John Gordon Nicholson

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John Gordon Nicholson
Nicholson John Gordon.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 24 Mar 1920
Place of Birth Kelmscott, Western Australia
Death 27 Feb 1942, aged 21
Place of Death Off Queensland, Australia
Age at Enlistment 20 years, 5 months
Description 6'2¼" (1.88m) tall ; 144lbs
65.317 kg
; fair complexion ; blue eyes ; light brown hair ; small scar over left patella
Occupation clerk
Religion Roman Catholic
Address Victoria Park, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Police Inspector Joseph Nicholson
Military Information
Reg Number 17708
Date of Enlistment 11 Sep 1940
Rank Sergeant
Unit/Formation No. 33 Squadron RAAF
Post War Details
Fate Died as a result of an aircraft accident
Monument(s) Rockood Cemetery
WA State War Memorial
Australian War Memorial Australian War Memorial
Medals 1939-45 Star
Pacific Star
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

Had passed the Junior Certificate (Year 10) with passes in English, Latin, History, Geography, Agricultural Science, Maths A and Maths Band was working as a Clerk with the Crown Law Department of Western Australia (Children's Court at Midland junction).

War Service

On enlistment John was sent to the No. 4 Recruit Depot RAAF at Pearce having asked to be trained as a wireless operator. Ten days later on 21 Sep 1940 he was transferred to No. 1 School of Technical Training RAAF in West Melbourne where he completed Wireless/Telegraphy (W/T) Course No. 35 on 15 Mar 1941. From there he was posted to No. 1 Signal School RAAF at Point Cook, to attend a Recruits Drill Course from 23 Mar - 17 Apr 1941. On 29 May 1941 he was remustered as a W/T Operator, and with John's training in Australia completed, he was then transferred on 2 Jun 1941 to No. 2 Embarkation Depot RAAF at Bradfield Park in Sydney.

On 27 Jun 1941 John was posted to No. 11 Squadron RAAF as a Wireless Operator. Then on 1 Aug 1941 John was transferred on paper to the Headquarters Port Moresby and on 26 Sep 1941 his designation changed to Wireless-Air Gunner, and on 1 Oct 1941 he was appointed as a Leading Aircraftman. John's records also have an entry indicating that he was an Acting Sergeant from 26 Sep 1941. On 27 Feb 1942 he was a member of the crew of an aircraft that disappeared, presumably as a result of an aircraft accident near Townsville. Initially reported as missing, but in time presumed to have been killed that day.

The internet site lists an aircraft crash in Cleveland Bay, Townsville on 27 Feb 1942. The plane involved was an Empire Flying Boat Short S23 C Class S.849, Serial Number A18-12 G-AEUG "Coogee' VH-ABC, with the loss of 8 crew members. The RAAF History for No. 11 Squadron RAAF indicates that the Short Empire Flying Boats were transferred to 33 Squadron on 16 Feb 1942, and the history for No. 33 Squadron RAAF confirms that the Short Empire Flying Boats comprised their 'A' Flight.

Police-Inspector J. Nicholson, who recently left Geraldton on transfer to Fremantle, has received advice to the effect that his son (Sergeant J. Nicholson), who was a wireless operator-air gunner in the Royal Australian Air Force, has been posted missing as a result of an aircraft accident and also that no hope can be held for his survival.[1]

  • Sydney Memorial at Rookwood for those who have no grave


John is commemorated on Panel 6 at the Rookwood Memorial.

  1. Trove: Geraldton Guardian and Express (WA:1929-1947) Tuesday 10 March 1942, page 4.

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