Corporal Harry Nickels


Harry Nickels was born on 9 February 1898 at 8 Rutland Street, Belfast, the last of nine children of English-born parents, basket-maker foreman James Nickel and his wife Sarah Ann (née Bush). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 63 Agincourt Avenue, Belfast, with his parents and five of his seven surviving siblings. Soon after, they moved to 8 Burmah Street.

Nickels enlisted in the North Irish Horse at some point following the declaration of war in August 1914 (regimental number unknown). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp until November 1916, when he and around 100 other North Irish Horsemen volunteered to transfer to the Royal Irish Rifles. The formal transfer took place on 7 December (Nickels was issued regimental number 40905), and on that day the men embarked for France. There they were posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, joining it on the Somme front on 12 December. He was later posted to the 10th Battalion.

Nickels was subsequently transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers (No.28133), where he was posted to the 2nd Garrison Battalion. On 2 April 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He was granted a pension due to goitre, which was aggravated by his military service, his level of disability assessed at 40 per cent in November 1919.

On 4 August 1927 Nickels married Bessie Margretta Mildred Neill. By 1964 they were living at 44 Dublin Road and 176 Finaghy Road South, Belfast. He died at the latter place on 23 May that year, and was buried in the Roselawn Cemetery.


At least one of Nickels' brothers, Walter, also served in the war, in the Royal Naval Air Service.


Crescent Presbyterian Church Roll of Honour, Belfast



First image courtesy of Nigel Henderson, History Hub Ulster. Second image sourced from the Billion Graves website.