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Eric James Brindley Nicolson
Birth: Apr. 29, 1917
Death: May 2, 1945

World War II Victoria Cross recipient, the only member of Fighter Command and the only Battle of Britain participant to be so honored. Born in the Hampstead district of London, he enlisted in the RAF in 1936, shortly out of school, and was serving as a Flight Lieutenant with the 249 Squadron, flying a Hawker Hurricane, when he performed the deed for which he was awarded the VC. His citation reads: "In recognition of most conspicuous bravery during an engagement with the enemy near Southampton on August 16th, 1940, Flight Lieutenant Nicolson's aircraft was hit by four cannon shells, two of which wounded him whilst another set fire to the gravity tank. When about to abandon his aircraft owning to flames in the cockpit, he sighted an enemy fighter. This he attacked and shot down, although as a result of staying in his burning aircraft he sustained serious burns to his hands, face, neck, and legs. Flight Lieutenant Nicolson has always displayed great enthusiasm for air fighting and this incident shows that he possess courage and determination of a high order. By continuing to engage the enemy after he had been wounded and his aircraft set on fire, he displayed exceptional gallantry and disregard to the safety of his own life." In his VC action he actually had two more near brushes with death: after he had shot down the German fighter and had parachuted from the burning Hurricane, another Messerschmidt seemed about to open fire on him as he dangled underneath the parachute canopy, so he hung limply, his head lolling, and the plane flew by without a shot. Unfortunately, just as he was about to land safely in a farmer's field, the farmer an over-zealous member of the Home Guard opened fire on him with a shotgun. Luckily the farmer's zeal was greater than his aim and Nicolson escaped further injury. He spent more than a year recuperating from his burns, but by September 1941 was back in the air and in 1942 was posted to India. Between August 1943 and August 1944 he was a squadron leader for a unit stationed in Burma. He was killed when an RAF Liberator (US: B-24) in which he was flying as an observer caught fire and crashed into the Bay of Bengal. His body was not recovered. His medals are in the possession of the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon. 
 
Burial:
Singapore Memorial *
Kranji
North West, Singapore
Plot: No known grave; name is listed at Column 445
*Memorial Site [?]
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: K
Record added: Dec 09, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 8170678
Eric James Brindley Nicolson
Added by: Erik Skytte
 
Eric James Brindley Nicolson
Added by: South Africa War Graves Project
 
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