Old Coathamians of World War One

Herbert Percy NICHOLSON

No. 16862 Private, 1st Battalion,
Hampshire Regiment.

Born 6 February 1894,
Died 23 October 1916, aged 22 years.

Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme,
France, Pier and Face 7C and 7B.

He died during the Battle of the Somme. His is one of more than 72,000 names on the Thiepval Memorial, being names of those United Kingdom and South African armed forces* who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. The vast majority of these, Private Nicholson among them, died in the Battle of the Somme itself between July and November 1916. * Other Commonwealth countries erected their own memorials elsewhere.

Herbert Percy Nicholson was the son of John William Nicholson and Alice May Nicholson of 1, Teresa Terrace, Coatham. His father was an assistant manager in the ironworks. His parents had had nine children, with seven of them, five boys and two girls, still alive in 1911, and all but one still living at home. Herbert had previously attended both Redcar Zetland and Coatham Council elementary schools before being becoming a Sir William Turner Foundation Scholar and joining Coatham Grammar School in September 1907, when he was 13. He stayed for nine terms, leaving in July 1910 when he was 16. His younger brother, Vincent Stanley, also attended the School. Herbert passed his Cambridge Preliminary and Junior level examinations at school, although he is noted as ‘unemployed’ in July 1911 in the School Register. He is likely to have volunteered for the Army in the early months of the War.