Private 16335 Thomas William Nicholls

Killed in Action on Saturday, 25th September 1915, age 22.
Commemorated on Panel 73 to 76 of Loos Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

2nd Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 6th Brigade of 2nd Division.

Born: Princes End, Enlisted: Warrington, Resident: Dutton, Lancs..

First landed France & Flanders, 25th May 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1765719/

Genealogical Data

Thomas W. Nicholls was born in 1893 to the un-married Patience Nicholls, she married Alfred Jones in 1896. Thomas is recorded as Thomas Jones on the 1901 census, but as Thomas W Nicholls, step-son, on the 1911 census.

1901 Census
4 Court 2 House Newhall Street, Princes End, Tipton, Staffs.
Alfred Jones (28, Dipper in Galvanising Works, born Tipton), his wife Patience (26, born Tipton), and their 5 children: Thomas (8, born Tipton), Alfred (5, born Tipton), Mary Ann (3, born Tipton), Edward (a, born Tipton), and John William (1 month, born Tipton).

1911 Census
5 Foundry Street, Princes End, Tipton, Staffs.
Alfred Jones (39, Galvanising Dipper, born Tipton), his wife Patience (37, born Tipton), his step-son Thomas W. Nicholls (18, Taker-out on corrugated, born Tipton), and their 6 surviving children of 7: Alfred Jones (15, Boiler Works, born Tipton), Mary Ann (13, born Tipton), Edward (11, born Tipton), John W. (10, born Tipton), Abraham (7, born Tipton), and Maria (2, born Tipton).

Personal Data

At the time of Thomas's enlistment, which was probably in 1914, he was living in Dutton, near Warrrington, Lancashire. He enlisted in the South Staffs, arriving in France on 25th May 1915. By this stage, the 2nd South Staffs had already fought in the Battle of Festubert (15th May 1915), and their next significant action was to be the Battle of Loos commencing 25th September 1915 on which day Thomas Nicholls was to be killed.

Action resulting in his death

2nd South Staffs in the Battle of Loos.
The 2nd South Staffs was positioned near Cuinchy, north of Loos and to the west of La Bassée. The divisional objective was to attack either side of the La Bassée canal, creating a defensive flank for the 9th Division to its south and protect them from German offensive action and fire from this area. The 2nd South Staffs were to attack just to the south of the La Bassée canal after release of gas. The Royal Engineers thought conditions unfavourable for gas release, but the order to release the gas was confirmed. The gas put 130 men out of action before the advance started.

The attack, along narrow paths across heavily cratered ground, was unsuccessful. Although only 200 yards wide it contained huge craters. The only progress was a party of 2nd South Staffs men who moved along the canal banks towards the German Embankment Redoubt where their advance was halted. At 9.00am there was a further 30 minute artillery bombardment but to no avail as the German strong-points were not destroyed, and by 9.45am action was suspended for the day.

47 men of the 2nd South Staffs were killed on the 25th September, this included 3 Tipton men - Privates Thomas Nicholls, Albert Tromans, and Arthur Wood. None of these men have a known grave and are commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Dud Corner.

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