CWG: Ordinary Telegraphist Jack Nicholson

Ordinary Telegraphist Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson was born on 23rd August 1893. There is very little documentation on his life, although the following can be pieced together.

Jack was called up for military service on 22nd March 1916, at which point he was working as a music hall artist. His service records show that he stood 5ft 11.5ins (1.82m) tall, had dark brown hair, brown eyes and a sallow complexion.

Jack enlisted in the Royal Navy as an Ordinary Seaman, and was assigned to HMS Victory in Portsmouth. After a couple of months he was promoted to Able Seaman and, by March 1917, he had been reassigned, to HMS Vivid in Plymouth. By this point he had taken on a specific role with the navy, and alongside Able Seaman, held the rank of Ordinary Telegraphist.

Within a matter of months, Jack was on the move again, this time to the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent. HMS Pembroke – as it was also known – was a busy place during that summer of 1917, and, with its barracks having reached capacity, Jack found himself billeted at Chatham Drill Hall, which was being used as temporary accommodation.

At this point in the war, the German Air Force was aiming to minimise the losses it was suffering during daylight raids. It began trialling bombing raids at night and, on 3rd September 1917, Chatham found itself in their line of fire. The Drill Hall Ordinary Telegraphist Nicholson was sleeping in received a direct hit, and he was killed. He was just 24 years old.

Jack Nicholson was buried alongside the other 97 victims of the Chatham Air Raid. He lies at rest in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham, not far from the Royal Naval Dockyard in neighbouring Chatham.


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