WWI NZEF casualty. Battle of the Canal du Nord. Nicholson. Shetland Isles, Scotland


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Correctly named 53803 Cpl FJ Nicholson NZEF

Francis Johnson Nicholson was born in December 1885 on the Shetland Isles in Scotland.

He departed England in 1905 aboard the ‘Ayreshire’ bound for Aukland, New Zealand.

He was working as a self employed dredger when he enlisted into the NZEF in March 1917.

He left Wellington with the 27th Reinforcements in July 1917.

Upon reaching France, he joined ‘A’ Company, 2nd BN of the 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade and was soon promoted to Corporal.

He was killed in action on the 8th of October 1918.

The New Zealand Division came out of reserve for the final phases of the Battle of the Canal du Nord (27 September–1 October). Fighting their way through the main Hindenburg Line, the 1st New Zealand Infantry Brigade seized the town of Crèvecoeur on the final day of the battle, establishing a valuable foothold across the Scheldt (Escaut) Canal in the process. In effect, the New Zealanders had already broken through the ‘Masnières–Beaurevoir line’, a trench system prepared hastily behind the Hindenburg Line on which the Germans hoped to hold the Allied advance in this sector.

After pausing to regroup, the British Third and Fourth armies renewed their attack on 8 October. Breaking through weak German defences, the New Zealand Division advanced more than 5 km to take the village of Esnes, capturing more than 1000 prisoners and a dozen field guns along the way. The 800 New Zealand casualties included 150 dead. That night German forces withdrew to the Selle River, allowing Canadian troops to take Cambrai unopposed. Further south, the New Zealanders continued the pursuit for 18 km to the river, seizing an important bridgehead at Briastre before being relieved on 14 October.

He is buried at Naves Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France.

Entitled to a Pair, sadly missing his Victory.

The medal has an original silk ribbon.

WWI NZEF casualty. Battle of the Canal du Nord. Nicholson. Shetland Isles, Scotland

Availability: 1 in stock

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