The AIF Project

Bryon Fitzgerald NICHOLAS

Regimental number370
Place of birthBallarat, Victoria
SchoolSt Patrick's College, Ballarat, Victoria
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationSchool teacher
AddressTrafalgar, Gippsland, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 7.25"
Weight144 lbs
Next of kinJohn Penn Nicholas, Trafalgar, Gippsland, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date12 March 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name13th Light Horse Regiment, A Squadron
AWM Embarkation Roll number10/18/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board Transport A34 Persic on 28 May 1915
Rank from Nominal RollLieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll24th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularAwarded the Military Cross.
FateKilled in Action 9 October 1917
Place of death or woundingDairy Woods, Passchendaele, Belgium
Age at death24
Age at death from cemetery records24
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 23), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Mr J.P. and Mrs M.E. NICHOLAS, Sunshine, Victoria. Native of Ballarat, Victoria

Military Cross

'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of a forward post. At great personal risk he went out and dug in two standing patrols. Later, he rendered valuable assistance in repelling an enemy counter attack.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 140
Date: 27 August 1917

Family/military connectionsBrother: Captain George Matson NICHOLAS DSO, 24th Bn, killed in action, 14 November 1916.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Appointed Lance Corporal, Gallipoli, 9 November 1915.Disembarked Alexandria from Mudros, 8 January 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 17 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 23 March 1916. Taken on strength, 1st Anzac Mounted Regiment, 13 May 1916; 1st Anzac Army Corps Light Horse Regiment, 7 July 1916; transferred to 21st Bn, 30 August 1916.

Joined Cadet Bn, Trinity College, Cambridge, 5 September 1916; appointed 2nd Lt, 21 November 1916. Proceeded overseas to France, 21 January 1917; taken on strength, 24th Bn, 5 February 1917. Promoted Lt, 2 April 1917; awarded Military Cross.

Carried our duties as ADC to GOC, 2nd Australian Division, 22 April-12 May 1917.

To Staff Training School, England, 8 June 1917; completed Staff Course, 13 July 1917. Proceeded overseas to France, 13 July 1917; rejoined Bn, 23 July 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 9 October 1917. Sniped through the head and chest in the attack on Daisy Wood forward of Broodseinde Ridge. Buried the same day approximately 500 yards N.E. of Broodseinde.

Medals: Military Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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