Old Coathamians of World War One

Wilfred NIXON

No. C/13026 Rifleman, 21st (Service) Battalion
(Yeoman Rifles), King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

Born 25 March 1897,
Died 22 July 1916, aged 19 years.

Buried in Berks Cemetery Extension, Comines-Warneton,
Hainaut, Belgium, Grave I.G.19.

His is one of 876 graves in this cemetery. The cemetery also contains a memorial, the Ploegsteert Memorial, recording the names of over 11,000 Commonwealth servicemen who died in this sector of the Front in the First World War and who have no known grave. Rifleman Nixon is also commemorated on a family grave in Redcar Cemetery.

Wilfred Nixon was the son of John and Mary Nixon and had attended West Dyke Central Council School before attending Coatham Grammar School as a fee-paying day boy. His father was a builder, running a small business, although in 1901, when the family lived at 7, Abbey Street, Brotton, where Wilfred was born, he is recorded as ‘living off independent means’. Wilfred was the youngest of ten children, with four sisters and five brothers. When he started at Coatham Grammar School in January 1910, aged 12, the family had moved to Redcar, first to 2, Soppett Street, and then to Poona Villa, Coatham, where his father died in 1912. Wilfred passed examinations at Cambridge Preliminary, Junior and Senior levels and stayed at school until December 1915, leaving three months short of his nineteenth birthday. He joined the Army almost immediately, on 15 January 1916, although Army records noted he was a clerk. He lost his life seven months later.