the Midlands, King Charles raised his standard over Nottingham Castle, a rallying call to all Royalists to support their monarch. Loyalty to the Crown was, however, divided, and before long Parliamentarian forces garrisoned the castle. Late in the eighteenth century, a town troop of Yeomanry was raised in Nottingham, the foundation of the future South Notts Yeomanry. The yeomanry assisted regular troops by helping restore peace during the so-called Bread Riots of 1795, at a time when many of the town’s men had been committed to military duty during the French Revolutionary Wars. Five troops of the town’s yeomanry were again called up for service during the civil unrest of the Luddite Riots of 1811–18. This pattern of service continued over several decades. Evolving into a regiment, the yeomanry were repeatedly deployed against civil dissenters – the Nottingham Riot, and the Reform Bill and Chartist Riots.

After seeing combat during the Peninsula Wars in 1815, in the latter half of the 1800s, the 59th (2nd Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot formed part of a British invasion force into Afghanistan from India, to curb Russian interventionism in this remote and desolate region.
The outbreak of war in distant South Africa in 1899 placed enormous strain on Britain’s military capability. From Nottingham and other county towns, regiments of yeomanry, Hussars and Sherwood Rangers were dispatched to the hostile environment of the African veld. Nottingham’s sons then answered a call to arms in their thousands, only to also perish in their thousands on the Godforsaken soils of France and Flanders during the holocaust that was the Great War. Through the Second World War to the present, Nottingham’s military units underwent successive phases of metamorphosis – from infantry to anti-aircraft and searchlight formations, followed by the relatively recent absorption into a regional entity: the Mercian Regiment. Today, Nottingham’s castle and surrounds bear the symbols of a rich and diverse military legacy – symbols of remembrance, of tribute, and of a tableau of military pride from ancient times.

This remarkable account of Nottinghamshire's military heritage may come as no surprise to its citizens, but does to me - I know some parts of the city by virtue of having relatives there, but nothing of its military history, and this fine book is something of a revelation, the nature of which I shall not hesitate to share with those same relatives the next time I see them. Essential reading for enthusiasts and citizens of the county, of course.

Books Monthly

About Gerry van Tonder

Gerry van Tonder was born in Zimbabwe and came to Britain in 1999. He is a full-time historian and a published author. Specializing in military history, Gerry has authored Rhodesian Combined Forces Roll of Honour, 1966–1981; Book of Remembrance: Rhodesia Native Regiment and Rhodesian African Rifles; North of the Red Line (South African Defence Force’s border war), and the co-authored definitive Rhodesia Regiment, 1899–1981, a copy of which he presented to the regiment’s former colonel-in-chief, Her Majesty the Queen. Gerry has also written on British local history, including Derby in 50 Buildings, Chesterfield’s Military Heritage and Mansfield Through Time. He recently started with a series of Cold War titles and Echoes of the Coventry Blitz.

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Nottingham in the Great War (Paperback)

The years 1914-1918 cost many lives in the trenches of France and Belgium. Those trenches and the battles that were fought from them are well documented. But back home in towns and cities up and down the United Kingdom death and desperation were also apparent. Those left behind to carry on suffered from harsh winters, lack of food and fuel and flu epidemics. This is the story of the struggles of ordinary people with their everyday lives. It includes the opportunities presented to the criminal fraternity and the contribution that women made to the war effort by filling men's jobs and providing…

By Carol Lovejoy Edwards

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