Private 10839 William Nicklin

Nicklin William 96 434x600

Died of Wounds on Friday, 21st July 1916, age 23.
Buried in Grave XIV. D. 15. at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

'D' Company of 6th Bn., Leicestershire Regiment. 110th Brigade of 21st Division.

Husband of Mrs Nicklin, of 11, Moat Rd., Summerhill, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 29th July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/504405/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
1 Brown Street, Tipton, Staffs.
George Nicklin (65, Coal Dealer, born Tipton), his wife Anna (62, born Tipton), and their 3 children: Daniel (24, Coal Dealer, born Tipton), Thomas (18, Colliery Labourer, born Tipton), and William (16, Colliery Labourer, born Tipton).

1911 Census
1 Brown Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Anna Nicklin, now a widow, and some of her children still living at 1 Brown Street, but William was not living there and cannot be traced.

Personal Data

William Nicklin enlisted with the Leicesters on 24th August 1914 at Wolverhampton when he was 28 years of age, and employed as a miner. He was 5ft 2½ inches tall, weighed 128 pounds with a 37-inch chest, and his physical development was described as 'good'. He had a fair complexion, grey eyes, and light brown hair, was Church of England. He was married to Eliza Jane Nicklin, and they had one son - George Anthony Nicklin, born in 1914, and they lived at 4 Court, Union Street, Tipton.

His disciplinary record was far from unblemished. On 28th May 1915 he was deprived of 7 days pay for 'misconduct', and for the same offence in June 1915 he was sentenced to 14 days Field Punishment No.1. Whilst in France on 10th February 1916 he was deprived of 4 days pay for 'misconduct', and for the same offence on 16th April 1914 he was deprived of a further 4 days pay.

William's wife Eliza was living at 4 Walton Street, Tipton in November 1916, but by the time William's medals were being despatched in 1920 she had re-married and was Mrs Chalstrey living at 11 Moat Road, Tipton.

Action resulting in his death

The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, the second phase of the Battle of the Somme, began on 14h July 1916. As part of 21st Division the 6th Leicesters were at the north edge of the newly-captured Mametz Wood facing the south-east corner of Bazentin-le-Petit Wood, this wood plus the village of Bazentin-le-Petit were their objectives for the day. The attack commenced at 3.25am, the 6th Leicesters quickly took the German front line trench but began to take heavy casualties from machine guns positioned in platforms in the trees, and in the village itself. At 6.05am the Leicesters stormed the village of Bazentin-le-Petit, and had reached the north of the village by 6.30am. The remainder of the day was spent trying to defend this line against numerous German counter-attacks which saw severe casualties for both side.

The next day, 15th July, was a confused day with part of 21st Division withdrawing on a false rumour that they were being relieved, even though there were no troops to relieve them. They were rounded up and returned to their positions. For most of the day the 6th Leicesters held their position to the north of Bazentin-le-Petit Wood where they were constantly under fire, and had to repulse a number of German counter-attacks.

During 15th July 1916, William received a Gun Shot Wound to the right thigh, he was treated at 21st Field Ambulance and then at 34th Casualty Clearing Station at Vecquemont, about 7 miles east of Amiens. He was moved to 23rd General Hospital at Etaples where he died from his wounds on 21st July 1916, it appears that his wounds had become infected with gas infection, in effect gangrene which had a high mortality rate. William was buried in Etaples Military Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings