NICOL, John Athol
(Service number )

Aliases Jack
First Rank Last Rank


Date 9 October 1884 Place of Birth Naseby

Enlistment Information

Date Age
Address at Enlistment
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status
Next of Kin Mr R. NICOL (father), Waimate
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with UK Armed Forces Served in Navy
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Royal Navy
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Engineer, superintendant


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

Biographical Notes

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 ( [02 February 2020]

External Links

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

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Not assigned.

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