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John Hugh Nichol

J Nichol, died while pow - This image may be subject to copyright

J Nichol, died while pow - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    John Hugh AWMM
  • Surname
    Nichol AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWII 64062 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
  • Date of birth
    4 October 1916 Public - Ross - 27 April 2020 - His father, William Nichol's gravestone at Old Te Puke Cemetery.
  • Place of birth
    Gore, New Zealand Public - Ross - 27 April 2020 - His father, William Nichol's gravestone at Old Te Puke Cemetery.
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW2 Te Matai, RD, Te Puke, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Mrs M.A. Nichol (mother), Te Matai, RD, Te Puke, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    WWII 64062 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
    Tawara, Kiribati AWMM
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed or died while a Prisoner of War, Cause of Death AWMM
    Executed by Japanese whilst a prisoner of war AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • John Nichol was the son of William Nichol and Maud Alice Nichol (nee Hobbs) of Te Puke. AWMM
    • John Hugh Nichol was from a farming family with his parents, William and Maud in Waimumu, Southland. They were forced out of their farm in the late 1920's and they subsequently farmed in the Te Awamutu area. My father, Norman Dickie, who happens to be born in the Gore area two days earlier than John Hugh Nichol, was on a journey around the North Island in January 1935 along with his Gore farming parents, David and Ann. They knew the Nichol family, farmimg in the Waimumu area. They stayed with the Nichol family for a few days. Due to the Depression, the Nichols had no car, but a kind neighbour drove them sightseeing around the Te Awamutu area in her car, including Waitomo Cave. Another local outing the Nichol and Dickie families did was Kakepuku Hill, a bush clad hill. The two 18 year olds, John and Norman ran up a bush track to the top of Kakepuku Hill.

      That was a happy stay. Tragically 7½ years later, John lost his life with sixteen others on Tarawa Island, and with five additional European civilians living on the island.

      Sadly his mother, Maud died heartbroken in 1947, 3½ years after the confirmation of the news of the Tarawa Island atrocities from NZ Prime Minister, Peter Fraser. William died in 1950.

      In Waimumu, Southland, there were plans to put two memorial plaques of those killed in WW1 & WW2 on the outside wall of the Waimumu Memorial Church. My grandfather, David Dickie and a local farmer, Challoner Bowmar successfully put forward that the name of John Hugh Nichol be included with three other Waimumu servicemen who did not returned from WW2. Both WW1 & WW2 memorial plaques were unveiled in 1953.

      Sixty-three years later, my father Norman became a centenarian. On Anzac Day 2017, Norman spoke about the tragic circumstances of John Nichol at Tarawa Island to a packed crowd of 200 in the Waimumu Hall, none did not know who John H. Nichol was on the memorial plaque, that he once was a Waimumu boy on a family farm in the 1920's.

      Norman died five weeks after that Anzac Day and the 'Last Post' facing the plaques outside the Waimumu Memorial Church, attended by 200 people. Public - Ross - 6 May 2020 - Family memories and John H. Nichol's name on the Waimumu Memorial Church.
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About death

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  • Memorial name
    • Bourail Memorial, Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery, New Caledonia AWMM
    • Betio Memorial, Tarawa, Kiribati AWMM
    • Tarawa Coastwatchers Memorial AWMM
    • Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 2 Hall of Memories AWMM

Roll of Honour

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Leave a tribute or memory of John Hugh Nichol

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  • John Hugh Nichol was my uncle, but I never met him. He was known as Jack in our family. All those who knew him have now gone. His story is close to our family, to who we are and what we are. We will not forget Jack, I have told my sons the story of their great uncle.
    Public - Bruce - Other relative - 22 May 2021
  • As a contributor, I do not know the Nichol family but I heard stories about the family over the years from my centenarian father.

    A very sad story in regards to John Hugh Nichol and his parents, Maud and William. John is certainly remembered at Waimumu.
    Public - Ross - 7 May 2020
  • John Nichol who was tortured by the Japanese is remembered with pride by the daughter of Edmund Bragg and Zena Farrelly. My parents never forgot what this poor boy went through. RIP John.
    Public - MAREE - Friend - 28 January 2015



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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 4 (Embarkations from 1st April, 1941 to 30 June, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 4: WW2 262 AWMM
    • The New Zealand Herald AWMM
      "Tarawa Outrage, Massacre by Japanese", N.Z. Herald, 23 Oct 1944 (copy of article in ACF27569) AWMM
    • Information kindly provided by family AWMM


Command item
Command item
Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
22 May 2021BruceMelbourneOther relative
17 May 2021Ian BanksTaumarunui New ZealandResearcher
07 May 2020RossGore, New ZealandOther
28 January 2015MAREE TE PUKE N.Z.Friend

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