Unit: 1/7 Notts & Derby Sherwood Foresters
Commemorated: Lijssenthoek Cemetery Belgium
Born at Old Woodhall, site Lincolnshire, Arthur was the son of Arthur W. and Annie Daft, Coal Merchants, of Ivanhoe, Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire. Arthur Gervase Daft was 23 years of age when he died from wounds received whilst in the line at Sanctuary Wood. He sustained his wounds on the 30th July 1915. At the outbreak of war, Arthur was resident in Canada. He joined a Canadian Regiment but the regiment was disbanded. He at once returned home to enlist in the Sherwood Foresters. His Father served with the Lincolnshire Yeomanry whilst his younger brother served as a farrier with the 1st Field Ambulance Corps.
On his return home, Arthur enlisted into the 7th Battalion The Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment. This was a pre-war territorial regiment and originally formed as the 1st Nottinghamshire (Robin Hood) Rifle Volunteers in 1859. It became a volunteer battalion of the Sherwood Foresters in 1881, retaining its rifle volunteer title. By 1900 the battalion consisted of 18 companies and was involved in the Boer War. Both the 1/7th and 2/7th Robin Hoods fought on the Western Front throughout the war.
Arthur left for overseas service on the 25th June 1915. By the end of July that year, we find Arthur’s battalion engaged as a support battalion in Maple Copse, just east of Ypres. On the morning of the 30th July, the Germans had just attacked the whole of the English trench line with liquid fire and driven the English out. 2 companies of the Robin Hood’s were therefore ordered to return from Maple Copse to the front line in Sanctuary Wood. They would be involved in a counter attack on the former British lines now captured by the Germans. In readiness for this, the Robin Hoods took up a line across the north edge of the wood. The artillery and rifle fire became very heavy at this time and continued until well into the 31st July. During this period, in preparation for the counter attack, and in establishing their position in the wood, Arthur’s battalion suffered heavily, losing about 60 other ranks, either killed or wounded, of which one was Arthur. Arthur died from his wounds about a month later, on the 1st September, by which time he would have been in a field hospital, probably near to where he now rests at Lijssenthoek, Belgium.