Edward May Nicol DSM, RAF


I have been unable to untangle his private life. The 1943 press report says he married Ann Stimpson, and a death cert in 1858 says his wife was Nora Margaret Southwell. I cannot find evidence of a marriage to either lady in English, Scottish or Irish GROs

1899 Jun 28. Born Paddington, London

1901 census at 49, Morshead Mansions (Flats), Paddington

1911 census at 82 Morshead Mansions, Elgin Avenue, London W

1914 Sep 16. Edward May Nicol enlisted into 1/6th Bn Seaforth Highlanders at the age of 15 years and three months and found himself serving in France. During his time in France he served in the front line and from the 1st November to the 31st December 1915 served with 179 mining Company RE at Albert, before his true age was discovered and he was discharged and returned to the UK.

1916 Mar 27. His father tracked him down and his true age was confirmed, and he was returned home and discharged.

1916. He immediately volunteered for war work at the Aircraft Manufacturing Company and in August of that year rejoined the Colours as a Boy into the RNAS. Here he trained as a wireless observer and some found him self serving with the 5th Light Cruiser Squadron, based at Felixstowe Seaplane base and started operational flying at the age of 18 in June 1917.

1917 Sep 28. The DSM was awarded on the 28th September appearing in the London Gazette on the 30th November 1917. Air Mech., 2nd Gr., Edward May Nicol, O.N. F18942. The DSM was the Other Ranks' equivalent to the Distinguished Service Cross. "Honours for Services in Action with Enemy Submarines."

A summery from the official pilots report gives the circumstances for the award of the DSM. Nicol was flying as a W/T operator part of a four man crew of a Curtiss H-12 flying boat. On the 28th September 1918 the Curtiss lifted off at 07.20 for a patrol. Spotting a surfaced submarine at 08.34 Nicol made the recognition signals, that were not answered, despite the mist the submarine was in full view and a pass was made and a 250lb bomb dropped, this was seen to hit the tail with a direct hit. The Submarine returned fire, but the crew then observed red flashes from the mist ahead of them, through the mist appeared three further submarines with an escort of three destroyers, all now engaged the flying boat. It was then observed that the flotilla was being escorted by two German flying boats, who could not engage due to the intensity of the barrage on the British aircraft. The pilot F.Lt Hobbs, quickly turned about, once again passing over the damaged submarine and dropped a second 250lb bomb which this time landed on the bow of the submarine, with this explosion the submarine appeared to vibrate and sink straight away. The Victorious crew then set course for home landing back at Felixstowe at 10am. All four of the crew received Awards the Pilot Flight Lieutenant Hobbs DSO, DSC a bar to the DSC, Second Pilot Flight Sub Lieutenant Dickey DSC, a bar to the DSC. Both the Engineer AM. Mortimore and W/T Operator Nicol the DSM.

1919 Feb . With the creation of the RAF he was selected as an Officer Observer Cadet in July 1918 and was gazetted 2nd Lt in February 1919.

RAF Record

1919 Aug 23 Relinquished commissoin on ceasing to be employed

1920 Aug 20. Joined ADRIC with service no 282. Posted to J Coy

1920 Dec 30. Promoted Section Leader

1921 Feb 25. Coolavohig Ambush .

1921 May 25. Promoted Platoon Commander

1921 Jul 8 to 24 Jul on Leave

1921 Sep 9 to 11 Sep on Leave

1921 Nov 23 to 7 Dec on Leave

1922 Jan 18 He was one of 6 representatives of ADRIC men to sign the Dispersal Terms

1922 Jan 23. Discharged on demobilisation of ADRIC

1922 to 1948 - on London electoral rolls

Returning to London he served with the London Scottish Territorial and became a Political Trainee for the Conservative party. He continued his political career throughout the interwar years.

1926 Mar/Jun Edward May Nicol married Sara Rogers/Clode . The marriage did not last, but they never divorced. Sarah Rogers had married Frank G Clode in Cardiff in 1916 (Frank Clode remarried in Cardiff in 1927).

1935 Feb. He appears to have been working for Anglo-Scottish Sugar Beet Corporation

1935 Mar 26 Elected a local councillor for Gedling Ward of Carlton Council (Nottinghamshire)

1936 Oct 13 Named as a beneficiary on will of Mary Jane Roberts, Derbyshire

1936/37 He travelled extensively in Europe, especially Austria

1939 Register at Woodside Common Road , Harrow U.D., Middlesex.A pilot officer at RAF Fighter Command, RAF Stanmore. He is recorded as "Married", but is just lodging, and no wife is present

1939 Sep 20. The undermentioned Pilot Officers on probation are confirmed in their appointments and promoted to the rank of Flying Officer on the dates stated: Edward May NICOL, D.S.M. (73469)

1940. Appointed to the administration branch he was posted to Fighter Command Headquarters and during the Battle of Britain he served at RADAR Station Dunkirk.

1940 Nov 25. He received an MID in Sir Hugh Dowding's Despatches 25th November 1940 now with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

1941 Mar 19. MID - Ft Lt. E. M. Nicol, D.S.M. (73469), R.A.F.V.R

He served for a time with 60 Group and following an Admin course he was appointed an instructor with the rank of Squadron Leader. He was then posted to Group Headquarters and promoted to Wing Commander,

1942 Nov 14. The undermentioned are granted the rank of Sqn. Ldr. (war subs.): — Sqn. Ldrs. (tempy.): — E. M. Nicol, D.S.M. (73469).

1943 Adopted as Conservative candidate for Rochdale

- no mention of ADRIC here

Top Secret document for Operation Big Ben The evacuation of the Air Ministry Dominion and Allied Air Force HQ and certain RAF units from London. dated 1944.

1945 Jun 14. Gazetted MBE. Acting Wing Commander Edward May NICOL, D.S.M. (73469), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

1945 Standing as the Conservative candidate for Rochdale in 1945.

1950 Aug. Air Efficiency Medal

1954 Aug 3. Gazetted out as Wing Commander

He bought the house in Gartmore early 1950's from an auction in London as it was selling of the estate belonging to the Cayzer family.

1958 Wife Nora Southwell died in Scotland. She is in 1939 Register as unmarried living with her parents in London. He did not have any children with Nora

After Nora died he continued to Live at Gartmore

1982 Died Scotland

2010 Sep 1. His medals were sold at Bosleys of Marlow