DOUGLAS WILLIAM ARTHUR NICHOLLS

Born: 1896, Westleton, Suffolk.

Died: 10th April 1917; 21; KiA – Tilloy- les-Mofflaines, Arras.

Douglas’s Commanding Officer wrote to his parents: “It will please you to know that your son attended Holy Communion on Easter Sunday, the day before going into action. We buried him close to the spot he so gallantly fought for. A wooden cross was placed at the head of the grave, on which was written his name, regiment and date. Barbed wire has been put up round the grave.”

Residence: St. Mary at the Quay Vicarage, Foundation Street, Ipswich.

Occupation: University Student.

Enlistment Date: 7th December 1914.

Date of Entry Therein: 27th October 1915 – France.

 

Douglas obtained a Commission as 2nd Lieutenant, Suffolk Regiment on the 7th December 1914.

Promoted – Captain – January 1917.

 

Wounded at the Battle of the Somme, near Ovilliers – 3rd July 1916.

 

Rank: Captain

Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 7th Battalion.

 

Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & 1915 Star + Military Cross For conspicuous bravery during an assault when he showed great coolness under heavy machine-gun fire in correcting by compass bearings the direction of an assaulting wave which would have lost its way in the darkness. He was wounded later when rallying his men to lead them forward again.

25th August 1916 – Gazette issue 8464 Military Cross: for Distinguished Service

 

Memorial Reference:IMG_6758

Bay 4,

Arras Memorial,

Pas de Calais,

France.

 

CENSUS

 

1901   Vicarage, Westleton, Suffolk.

 

Douglas was 5 years old and living with his parents & siblings.

Francis Hamilton Nicholls, 46, CofE Clergyman, born Islington, London.

Annie Garland Nicholls (nee Phillips), 40, born Falkland Islands.

Dorothy Jessie Nicholls, 13, born Westleton, Suffolk.

Hedley Francis Nicholls, 10, born Westleton.

Philip Claude Nicholls, 7, born Westleton.

1 governess

1 nurse

1 general domestic servant.

 

1911   St. Mary at the Quay Vicarage, Foundation Street, Ipswich.

 

Douglas was 15 years old and living with parents & brothers.

Francis, 56, a Clergyman – Established Church.

Annie, 50.

Bernard Cecil Hamilton Nicholls, 21, University Student.

Hedley, 20, an Engineers Apprentice.

Philip, 17.

2 servants.

 

Douglas was educated at Ipswich School – entered September 1906 and was placed in Form I. He was made Prefect in June 1913, and Captain and Head Prefect and Editor of the School magazine from September 1913, till he left in July 1914. He joined the School O.T.C. in 1909 and attained the rank of Col.-Sergeant. Attended camps in 1911, 1912, 1913 and 1914. Certificate “A” in 1912. Member of the Literary & Dramatic Society since 1911. Deputy Vice-President September 1913. Inter-Science 1913. In the previous December, he won a Williams Exhibition for Natural Science at Balliol College, Oxford, but owing to the war Douglas never actually took up residence.

 

Soldiers’ Effects to the Reverend Francis Hamilton Nicholls – father.

 

On the 27th February 1922, Douglas’s medals were sent to his father the Rev. Francis Hamilton Nicholls, of St. Mary’s Quay, Ipswich.

 

Probate to the Reverend Francis Hamilton Nicholls – father.

 

Evening Star – Friday, 20th April 1917 – CAPTAIN D. W. A. NICHOLLS, M.C.  Captain Douglas W. A. Nicholls, M.C., Suffolk Regiment, whose death in action was announced yesterday, was educated at Ipswich School, where for three years he was head boy. Exhibitioner of Balliol College, Oxford, he joined the Suffolk Regiment in December 1914 and was wounded in the Battle of the Somme in July 1916, gaining the Military Cross. He obtained his Captaincy in January this year.

Writing of him, his Colonel says: “He was killed at the head of his company, just as the position was taken. He showed the greatest coolness, courage, and initiative throughout the action. His loss is a great one to the battalion and Army. He was a splendid fellow in every way, and very popular with officers and men. His devotion to duty, pluck, and self-sacrifice helped considerably his company to hold a position which was under heavy enfilade fire. We buried him close to the spot he had so gallantly fought for.

The deceased officer was the youngest of four brothers, sons of the Reverend Francis H. Nicholls, vicar of St. Mary Quay, Ipswich, all serving in His Majesty’s Forces. Bernard, the eldest, who was an Oxford B.A. and enlisted in the ranks; Claude, who has been a prisoner in Germany since Mons; and Hedley, who has seen considerable service in the Flying Corps.

“Captain Douglas Nicholls, “ writes a friend of his, “had neither the instincts nor the physical attributes of a born soldier, and it was only a sense of duty which prompted him to offer his service to the Army, and which enabled him to act as a soldier with distinction.”

The “Gazette” record of his winning the Military Cross stated: “During an assault, he showed great coolness under heavy machinegun fire in correcting by compass bearings the direction of an assaulting wave which had lost its way in the darkness. He was wounded late when rallying men to lead them forward again.”

 

Douglas is also remembered on his father’s headstone at St. Peter’s Churchyard, Westleton, Suffolk and the Chapel war memorial at Ipswich School and  St. Mary at the Quay Church, Ipswich, and the Chapel Passage West Wall, Balliol College, Oxford.

 

IMG_4730 (2)

& Chapel Passage West Wall, Balliol College, Oxford.

Suffolk reg

Suffolk Regiment, 7th Battalion:

Suffolk Regiment battalion movements

Friends of The Suffolk Regiment

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