Private Frederick Edward Nicholls

Regiment: 9th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
Service No: G/8134
Date & place of birth: 1889 in Lodsworth
Date & place of death:
21 March 1918 between Hesbecourt and Vermand, France, aged 27

Like many of the Lodsworth casualties, Frederick Edward Nichols came from Lodsworth Common. He was married just before World War 1 and he and his wife Beatrice had two daughters. Frederick, with two of his brothers, enlisted in the Royal Sussex Regiment. He was reported missing during the Battle of St Quentin in the March Retreat of 1918: his brothers both survived the war.

Family background

Frederick Edward Nicholls was born in Lodsworth and baptised in St Peter’s church Lodsworth on 14 July 1889. He was the son of Frederick Edward Nicholls, an agricultural labourer, originally from Petworth, and his wife Alice née Boxall. They had married in Lodsworth in 1881 and were living in Brickyard Cottage, Lodsworth Common.

By 1911 Frederick was still living with his family at Lodsworth Common and working as a farm labourer.

In 1914 he married Beatrice Agnes Mitchener from Southampton, who had been a cook to the Everett family in Vining Wood, Lodsworth. They had two children, Eva Grace (1915) and Dora A (1916). By then Frederick was a postman.

Military service

Frederick enlisted in West Lavington in 1914 as Private G/8134 in the 9th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, in the Army’s 24th Division.

The 9th Battalion landed at Boulogne, on 31 August 1915. Its first action was in the Battle of Loos in which it suffered heavy losses. In 1916 it was at Hooge and Wulverghem, and during the battle of the Somme it fought at the Battles for Delville Wood and Guillemont. In 1917 they took part in the attack on Bois en Hache at Vimy Ridge, the battle for Messines Ridge and in the Third battle of Ypres.

Death & commemoration

Frederick was reported missing during the Battle of St. Quentin in the March Retreat on 21 March 1918. At the time his company was holding a line of redoubts between Hesbecourt and Vermand. He was aged 27.

He was buried in grave II.B.16 at Jeancourt Communal Cemetery Extension between Peronne and St. Quentin in France, and is commemorated on the Lodsworth war memorial.

Subsequent family history

Frederick’s brothers Owen William and Christopher both served in World War 1 and survived.

His widow Beatrice subsequently lived at 49 Talbot Road, Southsea, and later at 15 Cambridge Road, Gosport where she died on 2 January 1936. At that time their eldest daughter, Eva Grace, was still single.

Edward’s father died in 1922 aged 69, his mother Alice in 1952 aged 90, his brother Owen William in 1954 aged 72 and his sister Eva Alice in 1977 aged 90. Alice, Owen William and Eva Alice were all buried in St Peter’s churchyard in Lodsworth.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project