Distinguished Service Order, VR issue, Queen’s South Africa, 6 bars, Cape Colony, Tugela Heights, Orange Free State, Relief of Ladysmith, Transvaal, Laing’s Neck, King’s South Africa Medal, 2 bars, SA 1901, SA 1902, 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory Medal, Bilingual SA issue, Captain Andrew Geddes Bain Nicol, Johannesburg Mounted Rifles, former Bethune’s Mounted Infantry.
D.S.O. in well preserved condition, only minor chipping to green wreath section.
Q.S.A. Officially impressed: “243 Sjt: A. G. B. Nicol. Bethune’s M.I.”
K.S.A. Officially impressed: “Capt A. G. B. Nicol, D.S.O. Johannesburg M.R.”
1914-15 Star off impressed: “Lt A.G.B. Nicol S.A.S.C. T. and R.”
WW1 Bilingual Pair off impressed: “Capt A. G. B. Nicol.”
A brief summary of his career from the VC and DSO Book:
ANDREW GEDDES BAIN NICOL, Captain, was born in the district of Albany, Cape Colon, in 1878, son of William Nicol, of Fife, Scotland, and A. S. Bain.
He was educated at County School in the district of Alabany; was a Stock Farmer up to the age of 21; mining and managing electrical plant at Barberton.
At the outbreak of the Transvaal War he joined Bethune’s Mounted Infantry at Maritzburg as a Trooper, fought throughout Colenso, then in all fights u to the Relief of Ladysmith, then with Buller into the Transvaal, back to Vryheid.
He served through Captain Goff’s disaster, and was one of the few who escaped. He was promoted to Sergeant for this.
He entered the Johannesburg Mounted Rifles as Lieutenant under Bruce Hamilton and Colonel Stewart, served with Hamilton’s Column and assisted in the capture of Cherry Emmett, captured the notorious Boer Goetser, Landrost of New Amsterdam, Transvaal, was awarded the D.S.O. for the latter.
He was created a Compaion of the Disintguished Service Order, London Gazette 26th June 1902:
“Andrew Geddes Bain Nicol, Capt. Johannesburg Mounted Rifles. In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa.”
Capt Nicol recruited for the Johannesburg Mounted Rifles, and organised the Volunteer Movement in Johannesburg.
He is a good game shot and rider.”
Nicol has previously received a mention in despatches and special promotion to Sergeant with Bethune’s Mounted Infantry, London Gazette 8th February 1901:
“In the are commanded by Lt General Hildyard, the mounted work of guarding the communications were performed by Bethune’s Mounted Infantry and the Composite Regiment of Mounted Infantry.
Lieut-Colonel E. C. Bethune, 16th Lancers, raised this regiment and commanded it most efficiently throughout the campaign. I strongly recommend him to your favourable considerations
The following Officers and non-commissioned Oficers are brought to notice:-
…..Are mentioned as having performed continuous good work throughout as are –
…..Sergeant A. G. Nichol.”
He received a mention in despatches and D.S.O. only brief after his commission and joining the Johannesburg Mounted Rifles, announced in the London Gazette, 3rd December 1901 with details:
“Lieutenant Nicoll, For dash and judgement in attack on position at Waterval on 10th September 1901.”
The details of the disastrous action which led to his mention and promotion as a Trooper of Bethune’s Mounted Infantry when Capt Goff was killed and he was one of only very few survivors to escape:
“Battle of Scheeper’s Nek, 20th May 1900
Colonel Bethune and about 500 men were ordered to march from Dundee to Newcastle. Although the Boers had evacuated Dundee, scattered groups remained in the vicinity and on 16 May 1900, Bethune was ordered to pursue some of these who were reported to be near Nqutu. His mounted infantry found no Boers at Nqutu but hearing of a commando in the Blood River valley, moved off northwards in pursuit. By 20 May he was in the vicinity of Scheepers Nek where a small force of Boers (Vryheid and Swaziland Commando’s under Commandant Blignaut) was concentrated in a valley behind the nek.
Capt Goff, who was in command of “E” squadron, was considerably in advance of the rest of the force and rode into Scheepers Nek. They approached the Boer position without noticing the guards, giving them the opportunity to disperse before the British could attack. The squadron found itself in an exposed position on a slope where ant heaps formed the only cover. The Boers deployed to the ridges and opened fire, creating havoc amongst the British squadron’s horses. The dismounted infantry replied as best they could and made good use of their maxim gun. However, the hot Boer fire forced the British to withdraw before the main body arrived. Very few of the men managed to escape.
British losses were 28 men killed (including Capt Goff and 2 subalterns), 30 were wounded and 6 were taken prisoner. The Boers captured a machine gun and 26 horses, while losing one burgher killed, one wounded and one taken prisoner. As a result of the action Bethune fell back on Nqutu and eventually to Dundee.”
Following the war he worked as a Government Stock Inspector. He signed up to fight once again in WW1, he enlisted first on 1st November 1914 as a Lieutenant in the South African Service Corps, Transport Section, after being later released from the S.A.S.C. he enlisted on 1st May 1916 at Roberts heights aged 42 as a Captain (Squadron Commander) of the 9th South African Horse.
He fought with the 9th S.A.H. having landed in British East Africa on 28th May 1916.
He was invalided out of service on 31st October 1916 having been suffering from Deafness and Multiple bouts of Malaria stemming from service in Kondoa, Tanzania.
His medical report states:
“He has had 4 attacks. he has been in Hsopital twice, the first time for 9 days and the 2nd time for 5 days in October when he was returned to SOuth Africa. He has been deaf since 1900 and taking quinine affected his hearing and this he considers him unfit for service. With the right ear he only hears a watch on contact and wtih the left about 2 inches away.”