Thomas Nicholl AM

b. 12/10/1891 St Andrews, Fife, Scotland.  d. 01/05/1963 Fairfield, Connecticut, USA.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 26/02/1918 France.

Thomas Nicholl AM

Thomas Nicholl was born on 12 October 1891 at St Andrews, Fife, Scotland and the family came to New Zealand. He was the only son of Mr and Mr Thomas Nicoll, a master baker, of Papanui Road, Christchurch, formerly of Edendale. He attended Waimate High School. He enlisted for service on 10 June 1915 when a newspaper report indicated he was a “dentist”. The New Zealand Times, 21 September 1915 records that “Mr T Nicoll son of Mr Thomas Nicoll, of Fortrose, Southland left by the Maori … to bid good-bye to his parents prior to his departure for England, where it is his intention to join the Aviation Corps. He enlisted in RFC 22 January 1916 (No 19061) as a Fitter (Aero Engine). On enlistment he gave his occupation as ‘Fitter”. Appointed a Flight Sergeant (unpaid) 12 January 1918 then a Flight Sergeant (paid) 1 March 1918, and Chief Mechanic on merger of RFC into RAF. Served with 25 Squadron before 100 Squadron. He served in France from 7 December 1916 to 29 November 1918. Received the British War Medal 1914-19 and Victory Medal 1919. He arrived in New York, USA, on 10 November 1919. In 1921 in New York he married Miss Mary Belle Flintoft, daughter of Mr and Mrs Flintoft, of Sutton-on-Trent, York. After the marriage and leaving the RAF, it was reported he planned to return to New Zealand to continue with his dental studies. He gave his address as care of the NZ High Commission, London. He does not appear to have returned to NZ .

Evidence, however, indicates that Thomas Nicoll and his wife, Mary Belle, resided in New York, NY, firstly in Manhattan. They had a daughter. Both applied for USA citizenship. His wife, Mary Belle was born in 1897 and died in 1985.

At the time of the death of his mother, Mary Dalgety, on 29 July 1934, Thomas was resident in Connecticut, USA, where he died on 1 May 1963. He was buried in Lands End Cemetery, Fairfield.

AM CITATION:

Two bombs exploded under an aeroplane, burning the machine entirely and causing considerable loss of life. Owing to the explosion a phosphorus bomb attached to another machine standing near to it was ignited. Flight-Sergeant Nicholl with .great presence of mind, and regardless of the danger to himself, unhooked the burning bomb and carried it to a place of safety. By his prompt action Flight Sergeant Nicholl, whose hands were badly burned, saved the second machine and prevented further serious damage and loss of life which would probably have been caused.

 

BURIAL LOCATION: LANDS END CEMETERY, FAIRFIELD, CONNECTICUT, USA,

LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.

Acknowledgement:

Allan Stanistreet – Image of Thomas Nicholl AM.

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