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  • Commemorated on the Loos Memorial, France. (www.cwgc.org)
Person Details
Shirebrook Derbyshire
John was the fourth son of Joseph and Ellen Nicholson (née Booth). His father Joseph was born in Gringley on the Hill, Nottinghamshire, in 1866 (O/N/D East Retford). His birth was registered as Joseph N Robinson and he was baptised (Joseph Nicholson) at North Wheatley SS Peter and Paul in August the following year. His parents were Thomas and Hannah Nicholson (née Robinson) who were married in 1866 (O/N/D Gainsborough). His mother Ellen was born in Mansfield Woodhouse in 1867, the daughter of Henry and Catherine Booth. Henry, a farmer, his wife and their children were living in Mansfield Woodhouse in 1881. John Nicholas Robinson and Ellen were married at Mansfield Woodhouse St Edmund King & Martyr in February 1890 and had six children, all of whom were born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, and the five eldest baptised at St Edmund (father Joseph Robinson-Nicholson): Thomas Henry b. 1890, Claude b. 1892, Joseph b. 1894, John b. 1895 bap. 5 June 1895, Carl b. 1898 and Margaret Dorothy b. 1901. In 1891 Joseph (24), a farmer, and Ellen (24) were living in Shirebrook with their infant son Thomas. Also in the household were two of Joseph's siblings, Annie (22) and William (17) an agricultural labourer, as well as a farm servant and two domestic servants., Ellen's unmarried sister Catherine, was a visitor. By 1901 Joseph, described as a retired farmer, and Ellen were living on Main Street, Shirebrook, with their sons Thomas, Claude, Joseph, John and Carl. Also in the household were a domestic servant and a farm labourer. The only daughter, Margaret Dorothy, was born later that year. Ellen was widowed by 1911 when she was recorded on the census as head of household, occupation farmer, living at Walnut Tree House, Shirebrook, Four of her six children were in the home on the night of the census: Claude, John, Carl and Dorothy. Her eldest son, Thomas, was an electrical engineer (stockkeeper) was living in Wallsend, Newcastle, one of three boarders in the household of Alice Williamson, a widow. Joseph was living at Warren Farm, Mansfield, an assistant ('pupil working on farm') to the farmer, Thomas Newton. The notices of John's death in the local paper in 1915 refer to him as Ellen's third son and one of four sons, all of whom were serving. However, there is no evidence that any of John' four brothers, Thomas, Claude, Joseph and Carl, predeceased him; all have been traced either on post-1915 marriage records or the 1939 England & Wales Register. John's youngest brother, Carl, attested in August 1915. He was still living with his mother at Walnut Tree Farm and was a motor mechanic with The Portland Motor Co. Ltd, Mansfield. Carl served with the Army Service Corps MT (M2.117372 Private) and served in Salonika (913 Coy) from 17 May 1917 to 27 March 1919. He left Salonika on 28 March arriving in the UK on 11 April for demobilisation on 9 May 1919. No service records have yet been traced for the other brothers, although there is a record of a Blackwell Tribunal in November 1916 which heard the case of Claude Nicholson (23), farmer, of Shirebrook, which suggested that conscription had been deferred. Claude was recorded in 1939 as a farmer at Walnut Tree Farm. The widowed Ellen was living with her married daughter Dorothy Reay and her husband (m, 1928) in Blackwell, Derbyshire, in 1939. Ellen died in Shirebrook in February 1953 (Probate: 'Nicholson Ellen or Robinson Ellen Nicholson).
Attended Malbtby’s School, Apprenticed to Messrs, Hameyer and Co., ironmongers.
26 Sep 1915
1765737 - CWGC Website
Residence Mansfield. Enlisted Shirebrook.
1st Bn King's Royal Rifle Corps
1st Bn King's Royal Rifle Corps According to a newspaper report of his death, John Nicholson probably went to France only a month before his death. He was killed in the trenches by a shot to the head on 26 September 1915, the second day of the Battle of Loos. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial (Panel 101 and 102). He qualified for the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. CWGC - History of Loos Memorial (extract): Dud Corner Cemetery stands almost on the site of a German strong point, the Lens Road Redoubt, captured by the 15th (Scottish) Division on the first day of the battle. The name "Dud Corner" is believed to be due to the large number of unexploded enemy shells found in the neighbourhood after the Armistice. The Loos Memorial commemorates over 20,000 officers and men who have no known grave, who fell in the area from the River Lys to the old southern boundary of the First Army, east and west of Grenay, from the first day of the Battle of Loos to the end of the war.' (www.cwgc.org) The following is an extract from the National Army Museum website: 'The Battle of Loos took place on the Western Front between 25 September and 13 October 1915. At the time, it was the largest British offensive of the First World War and witnessed the Army's first use of gas. On 25 September 1915 the Allies launched a new joint attack on the Western Front. The French went on the offensive in Champagne and Artois, while the British fought at Loos. The operation there saw the first major attack by the volunteer soldiers of the New Armies. Earlier in the war, the British condemned Germany’s use of gas on the battlefield, but in seeking a new way to break through they decided to use chlorine gas for the first time to support their advance at Loos. The gas was released from cylinders by special units from the Royal Engineers and hour before the infantry attacked. Unfortunately, the weather proved fickle for the British and in some places the gas blew back into their trenches. In other parts of the line, the gas lingered in no-man’s land causing confusion. Despite heavy casualties resulting from uncut wire, by the end of the first day the troops had succeeded in breaking into the enemy positions near Loos and Hulluch. Supply and communications problems, along with the late arrival of reinforcements, meant that the breakthrough could not be exploited over the following days. The attacks ground to a halt and by 28 September the Germans had pushed the British back to their starting points.' (www.nam.ac.uk/explore/battle-loos)
CWGC: 'Son of Joseph and Ellen Nicholson, of Walnut Tree House, Shirebrook, Derbyshire.' Mansfield Reporter, ‘Roll of Honour’, 8 October 1915: ‘Nicholson. Somewhere in France, on the 25th ult., (sic) Corpl. John Nicholson, King’s Royal Rifles, aged 19, third (sic) son of Mrs Joseph Nicholson, of Shirebrook. Killed instantaneously by shot in the head.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uki Mansfield Reporter, 8 October 1915: ‘Corporal Nicholson, of Shirebrook, Killed. Shot in the Trenches. Corporal John (Jack) Nicholson, King’s Royal Rifles, was killed in action in the big engagement on the 25th ult., (sic) in France. He is one of four sons of Mrs Joseph Nicholson, of Shirebrook, and all are serving their country. A month ago he left England, and was in the trenches when he was shot in the head. The deceased is a grandson of Mrs Booth, of Mansfield Woodhouse, who has eight grandsons serving. He was educated at Malbtby’s School, and was apprenticed to Messrs, Hameyer and Co., ironmongers. His two comrades who wee in the trenches along with him, Harold Winfield, son of Mr Arthur Winfield, Leeming-street, and Sims, of Pleasley Hill, sent the sad information.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Note: Harold Arthur Winfield transferred from the KRRC to the Machine Gun Corps (71200 L/Cpl) and was killed on 24 March 1918 (see record on this Roll of Honour).
Remembered on


  • Commemorated on the Loos Memorial, France. (www.cwgc.org)
    John Nicholson - Commemorated on the Loos Memorial, France. (www.cwgc.org)