Frederick William Nichols, the second son of Mr J K Nichols of Raunds Hall, Northamptonshire, was among the 21 members of the Protectorate Regiment who were killed in the sortie at Garne Tree, two miles from Mafeking. The deceased soldier served in the Matabele War in the B.F.F. in 1896 under Colonel Plumer, when he was shot through the jaw and wrist, while he had many miraculous escapes, his horse being shot under him. He carried despatches into Bulawayo in August, 1896, and escorted Cecil Rhodes into that town. He was made corporal and received the medal, which he sent home. The medal bears the following inscription: “Lance-Corpl. F W Nichols, E Troop, B.F.F.”
In August 1899, Mr F W Nichols started from Cape Town with Colonel Baden-Powell to Mafeking, where he joined the Protectorate Regiment, and was promoted on December 26th. He met his death in the heroic attempt to capture the Boer position.
Writing to his mother from Cape Town on June 19th, 1899 Mr Nichols says: “There is always something in this country to upset a fellow, and we are now expecting this war with the Transvaal. I hope it comes off; it will be a good thing when all the Boers are blotted out. If it does come, I mean to knock a few of them over for shooting young Bletsoe. I received my medal last week for the Matabele War. They are very fine. I shall, perhaps, get another one in this Dutch row, because I shall certainly go and I have already put my name down to be called if wanted. I would like to have a smack at those beggars. We ought to settle the whole lot of them this time; wipe them all out.”
In another letter from Mafeking, dated October 5th, 1899, Mr Fred Nichols says: “My dear mother, I have not heard from you lately, perhaps because I told Bywater I would write for my letters. I have written him, but have had no reply. Of course, you had my letter saying I had joined Baden-Powell’s Protectorate Field Force. We have had a rough time of it the last two months getting into shape. When I arrived here I was made an N.C.O. the first day, but I could not get on with my T.S.M. Now I am permanent orderly to Colonel Hore; galloper for him which ranks as lieutenant. I like it, always in the saddle. I am now writing to you with a strange horse all the time pulling on my arm.
If possible I will send you a photo before we leave here. Of course, you know we are on the eve of war, and I know you hope I will come through it all right. This will be no child’s play; quite different to the Matabele War. After this is over I will come home just for a month or two. I heard from my friend Telfer that my shares in the Rhodesia mines are all right, so I shall have plenty of money to come home with and to have a good time with. Love to yourself and everybody.Your loving son, Fred Nichols.”
There is a memorial to Frederic (sic) Nichols in the Nichols family plot in the Wesleyan Chapelyard behind the Chapel in Brook Street, Raunds. More details of the memorial and its location can be found in our "Guide to the War Memorials of Raunds", still obtainable via our "Publications" page.