2614910 Harry NICHOLLS, VC, 3 Grenadier Guards

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by Drew5233, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Has anyone got any details of where Nicolls earned his VC partically map images from 1940.

    I have his citation etc but it's the location and positions of enemy etc I'm after in the River Scheldt area.

  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Only a L/Cpl but he got his own map in the Regimental History (Forbes)! The MGs he and Gdsm Nash charged were on the Poplar Ridge feature. Apologies for the quality of the scan, I need to spend some time setting things up.

    Attached Files:

    LesCM19, dbf and Drew5233 like this.
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Fantastic ! Exactly what I'm looking for.....I hope you don't mind but I blew it up. A very worthy dollop of rep administered :)

  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers...........Just ordered it :)
  6. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    I found this image in Google Earth, so if there is interest I would like to see if we can re-construct the action of that day and any other significant actions in the area. A kind of virtual battle tour.

    First thing to do is identify areas of the sketch map as found on the satellite image. I've already rotated the image so that north is to the right as in the sketch map. The River Sheldt is obivious as is the road that parallels it on the west. The town of Baileul is labled. It's a little difficult to tell if the roads have not been altered since the war but assuming they have not and the sketch map is short of details, there some sorting out that is needed. In my next post I'll try to color code the roads on the sketch map to the satellite image.

    If somebody could post a description of the action on that day that would be helpful.


  7. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    OK here's my best guess on the which roads correspond between the satellite image and the sketch map. Some differences as expected. But if I got this right it seems easy to trace the route of 3 Coy. in my next post.


  8. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Here's some info from Drew5233's compillation of VC holders. Could use some more information of the overall situation and unit manuvers.

    The following details are given in the London Gazette of 26th July, 1940:

    On the 21st May, 1940, Lance-corporal Nicholls was commanding a section in the right-forward platoon of his company when the company was ordered to counter-attack. At the very start of the advance he was wounded in the arm by shrapnel, but continued to lead his section forward; as the company came over a small ridge, the enemy opened heavy machine-gun fire at close range.

    Lance-corporal Nicholls, realising the danger to the company, immediately seized a Bren gun and dashed forward towards the machine guns, firing from the hip. He succeeded in silencing first one machine-gun
    and then two other machine guns, in spite of being again severely wounded.

    Lance-corporal Nicholls then went on up to a higher piece of ground and engaged the German infantry massed behind, causing many casualties, and continuing to fire until he had no more ammunition left.
    He was wounded at least four times in all, but absolutely refused to give in. There is no doubt that his gallant action was instrumental in enabling his company to reach its objective, and in causing the enemy to fall back across the River Scheldt.

    Lance-Corporal Nicholls has since been reported to have been killed in action.*

    *Harry Nicholls was captured when he ran out of ammunition and survived the war.
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    If I remember correctly the river has been canalised since the war & so is not in the same place.
  11. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    I see, so a period map would be helpful. I don't see a problem with what we have so far, but take it with a grain of salt.
  12. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    OK here's my best guess of the route of No 3 Coy.(in red with arrow). Not sure of the start point, sketch seems to indicate some buildings, could be closer to Bailleul. Pretty certain of the intersection and buildings where they left the road. They seem to cross a wood before they reach the FUP, I wonder if that is also a slope down to the river flood plain(?). The attack across the corn fields seem to line-up with some extensive fields today, larger than they appear in the sketch. Hope they had some field regiments to help "shoot them on to the objective", otherwise "poor bloody infantry" indeed.

  13. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    Earthican - your pics dont show up - I think it's because you haven't reached a high enough post count yet.

    Perhaps use something like imageshack to host your pics?

    Kind regards
  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I can see the pics ok.
    Must be something your end AHD ?
  15. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I've only got the one pic in post 3. Nothing since.

    How odd

    Any clues or tips?

  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I'm not seeing them either :unsure:
  17. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    This is odd. No pictures except Andy's in #3, so I login, still no pictures. I so go to edit a post, pictures are there, save edit on one post and all the pictures appear.

    Not sure what's up. I do know that everyone else needs to have " code On" regarding "Posting Rules" (see lower left on any page). Maybe also need to be logged in.

    I upload images to an album here then use "add picture" and paste the HTTP. The album gives you the HTTP so it seems designed for this purpose.

  18. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Here's the overview from Ellis. Seems the news account above may have wisely self censored the hurt done to the Grenadier Guards.

    "In the 1st Division's sector the Germans, preceded by soldiers disguised as civilians or as British officers, penetrated at a number of points on a 2,000-yard front after strong artillery preparation. The 1st King's Shropshire Light Infantry counter-attacked successfully at one point, and the 2nd North Staffordshire stopped another advance. The 3rd Grenadiers made two determined counter-attacks against a strong position which the enemy had won, losing so heavily that they could only form two companies at the end of the day. But the enemy, too, had suffered heavily from these counter-attacks, and when Grenadier patrols went forward again they found that he had retired across the river and our position was restored."

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    I see, so a period map would be helpful. .

    it's a little older than 1940 (1918), but it may help?...

    Attached Files:

    • pecq.jpg
      File size:
      206.5 KB
  20. brispencer

    brispencer Member

    If it's any help I'm going there next week (as my Dad was in this action) and also to Leers a few miles away. I will take photo's with reference to current map and, if possible, can try to reference to the drawn map.
    Will let you know when I get back (also going off to D-Day beaches for a few days) what I got and if they match up with the the two maps.


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