Nicholson, Edward Hills

Lieutenant Colonel / Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)

1880 - 1918

Edward Hills Nicholson was born 20 May 1880, the eldest son of Alfred James Nicholson from Wokingham and Letitia, daughter of Edward Hills. His brothers, Second Lieutenant Bruce Hills Nicholson was killed in action at Arras on 3 May 1917 and Sub-Lieutenant Victor Hills Nicholson was killed in action at sea on 9 August 1917 when HMS Recruit was torpedoed in the North Sea. Another brother, Captain Walter Hills Nicholson M.C., also served with the Royal Fusiliers and was killed while serving with the RAFVR in 1943.

Edward came to Winchester College from the Reverend J W Spurling's school at Crowthorne in September 1893 and was in D House, Fearon's. He rowed for his house and left school in the summer of 1898.

He served for a period in the Wiltshire Militia before transferring to the Regular Army and the 2nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, in 1900, going out shortly after to take part in the Boer War until May 1902. He was promoted Lieutenant in December 1903 and Captain in 1909.

Edward married Ethel Frances Henry, elder daughter of Cecil Henry, of Drumlamph, County Derry, in 1912, and their son, Guy, was born in India in February 1914.

He was still in India when war broke out and at the end of the year was appointed Adjutant to the East Indian Railway Volunteers. However, he was ordered home at the end of June 1915 and settled with his family in Hove. By September he had been promoted to Major and proceeded to France, from there being posted to Salonika in northern Greece in October. He remained there for two years, and was awarded the D.S.O. and a Bar and mentioned three times in Despatches. Edward took command of his Battalion, the 3rd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, as acting Lieutenant Colonel, in December 1916 and returned to the Western Front in July 1918.

3RF had marched through the night of 3/4 October and by dawn were between Le Catelet and Vendhuile, where their objective was the German stronghold at Richmond Copse. They succeeded in taking this, with some 300 prisoners, mainly machine gunners, but found themselves increasingly isolated from other British troops and were forced to retire almost to their starting point. The action had been very costly in terms of men lost, ten officers had been killed, including Nicholson and Lieutenant E C Nepean (F 1907-1911) (see individual entry). Nicholson is buried in Grave I.A.30 of the Unicorn Cemetery at Vendhuile.

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