Remembrance Sunday

Today, I watched the ceremony at the Cenotaph in London. I remembered my dad who went to war on a horse. He was at the Second Battle of Ypres, and then wounded in 1916 by a German shell during the Battle of the Somme.

Charles William Nicholson c1912

CWNicholson 1914 Royal Field Artillery

Here are some notes from my research into his war records:

Charles William Nicholson

Drawn from WWI soldiers records at Kew Record Office

(Britain declares war on Germany 4.8.1914)

Volunteered at Newcastle 22.8.1914. and requested service with Durham Light Infantry but placed with Royal Field Artillery.

Enlisted as William Nicholson, shipyard rivetter, aged 21 yrs 3 months.

1 Depot RFA, attested and posted Gunner from 22.8.14.

169 Battery. Royal Field Artillery posted Gunner. 12.9.14

72 Brigade RFA posted Driver 1.10.14.

53 Bde RFA Army Corps, posted Driver 9.3.15

To duty British Expeditionary Force 26.6.15    70 Brigade, posted Driver 27.6. 1915,

Embarked Southampton 7.7.15 for France.

Disembarked Le Havre 8.7.15.

47 Field Ambulance, admitted: boils. 4.1.16

Rejoined unit 8.1.16

Leave to UK  11.1.16 to 19.1.16.

5C Res Brigade. Posted driver 24.1.1916.

Wounded in Action (70th Brigade RFA) 17.9.16. G.S.W. (gun shot wound… this term includes shellfire) Head. Right wrist & both knees.

1 Canadian Gen Hospital, Etaples 18.9.16.

Sailed for home (UK)  on Hospital Ship  “Salta” 24.9.16.*

Edinburgh War Hospital “suffered from severe headaches for some days”. In Edinburgh hospital 25.9.16 to 28.10.16.

KLMCH hospital Blackpool “massage, general physical exercises etc. In hospital 28.10.16 to 16.12.16.

No. 7 Depot Frome 20.12.16.

5C Reserve Brigade posted driver 5.1.17.

Embarked ship for Salonika 23.1.17.

Disembarked Salonika 3.2.17.

Base Salonika 23.3.17.

Posted 66 SAAC Field, 23.3.17.

32 Field Ambulance; admitted “NYD” (Diarrhoea)31.3.17.

4 Cam Gen Hospital; admitted “NYD” (Dysentery)1.4.17.

To 1 Con Dep. 25.6.17 (Dysentery)

Joined Gen Base Depot 12.7.17

To 98 Bgde.AC Field.30.7.17.

66 Field Ambulance NYU. 23.2.18.

43 GH. malaria 26.2.18.

2 Depot, diarrhoea 20.3.18.

To RAB Depot 25.3.18.

Joined 78 SAAC 7.4.18.

Embarked Salonika for UK 31.5.18.

For employment in National Shipyards (shipbuilding trades), authorised by GHQ

Disembarked UK  9.6.18.

Discharge Centre, No. 4 Depot 10.6.18.

Assigned to Wm. Gray & Co. Shipyards 4.7.18. West Hartlepool.

Transferred to Army reserve class W. from 11.7.18.

Discharged “not having suffered impairment during period of war14.12.18. Category Grade One. Private Address: 9 Lily St. Hartlepool.

notes * Hospital Ship “Salta” sunk by mine 10.4.17; 52 drowned.

Medals of CW Nicholson

He died in 1958 a few days after I had returned from a voyage to India. I was 19 at the time and I still miss him. I still keep his medals (he would not wear them).

About Harry Nicholson

I once bred Beveren rabbits in all colours. Today, I'm an enameller who works with a kiln, fusing pictures in glass onto copper. On Amazon is my novel, 'Tom Fleck', set in the North of England of 1513 - the year of Flodden. A sequel to 'Tom Fleck' is 'The Black Caravel' published in 2016. My anthology of poems came out in 2015: 'Wandering About.' Recently I published memoirs of my time in the Merchant Navy: 'The Best of Days' and 'You'll See Wonders" I've a blog of poems, stories and art at:
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16 Responses to Remembrance Sunday

  1. Mike Patrick says:

    So much of his story is of illness and injury. Illness incapacitated many more than war wounds, but most often they were brought back to health and pushed back into the fray. Your accounting portrayed an honorable man who did his duty to God and country.

  2. Ina says:

    The facts of his war experiences sommed up say more perhaps than a story could tell. Your father was sent to unknown terror. A part of history that should not be forgotten. Those photo’s are amazing.

    • Thanks, Ina. There were four friends – all in reserved shipyard trades (they did not have to go), three volunteered but survived. The fourth was prevailed upon by his mother to stay in the shipyard – he was killed in the street by a shell from one of the Kaiser’s battle-cruisers.

  3. Tilly Bud says:

    So much more emotion created by what you didn’t say, Harry. You must be so proud of him.

    • My uncles and him never talked about it in front of me. I understood at an early age that it was a dark time for them and should not be asked about. So I had to go to Ypres myself, to try to ‘feel’ the place.

  4. earlybird says:

    The gaps between the lines got to me. The knowledge of some of what he must have gone through between those recorded ‘events’.

    Really interesting and moving.

    • He said the voyage through Biscay was rough. The horses were sea-sick and he had to clean up. In Salonika it was so hot he fried eggs on the rocks. That is all he ever told me about – it except that you could never be certain whose side the Serbs and Bulgars were on.

  5. Susannah says:

    What a poignant and touching tribute Harry. (especially touched by the fact he never wore his medals.)

    My sympathy and love to that 19 year old that you once were, and the man who today remembers. x

    Thanks for sharing this with us at I Saw Sunday Harry.

  6. vivinfrance says:

    An emotionally charged story, all the more so for having been written straight, in note form. The irony of the ‘unimpaired’ discharge is painful in the extreme.

    We drove through le Havre today as the sun was setting.

  7. Jinksy says:

    Amazing how so much drama can be condensed to simple, unemotional notes…

  8. Ruth says:

    An accounting and a remembering – went to war on a horse! Almost unimaginable now… It’s good that you got to know him, Harry, good to remember

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