Private 16/73 Reginald Alexander Nicholls

Nicholls Reginald 96 400x600

Died of Wounds on Monday, 14th May 1917, age 23.
Buried in Grave XXV. B. 11. at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

15th Bn., Royal Warwickshire Regiment. 13th Brigade of 5th Division.

Son of William and Eliza Jane Nicholls, of 8a Ballfields, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Great Bridge, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: West Bromwich.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Luke's memorials. Also listed on the lost Palethorpe’s Roll of Honour.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/504395/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
11 Fisher Street, Greets Green, West Bromwich, Staffs.
William Nicholls (52, General Labourer in Iron Foundry, born Tipton), his wife Eliza J. (age 51, born Tipton), and their four children: Thomas (23), John F. (15), James E. (13), and Reginald A. (7, born West Bromwich).

1911 Census
8a Ballfields, Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
William Nicholls (62, General Labourer in Bridge & Girder Works, born Tipton), his wife Eliza J. Nicholls (61, born Tipton), and 3 of their 7 surviving children of 10: John Frederick (25, Wood Sawyer, born West Bromwich), James Ernest (23, Wood Sawyer's Assistant, born West Bromwich), and Reginald Alexander (17, Messenger at Sausage & Pork Pie Manufacturer, born West Bromwich).

Personal Data

None Available.

Action resulting in his death

As Reg Nicholls died at Etaples from wounds, the incident resulting in the wounds would have been some days earlier, as he would have moved through the casualty clearing chain before arriving at Etaples.

Terry Carter's remarkable book "Birmingham Pals" records an attack by the 15th Royal Warwicks (2nd Birmingham Pals) on the 9th May:- "The 15th Royal Warwicks were involved in an assault on Fresnoy (Editor: NE of Arras, near Oppy) beginning at 02.00 on 9th May. Before the men even got to the German positions many casualties were caused by shellfire catching them whilst crossing No-Man's Land. Despite these early losses, the men of the 15th Royal Warwicks reached their objective in and around the village of Fresnoy; but because they were weak in numbers and both flanks in the air; he remaining men had to pull out and return to the jumping-off line. During this failed attack, the battalion lost 206 men; sixty of these were killed."

It is probable that this attack was when Reg Nicholls received the wounds which led to his death 5 days later on 14th May. The 15th Royal Warwicks had 70 men killed during May 1917, 51 of these on the 9th May.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 19th May 1917
A popular young employee of Palethorpes Ltd, in Private Reg Nicholls of the Birmingham City Battalion, has died of wounds in France. He was in the office of the firm, and joined up soon after the outbreak of war. His parents, who reside at 8a Ballfields, Horseley Heath, received a letter to say their son was badly wounded, and quite unexpectedly received another communication to say he had passed away. He was the first of the office staff to give his life in the great cause, and the second from the works. Two other employees have lost a leg in the war, and one has started to work again.