Funeral of Henry Nicholas

The funeral of Victoria Cross recipient Henry Nicholas

Following his death, Henry Nicholas was buried in the French cemetery at Beaudignies. However, as the Canterbury battalion wished to show greater respect, army chaplain Rev. G.T. Robson had the body exhumed and reinterred, with full military honours, among other war graves in the Vertigneul churchyard in northern France. The service was conducted by the Bishop of Nelson, Dr Sadlier, with battalion commander Brigadier-General Young and other officers as pall-bearers.  Robson wrote to Nicholas’s mother, telling her that 'It was an impressive ceremony and thus was laid to rest one of the heroes of the New Zealand Division.'

In honour of Nicholas’s exploits, a Christchurch women’s group made a banner depicting St George slaying the dragon, which still drapes a wall inside the church at Vertigneul. Nicholas's medals were sent to his mother after the war. She bequeathed them to the Canterbury Museum, which received them after her death in 1932. Her headstone in the Bromley Cemetery contains a memorial to her son. 

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Robert Beeston

Posted: 24 Oct 2008

My Grandfather Pte Victor John Beeston kept a small diary during the war and in it he states that he attended the funeral of Pte Nicholas VC