NICOL, John Athol
(Service number )
|First Rank||Last Rank|
|Date||9 October 1884||Place of Birth||Naseby|
|Address at Enlistment|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Mr R. NICOL (father), Waimate|
|Served with||UK Armed Forces||Served in||Navy|
|Body on Embarkation||Royal Navy|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||29 June 1969||Age||84 years|
|Place of Death||Christchurch|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Waimairi Cemetery, Christchurch|
|Memorial Reference||Area QP3, Row GA1, Plot 27|
|New Zealand Memorials|
John Athol Nicol, known as Jack, was the third son of Robert and Elizabeth Ereana (née Andrews) Nicol. Robert from Scotland married Ereana in 1878 at Oamaru. Robert established the flour mill (with the giant silos) at Waimate in 1890. Jack’s younger brother, William Harold Nicol, known as Harold, saw service in the First World War with the New Zealand Troops. Another brother, George Dent, who was listed on the Reserve Roll, served in the Second World War. Jack was an engineer at Waimate in 1905; by1908 he had gone to Port Chalmers. On leaving school he had trained as an engineer. He and two other men suffered serious injury when an explosion occurred on the steamer Moana at Port Chalmers on 1 September 1908. The men had to get to safety through darting flames, burning paint fumes and acrid smoke. Nicol suffered a severe burn to his right leg and a lesser injury to his left leg; all experienced severe shock. Nicol was removed on a stretcher to the boarding house where he lived and soon recovered from the shock. Although confined to bed, his wounds were not serious.
Jack Nicol, a marine engineer, left for England in about 1914, to gain experience there. When war broke out he came “under the Admiralty’s sway”. In late 1915 he wrote to his parents describing some of his interesting and varied voyages – to Mexico to load oil, to Rangoon to take on cargo of petrol, to Leith to embark on a long and harrowing trip from Scotland to Russia through the Arctic – the “roughest trip I’ve ever had”. (See attachment for details.)
Having obtained a commission as Engineer-Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve, John Athol Nicol left London on 26 February 1916 to join the H.M.S. Hardinge at Bombay, India. The warship was on transport guard. It was expected that he would proceed to duties “somewhere in the locality of Suez”. On his way to the East, Jack spent two days ashore at Ishmaelia, where he met his brother, Private Harold Nicol.
After three years’ service with the Royal Navy, Jack Nicol spent time on leave in New Zealand before returning to England. In 1928 he was an engineer at Lake Coleridge. John Athol Nicol married Effie Marjorie Horner in May 1931 at St Matthew’s Church, Masteron.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [02 February 2020]; NZBDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [02 February 2020]; Waimairi Cemetery headstone transcription [02 February 2020]; Otago Daily Times, 2 September 1908, 19 April 1916, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 11, 18 & 19 January 1916, 17 April 1916, 8 May 1916, Otago Witness, 26 April 1916, Evening Star, 6 November 1918, Poverty Bay Herald, 26 May 1931 (Papers Past) [23 January 2020; 02 & 03 February 2020]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [02 February 2020]
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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