Nicholls, William Arthur

Personal Information

Rank F/L
Forename(s) William Arthur
Surname Nicholls
Gender M
Age 33
Date of Death 14-03-1943
Next of Kin Son of Thomas and Ada Nicholls. Husband of Elizabeth Teresa Nicholls, of Cottingham, Yorkshire. M.A. (Cantab.).

Aircraft Information

Serial Number

Memorial Information

Burial/Memorial Country United Kingdom
Burial/Memorial Place Harwell Cemetery
Grave Reference Grave 549.

IBCC Memorial Information

Phase 2
Panel Number 218

Enlistment Information

Service Number 107893
Service Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Squadron Harwell
Country of Origin United Kingdom

Miscellaneous Information

Diss Express 26th March 1943: "FRAMLINGHAM SQUADRON LEADER’S SUICIDE A verdict that Flight-Lieutenant William Arthur Nicholls (34). formerly schoolmaster, of “The Freehold.” Framlingham, took his life while the balance )f his mind was disturbed, was returned at an inquest in the Home Counties. A Squadron-Leader said that Nicholls was keen and enthusiastic and on his recommendation had been promoted. Nicholls recently had said he was worried about his work as an adjutant, and witness had sent him or. three days’ leave. When returned he was quite heedful but thr.-»? days before his death was again depressed about his work. When asked whether would like to go on leave again or wait, he asked to go later, and it was agreed that on his return they would talk the matter over, with the idea of getting him to a more suitable unit. At 11.45 p.m., March 13th, he went to the tent he shared with Nicholls. who was apparently fast asleep. The next morning, he could not wake Nicholls, and on pulling back the blanket found he had shot himself with revolver. L.-A.-C. Workman, a batman, gave evidence that Nicholls went to bed late in the morning of March 12th. Witness thought he was suffering from his usual stomach trouble. During the afternoon he heard a shot, but thought someone was shooting rabbits. Other officers seated that they had visited Nicholls* tent, and concluded he was sleeping. Police-Sergeant Perkins said Nicholls left no note relevant to the inquiry."

Last Operation Information

Start Date 30-11--0001
End Date 30-11--0001
Takeoff Station
Day/Night Raid
Reason for Loss

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Casualty Pack

IBCC is delighted to introduce a unique facility to link the Losses Database to the relevant RAF Casualty Pack on the National Archives website. This project is the result of on-going collaboration between IBCC, the MOD Records Office and National Archives, Kew. This document describes what Casualty Packs are, when they were created, the process of making them available to the public and then goes on to describe the process by which you can view the contents of the packs. Casualty Packs (CPs) were created by the RAF whenever there was serious injury or loss of life associated with operational activity within the RAF. This includes operational flying losses, enemy action due to air raids, road accidents either on station or even off-station if they involved RAF vehicles. Deaths due to natural causes in service or accidents that did not involve RAF vehicles did not generally give rise to a CP.

CPs were originally given a unique reference number by the RAF. Each begins with the letter ‘P’ and is followed by six digits, then an oblique (forward slash) and the finally the year in which the incident took place- for example P396154/42.

The CPs are in the process of being made available to the general public as they are passed from the MOD Records Office, Portsmouth to National Archives, Kew. This process requires some rework to the files which is very time consuming, so the process of making them all available to National Archives will take several years. They are being made available in increasing date order.

Once CPs arrive at National Archives they are assigned a unique AIR81 number, so each CP has both a P-number and an AIR81 number. Both are searchable on the National Archives website under ‘Search the catalogue’ and both are included on the IBCC website.

The AIR81 reference on the IBCC website is a link to the file on the National Archives website. When you click on it, the relevant page will open in a new tab on your browser.

There is currently no plan to digitise AIR81 files, partly because they are fragile and partly because the information they contain can at times be sensitive, even harrowing, since they may contain exhumation reports and even photographs of corpses. Family members wishing to read the AIR81 files relating to their ancestors are advised to exercise caution and be guided by National Archives warnings where appropriate.

There are two means for accessing AIR81 files- to attend in person or to order a copy by post.

To attend in person, the attendee should first create a Reader’s Ticket. This can be done online by following this link: Then click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and click Order in Advance. Enter your Reader’s Ticket number and state the date on which you intend to visit. National Archives will have the file ready for you when you arrive, saving you time. When you visit Kew, you must quote the Reader’s Ticket number and take along two forms of ID- one bearing your signature and one bearing your address. When you view the files, you are permitted to take photographs of each page, should you wish.

Alternatively, if you wish to order a copy by post, please be aware that there is a charge for this service based on the number of pages in the file. Click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and then click Request a Copy. There is an £8.40 charge for National Archives staff to access the file and give you a quotation for the copying service. The process takes around 24 days to complete and can be expensive.

IBCC wishes to thank the staff at the MOD Records Office and National Archives for their engagement and assistance in making this facility available to our website users.