top of page

Roughnecks of Sherwood Forest

Oklahoma sculptor Jay O’Meilia’s Oil Patch Warrior monument to Lloyd Noble’s Sherwood Forest roughnecks. Dedicated in 2001 at Ardmore’s Memorial Square. An identical statue stands in Nottinghamshire, England, near where the Oklahomans performed their historic service to the cause of freedom. Courtesy American Oil & Gas Historical Society.


Ardmore oilman Lloyd Noble’s legend grew during World War II. The process began during the darkest hours of the conflict, which had raged for three years. The Axis Powers continued to pile up victory after victory across the world. Noble, meanwhile, recruited forty-four seasoned drillers, derrickmen, roustabouts, and motormen in late 1942 from his own Tulsa-based Noble Drilling Corp. and Oklahoma City-based Fain-Porter Drilling Co., for a historic, death-defying mission.

Their assignment: traverse the U-boat-riddled Atlantic Ocean on a miserably crowded ship and sink enough quality new wells in the shadowed Sherwood Forest cloisters of Robin Hood fame to save Great Britain. That nation stood at the brink of defeat against Nazi Germany due to battlefield losses and depleted fuel that was needed to power its army, navy, and air force.