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Thomas Nicholson was born to a Roman Catholic family in Wigan in 1885. He enlisted into the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on 27th October 1902.

Thomas was 17 years old and  was employed at Douglas Bank Colliery, Wigan. He was single and living with his parents, William and Ann Nicholson at 9 Rigbys Yard, Scholes, Wigan. His siblings were Catherine, William, John, Mary, Maggie and Nathan.

During his first term of service as a Reserve between 1902 and 1908, Thomas was not mobilised or required to leave the UK so continued in his work as a Collier.

On 11th February 1905 he had married Annie (nee Clarke) and they were living at 18 Douglas Street, East Wigan which was the home of her father, Thomas Clarke who was Tram cleaner. On the night of the 1911 Census Annie and their three daughters (Ellen, Margaret and Rose Ann) were still at Douglas Street but Thomas Nicholson was not present.

Additional note:  Family Memory

I believe he was at this time boarding at 10 Caroline Street Wigan with a family named Telford – family lore has it there were a number of estrangements before he left for good in 1917 – this is from the 1911 census. Annie’s father died in 1912, which may have prompted a reconciliation and the further children.

They later had three more children; one (Louisa) on 18th October 1911, a second (Mary) on 18th October 1915 and a third (Annie) on 19 March 1917. Louisa and Mary both died in infancy.

On 10th August 1908 he re-engaged into the Army Reserve (Special Reservist) meaning he would be liable to being mobilised for the next six years if the need arose. If nothing was to happen in the meantime, he was due to be released on 10th August 1914.

At his medical examination in 1908, Thomas was described as being 5ft 5.75in tall weighing 130lbs. He had brown hair and grey eyes.

Thomas attended the annual training camp in July 1909, and again in 1910 where he was appointed Lance Corporal. He was present again in 1911 and 1912. In 1912 he extended his terms of service by re-engaging for a further four years.

Thomas was promoted to Corporal on 2nd June 1913. He attended the annual training in both 1913 and 1914. On 8th August 1914 Corporal Nicholson was mobilised for War Service and posted into the 1st (Regular) Battalion. He sailed to join them in France on 19th September 1914.

Thomas returned to the UK 82 days later on 9th December 1914 having sustained a gun shot wound to his left heel on the Aisne. For the next 18 months he remained in the UK  being transferred to the Command Depot at Shoreham in November 1915.

Between 9th to 14th March 1916 Thomas was recorded as being absent without leave. This resulted in a Regimental Court Martial for ‘conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline’. He was stripped of his Corporal rank being reduced to Private.

He was discharged due to Neurasthenia and the gun shot wound to his heel at a medical board at Felixstowe on 7th May 1916. He was given the Silver War Badge number 53177.

When touched, the limb is thrown into tremor. Gen Muscular tremor, much agitation when questioned. Permanent, Prevents 3/4 at present, 1/2 after 12 months.

– Medical Officer, 8th April 1916

Thomas had served a total of 13 years 194 days in the Army. His address at the time of discharge was 21 Chapel Street, Wigan.

In accordance with the terms of his pension, Thomas was required to attend further medical boards later in 1916 in 1917 and in 1918. In August 1917 he submitted his ‘latest address’ as 13 Rigbys Yard, Scholes, Wigan.

For his War Service, Thomas was sent the British War Medal and Victory Medal, however they were returned to sender.

Paul McCormick
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3 Responses to 8650 PTE. T. NICHOLSON. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Margaret Burns says:

    Hiya. I am Thomas’ great grand daughter, my grandmother was Margaret Nicholson later Kearsley. Thank you for this story it confirms the research I have discovered and is an interesting summary of Thomas and Annie’s marriage.

    Thomas did leave Annie for the final time in early 1917 when she was heavy pregnant with Annie. My grandmother has told me a number of stories about her parents, she said Thomas left Wigan after 1917, moved to Yorkshire and re married and had more children. I have been unable to trace any of his movements after his last medical examination in June 1918 and would be grateful for any more information you receive from family members. Thank you again

  2. joe fitzsimmons says:

    hi Margaret hope you are well on the 16/9/14 I went to ant rose funeral at southport she was 104 I spoke to ali wakinson who is doing the family tree she sent me this inf through can you please keep me inf about more family tree I will try to get inf for you
    joe fitzsimmons wigan

  3. Adam says:

    Hi, Do you know if any of Thomas’ daughters had any children in 1931. My Grandfather – James Gaskell of Wigan was born in August 1931 to a mothers maiden name of nicolson. This is as much information as I can get unfortunately.

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