Chesterfield's Military Heritage
Series: Military Heritage
- Gerry van Tonder
15th July 2016
Mention of this Derbyshire market town’s name invariably conjures up an image of an iconic landmark: the crooked church steeple. However, it also speaks of a military heritage built up over two millenia. The word chester itself is derived from the ancient Roman fort or castrum – military garrisons that peppered the English countryside during Roman Britain.
In 1266, at the Battle of Chesterfield, royal forces quashed a rebellion of local barons. Come the English Civil War 400 years later, anti-Royalist sentiment was again evident. Chesterfield deployed militia, together with a ‘company of foot’ from Derby, to defend the town from the king’s forces.
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, global conflicts attracted volunteers from throughout the Borough of Chesterfield. Egypt, South Africa and the Western Front became household names. In the Second World War, Chesterfield’s citizens, serving with battalions of the Sherwood Foresters, saw action in theatres across the world. So also came tales of acts of courage and bravery: names like Fred Greaves, Bernard Vann and Victor Robinson, alongside many others.