CB gold HM 1879
CBE (!st type)
BSCAM for Rhodesia 1896 (Captn. J. S. Nicholson. 7th Huss.);
QSA (4) RoM OFS Tr Rhod (Colonel J. S. Nicholson, C.B. D.S.O. 7/Hrs.);
KSA (2) (Colonel J. S. Nicholson, S.A.C.);
1914 Star (Col. J. S. Nicholson. C.B.. C.M.G.. D.S.O..);
BWM and VM with MID (Brig. Gen. J. S. Nicholson);
France, Third Republic, Legion of Honour, Officer’s breast badge, gold and enamels, with rosette, in its Aucoc, Paris case of issue;
Belgium, Kingdom, Order of Leopold, Officer’s breast badge with swords, silver-gilt and enamels, with rosette in its L. Lelu case of issue;
Portugal, Republic, Order of Avis, Second Class set of insignia by Da Costa, Lisboa, silver-gilt and enamels, complete with neck cravat in its Da Costa case of issue;
Belgium, Kingdom, Croix de Guerre, bronze;
Panama, Republic, Solidarity Medal 1917-18, Third Class, bronze, with rosette
CB London Gazette 7 May 1897.
CMG London Gazette 9 November 1905.
CBE London Gazette 3 June 1918.
DSO London Gazette 7 May 1897: ‘In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa in 1896.’
Relief of Mafeking clasp confirmed on roll of South African Constabulary ‘With Gen. Plumer B.S.A.P.’
John Sanctuary Nicholson was born in Kensington, London, on 19 May 1863, second son of W. Nicholson, of Basing Park, Alton, Hampshire. He was educated at Harrow, was commissioned from Sandhurst as Lieutenant in the 7th Hussars on 6 February 1884, and was promoted to Captain on 23 January 1891. He spent eight years in India with his regiment before being sent to Rhodesia, on special service, in the aftermath of the Jameson Raid into the Transvaal, and was deputed to take over the ordnance and ammunition of the British South Africa Company's police in Bulawayo from Lieutenant-Colonel Plumer. As a result of the Jameson Raid the colony was practically denuded of European police and the British South Africa Police were now divided into two divisions, Mashonaland and Matabeleland, with headquarters at Salisbury and Bulawayo respectively. Nicholson was appointed the first commander of the Matabeleland Division of police and at the outbreak of the Matabeleland Rebellion in 1896, he was the only Imperial Army officer on the spot. During these operations Nicholson played a distinguished part and the B.S.A. Police established itself incontestably as Rhodesia’s first line of defence. He was Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 9 March 1897), received the Medal, and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order. Nicholson is mentioned throughout Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert Plumer’s excellent narrative of the campaign An Irregular Corps in Matabeleland.
Nicholson was Commandant-General of the British South Africa Police from November 1898 to October 1900. He became Major on 27 May 1899, and served in the South African War, 1899-1902, first in command of the B.S.A. Police and a Brigade of Bushmen, and afterwards in command of the 1st Brigade, Rhodesia Field Force. He was mentioned in despatches (London Gazette 16 April 1901); was given the Brevet of Lieutenant-Colonel 29 November 1900; received the Queen’s Medal with four clasps and the King’s Medal with two clasps, and was created a Companion of the Bath.
He was Inspector-General of Volunteers in Rhodesia from 1898 and was employed with the South African Constabulary from 23 October 1902, until 8 July 1903, when he succeeded Baden-Powell as Inspector-General of the South African Constabulary, a position he held until 20 August 1905, when he retired and was rewarded with the C.M.G. He became Lieutenant-Colonel on 8 July 1903, and Colonel on 23 February 1907.
During the First World War Colonel Nicholson held a special appointment as O.C. Reinforcements at St Nazaire from 15 September 1914 to 23 April 1915, when he became Base Commandant at Havre. He was temporary Brigadier-General and Base Commandant, British Armies in France, 2 December 1916 to 31 December 1918. For his work during the war he was created a C.B.E. in the 1918 King’s Birthday Honours’ List.
Nicholson retired from the Army in 1920 and in the following year was elected the Conservative Member for the Westminster Abbey constituency in a by-election following the death of the incumbent M.P., being re-elected in the following two general elections of 1922 and 1923. Nicholson was never married and resided both at Bordean House, Langrish, Petersfield, and at South Audley Street, Mayfair. He was Vice-Chairman of the Hampshire Territorial Force Association, and died on 21 February 1924, of pneumonia at his house at South Audley Street.
Sold with a French Government presentation medal ‘Offert au nom du Departement par le Prefet de la Seine Infe’, dated ‘1914-1918’, hallmarked gold, 33mm, in fitted Arthus Bertrand case, the lid with gold embossed dedication ‘Au Brigadier-Général Nicholson Commandant La Base Britannique au Havre’; and a Belgian silver medal by G. Devreese, 75mm, dedicated to Brand Whitlock, American Minister in Brussels, ‘A son Excellence Brand Whitlock La Belgique Reconnaissante 1914-1915’.
BSACM, reverse Rhodesia 1896 (0) (Surgn. Captn. C. H. Hale. Med. Staff.);
QSA (4) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (Major C. H. Hale, D.S.O. R.A.M.C.); 1914-15 Star (Col. C. H. Hale D.S.O. A.M.S.);
BWM and VM MID (Col. C. H. Hale),
CMG London Gazette 2 February 1916: 'For services in Gallipoli.'
DSO London Gazette 7 May 1897: 'In recognition of services during the recent operations in South Africa 1896.'
One of 7 DSOs issued for the Rhodesia 1896 operations.
Charles Henry Hale was born on 9 March 1863 at Eastbourne, Sussex and educated at Plymouth Grammar School and St. Mary's Hospital, qualifying in 1884. After acting as Assistant Medical Officer at the Salop and Mongomery Counties' Asylum, he entered the Army as a Surgeon and became Captain with the Army Medical Staff on 5 February 1887.
Rhodesia - D.S.O.
Sent to South Africa in 1890, Hale saw extensive active service during the 1896 operations in Rhodesia. He is mentioned on numerous occasions in With the Mounted Infantry and the Mashonaland Field Force, 1896, by Lieutenant-Colonel E. A. H. Alderson, who takes up the story:
'On the 15th [July] we heard of the arrival at Fontesvilla of a detachment of 4 officers and 150 men of the West Riding Regiment, 1 officer [Hale] and 6 men of the Medical Staff Corps, and 2 men of the Army Service Corps.
[October] Fifteen casualties in the three days. Quite enough, considering the size of the force, to give me plenty to think about as we rode back to the laagers that evening. It was during this ride that I realized how much less pleasant it is to direct operations, and to say to one officer, "Take your men there", to another, "Attack that kopje," etc., than it is to receive such orders and then to say to your own little lot of men, "Come on." The latter is exhilarating, like a good run with hounds in a stiff country; the former is like seeing a dear friend ride a steeplechase over a severe course on a bad horse.
One thing in the three days' fighting I am sure of, and that is, that the wounded could not under the circumstances have been picked up quicker, or made more comfortable than they were under the arrangements made by Surgeon-Captain Hale.'
Hale was then appointed in Medical Command for the Lomagundi and Sinoia Column numbering some 306 men, which set off on 24 October. Alderson continues:
'On the 26th we came upon the first traces of the murders in the Lomagundi district. Our midday outspan was near the Sange River, and there we found two skulls, some bones, and some partly burnt letters from Jameson, the Mining Commissioner of the district, who was supposed to have been murdered. Hale pronounced one of the skulls to be that of a white man, so we took it with us and buried it next day at the store.'
He would follow this grissly discovery with being tasked to scout and explore the Native Commissioner's Camp whilst Alderson went to the Ayrshire Mines. Hale was duly 'mentioned' (London Gazette 9 March 1897, refers) besides being granted the D.S.O., which he received from the hands of Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on the 19 May 1897.
Further campaigns - heartbreak
Advanced Major on 5 February 1899, Hale served in the Boer War, taking part in the operations in the Orange River and Cape Colony from March 1901-31 May 1902 (Medal & 4 clasps). With his career advancing well, his personal life would sadly subside. His wife, with whom he had one daughter, had begun an affair with Colonel E. R. Murray, D.S.O., Imperial Yeomanry, whilst he was away in South Africa. The case came before the Divorce Court in 1904, with the details of the tryst read aloud. Justice Barnes granted a divorce.
Advanced Lieutenant-Colonel, 7 June 1911 and Colonel, 1 March 1915, he served during the Great War in Gallipoli during 1915. Appointed Assistant Director of Medical Services from 28 April-28 December 1915 and Deputy Assistant of Medical Services, 9th Corps, to the evacuation of Sulva Bay, he was then Deputy Director of Medical Services, 8th Corps, until the evacuation of Cape Helles.
Hale latterly served as Deputy Director of Medical Services with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force and retired on pay on 23 May 1917. He had finished the war with a C.M.G. and a brace of 'mentions' (London Gazettes 28 January & 13 July 1916, refer).
The Colonel died at the River Yealm Hotel, Newton Ferrers, Plymouth on 20 July 1921, leaving his brother, Colonel G. E. Hale, to claim his Great War entitlement. His will left £5,037, which included two boxes containing a pair of guns, silver and saddles to St. Dunstan's Hostel for the Blind, £500 in trust to his grandson and £100 to the Salvation Army (Sheffield Daily Telegraph 28 September 1921, refers).