NICHOLSON Whitworth Brady

Category: Military
Rank: Lieutenant
Regiment or Ship: HMS Swift
Occupation: Royal Navy
Date of Birth: 1896
Place of Birth: Yokohoma, Japan (British Subject by Parentage)
Date of Death: 06.05.1918
Place of Death: English Channel on Board HMS Swift Place of Burial / Memorials:

1.     St.James Cemetery, Dover, Kent.

2.    Dover Patrol Memorial Book, St. Margaret of Antioch’s Church at St.Margarets at Cliffe, Kent.

3.    St.Stephen’s Church Memorial, Bexhill.


Address: Kingsley, Townsend Place, St.Albans, Herts. 28 Wilton Road, Bexhill (parents)

Photos and newspaper articles

Family Information


Father:        Joseph Collinson b.1856 South Lincolnshire d. 1925 Bexhill

Mother:      W.M Nicholoson

First World War Experience

Whitworth Brady Nicholson was a career sailor. In 1911, aged 14, he was a cadet at the Royal Naval College at Osborne on the Isle of Wight and very likely received further training at Dartmouth.   His ship, HMS Swift, joined the Dover Patrol to keep the Channel clear of the enemy, including submarines. After one skirmish, Nicholson was mentioned for early promotion.

The men of the Dover Patrol worked to keep the seas safe, guarding the southernmost part of the North Sea and the Dover Straits which extended as far as Beachy Head. They escorted hospital, troop and merchant ships, allowing huge numbers of men and supplies to travel safely. They also set minefields and cleared German mines and were continually on the lookout for submarines.   They also bombarded enemy positions on the Belgian coast. The most famous was the Blockade of Zebrugge on 23rd April 1918. Two thousand men from the Dover Patrol died during the War.

Sadly Nicholson was killed while on service aged just 21 years old. Nearing Dover after a night patrol his ship hit a mine and he was killed outright. Sub–Lieutenant G McCoul, later Surgeon Captain McCoul wrote a diary at the time, he records:

 “7th May: 2.33 am we struck a mine with our port propeller guard.   The explosion blew in the port side of the wardroom and the subs cabin aft (one continuous hole).   The Sub (Nicholson) was off duty, in his cabin and asleep.   Ditto self and Mr Coughlan (Commissioned Mechanic).   The Gunner (Mr Turner) was on duty after the watch.   A. B. Robson was with the ammunition party whose action station was the ward-room .   Nicholson and Robson killed outright and instantaneously. Coming back on one propeller we were all over the place and finally bumped Dover Pier which concertinaed 15 feet of our bows”.

 Whitworth was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Additional Information

The Dover Patrol Memorial Obelisks were erected at Leathercoate Point, Kent and Cap Blanc, France and a facsimile in New York Harbour, USA.

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