b. 06/02/1911 Hampstead, London. d. 11/02/1944 Tirana, Albania
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 10/1943 - 01/1944 Albania.
Nicholls was born in Hampstead on 6 February 1911. He attended Shardlow Hall, Marlborough College in Wiltshire, studied law at Cambridge University and was commissioned into the 86th (East Anglian) (Hertfordshire Yeomanry) Field Brigade, Royal Artillery, Territorial Army as a second lieutenant in August 1933, promoted lieutenant on 3 August 1936 and transferred to the Coldstream Guards (Supplementary Reserve) in May 1937. He was mobilised in 1939, went to France with the 2nd Battalion and was then posted to the Headquarters of the First Division as an Intelligence Officer to make best use of his knowledge of foreign languages.
He was 32 years old and serving in the Coldstream Guards, attached to the SOE, when he was parachuted into Albania as General Staff Officer to the Allied Military Mission. His task was to organise resistance against the Germans in that country. The Mission was attacked and dispersed in December and from then until the end of January Nicholls was a fugitive in the mountains in bitter weather and conditions of extreme hardship. He suffered so severely from frostbite that he ordered an inexperienced man to amputate both his legs without anaesthetic, and he wss then towed along over the mountains on his greatcoat by two men. He was determined to make contact with the nearest British Mission and eventually succeeded in making his report. However, the pressure on his body was too great and he died of gangrene and heart failure on 11th February 1944.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: GUARDS RHQ MUSEUM, WELLINGTON BARRACKS, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: TIRANA PARK MEMORIAL CEMETERY, ALBANIA.
Nicholls medals including his George Cross in the Coldstream Guards RHQ, Wellington Barracks, London (Thomas Stewart).
Picture - Thomas Stewart