Researched and written by Anne Wright
Pte F J Nicholson
1/6th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment
Died of wounds, 2.3.1918
Herbert and Edith Nicholson became parents for the first time when their son Frederick John was born in Weybridge in the summer of 1888. Neither of them were natives of Surrey: Herbert was born in Notting Hill, London and Edith in Shipston, Worcestershire. He was an ironmonger’s assistant and the family home for at least twenty years was at 3, Oxford Villas, New Road, Weybridge. By 1901 Frederick had been joined by his siblings: twins, Hilda and Amy and brothers Horace and Alec. Ten years later they had moved to Queen’s Road where Herbert had become the proprietor of an ironmongery business. Both Frederick and Alec worked with their father as did Hilda. He has been educated at St James’ School (Baker Street).
Frederick enlisted at Kingston, exactly when is unclear. He was posted to the 1/6th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. They embarked Southampton on 29 October 1914 and arrived at Bombay on 2 December. After the outbreak of war the number of Regular Army troops in India was reduced to be replaced by Territorial units such as Frederick’s. The main priority for them was to guard the NW Frontier. On arrival the East Surreys were allocated to the Allahabad Brigade in the 8th (Lucknow) Division, then in March 1915 to the Rawalpindi Brigade in the 2nd (Rawalpindi) Division and in October 1915, while staying in the same division they moved to the Jhelum Brigade. For most of the time Frederick and his comrades were based in Rawalpindi before leaving for Aden in February 1917. This was not a popular assignment because of the heat and harsh environment but as Aden lay on the route to India it was vital to British communications.
They returned from Aden in January 1918. Frederick died on 2 March in Bombay of wounds sustained in Aden most likely incurred in fighting Turkish guerrillas. He was initially buried in Bombay (Sewri) Cemetery but his remains along with those of over 600 others were disinterred, in his case on 19 January 1962, and moved to Kirkee War Cemetery close to Poona on the plateau above Bombay. He was reburied on 10 February 1962 in a mass grave in a grassed plot between the Kirkee 1914-1918 Memorial on which he is commemorated (Face C) and the Cross of Sacrifice. The Memorial was erected to honour over 1800 service personnel who died in India during the First World War and were buried in cemeteries considered difficult to maintain. Kirkee War Cemetery was established for fatalities of the Second World War.
Frederick’s brother, Alec, also served in the First World War. He enlisted in October 1914 at Woking and was posted to the Army Service Corps. Alec saw service in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) and returned home safely in 1919. He died at Brampton Bryan in Oatlands Drive in 1964.
The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918, The Long, Long Trail – East Surrey Regiment, www.longlongtrail.co.uk
The Regiments in India, www.queensroyalsurreys.org.uk
Died From Wounds, Surrey Advertiser, Saturday, 16 March 1918
St James’ School War Memorial Board 1914-1918, St James’ Church
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919, www.ancestry.co.uk