Joffrey's War


A Sherwood Forester in the Great War

Geoffrey Ratcliff Husbands

Edited and Introduced by J M Bourne and Bob Bushaway

With a Foreword by Professor Peter Simkins MBE

Paperback (656 pg)

ISBN 978-0-9564439-7-7

Price: £15.99 (+ £3.50 p&p)

Private Goeffrey Husbands served with the Sherwood Foresters (Nottingham and Derbyshire) Regiment on the Western Front through the First World War. His account is unique. His is the voice of the ordinary British soldier, not that of the British officer, and he writes with the brilliance, immediacy and detachment of the participant observer. Not since David Jones’s In Parenthesis appeared has there been a more dramatic account in which the author was not the subject of his memoir.

Joffrey’s War will become the classic account of Kitchener’s Army, not of victims led to slaughter, but of men whose fierce sense of local pride and duty enabled them to face the challenge of war they perceived as threatening Britain’s sovereignty. Goeffrey Husbands joined the newly-raised 16th (Service) Battalion, the Sherwood Foresters (Nottingham and Derbyshire) Regiment, the Chatsworth Rifles, as one of the 2.5 million volunteers recruited in 1914-15. After being wounded at the Schwaben Redoubt on the Somme in October 1916, he returned to see further service with the 17th (Service) Battalion, the Sherwood Foresters (Nottingham and Derbyshire) Regiment, the Welbeck Rangers, and the 1/8th Sherwood Foresters, Territorial Force, in Flanders and Hill 70 before returning home sick in May 1918.

Husbands was born in Derby, educated at the Moravian Ockbrook School and was studying for the Civil Service entrance examinations when war began. He was 18½ when he enlisted in May 1915. After the War, he went on to achieve his ambition of joining the Ministry of Health and latterly the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance.

He was awarded the MBE in 1955.