Bryon Fitzgerald Nicholas

July 21, 2015


John Pern Nicholas and his wife, Mary Ellen, nee McSheedy had a large family of seven children, six boys and one girl. Four of the boys attended St Patrick’s College –

Athol Miller Nicholas- – SPC 1912-1914

Bryon Fitzgerald Nicholas- SPC 1909-1911

Eric Sutton Nicholas- – SPC 1916-1917

George Matson Nicholas- SPC 1902-1903

The other two brothers, John Percy Hague and Francis Stephen did not attend the College. Francis Stephen did enlist for service in WWI, (Service No. 5814) embarking on 2 October 1916 and returning to Australia in May 1918.

Of the four boys who went to St Patrick’s College, three enlisted. Their details follow.

NICHOLAS, Bryon Fitzgerald- – – SPC 1909-1911

DoB:- – 1893, Ballarat, VIC

Father:- – John Pern Nicholas

Mother:- – Mary Ellen, nee McSheehy

Bryon Fitzgerald Nicholas was boarded at St Patrick’s College, along with his brothers. He completed his Junior Public Service examination in 1911, and in the same year was captain of the 1st XVIII football team.

Service No:- 370

Rank:- – Private, Corporal, Lieutenant

Unit:- – 24th Battalion

Bryon Fitzgerald Nicholas enlisted in the AIF on 12 March 1915. He was 21 years and 11 months old, five feet seven and one quarter inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He was a single man, whose occupation was state school teacher.

Private Nicholas embarked from Australia aboard the Persic on 28 May 1915, attached to the 13 Light Horse Regiment. In November 1915 he was appointed Lance Corporal, and by 1 February the following year had been further promoted to the rank of Corporal.

In March 1916 Corporal Nicholas proceeded to Marseilles as part of the British Expeditionary Forces in France. Over the ensuing 18 months, he undertook several courses of instruction and officer training in England, necessitating several -‘breaks’ from the front. By March 1917, he had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. In early April, he was awarded the Military Cross.

-‘Lieutenant Byron Fitzgerald NICHOLAS.

On the 17th March during operations against the enemy position on the BAPAUME RIDGE, Lieut. Nicholas was in command of a forward post, under MG [machine gun] and rifle fire. At considerable personal risk, he pushed out and dug in 2 standing patrols.

During the enemy counter attack at night this officer handled one of his standing patrols so as to give valuable assistance to Lt Fawcett in repelling the enemy attack.’

Tragically, Lieutenant Bryon Nicholas was killed in action on 9 October 1917.- An eyewitness account records -“

– -‘-¦ Lt Nicholas was sniped through the head and chest on the 9th Oct 1917 in the attack on DAISY WOOD forward of Broodseinde Ridge. Lt Nicholas was buried on the day of his death by a party organised by Capt E V Smythem (MC) of this Battalion. Approx location of grave 500 yards NE of BROODSEINDE-¦’

His effects which were returned to his father included letters, cards, spray of wattle and fern, wallet and rosary.

Bryon Nicholas, a school teacher, was 24 years old at the time of his death. He is remembered on the Menin Gate memorial at Ypres, Belgium.