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My Black Country great grandparents lost three sons in the Great War

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: February 28, 2014

Picture left to right, back row: John (killed in action 28.9.1918); Sam, Joseph (died of wounds 15.8.1916), Jim, Thomas (killed in action 24.3.1918). Front row Sarah and William Nicholls

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THE Bugle's request for stories about the First World War reminded me of the memorial at Wombourne Church which contains the names of the three sons of William and Sarah Nicholls of Mill Lane (my great grandparents).

Joseph Nicholls had joined the 1st Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment in May 1906 aged 18 years and was recorded on the 1911 census as still being in the army.

By 1914 he was on the reserve list so available for recall at the start of World War One and went into active service on August 27, 1914. By then with 2nd Battalion he must have been involved in the First Battle of Mons.

Between July 14 and 16, 1916, he was engaged in the Battle at Mansel Copse which is near Mametz Wood on the Somme and wounded, finally losing his life on August 15, 1916, one month later.

John Nicholls was with 7th South Staffs Regiment in the Balkans and was wounded in the Gallipoli Campaign, but was later transferred to 1/5th South Staffs Regiment and lost his life during the Battle of Crossing of the Hindenburg Line (St Quinten Canal) on September 28, 1918.

Thomas Nicholls joined 4th Special Reserves South Staffs Regiment in early 1916, landing in Le Havre in 1917. I have been unable to gather any service details but do know he lost his life on March 24, 1918.

What proud parents my great grandparents must have been in 1906. But little would they know that by 1918 they would have lost three of the sons in the picture above.

Malcolm Davies.

Newport, Shropshire.


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