William Henry Snyder Nickerson

William Nickerson treated a wounded man while under heavy fire. He protected him until the fire stopped and he could be brought back.

Dorchester, New Brunswick


South African War

Early Life

William Nickerson was born in Dorchester, New Brunswick on March 27, 1875 to an English family that had emigrated to Canada. While he was still a child, Nickerson's family returned to Britain where he would go on to study medicine. He later enlisted and would serve in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the South African War.

Battle of Wakkerstroom

On April 20, 1900, Nickerson was a 25-year-old lieutenant attached to the Mounted Infantry of the British Army at Wakkerstroom, South Africa. He was involved in an advance on Bwab's Hill that saw heavy fighting and a trooper from the Worcestershire Regiment was badly wounded by shellfire. The wounded soldier was in an exposed position and there was no way he could be rescued until the enemy fire eased.

Victoria Cross

That night, during an infantry assault to aid the mounted infantry, Lieutenant Nickerson risked his life to go forward and help the wounded man.

"At Wakkerstroom, on the evening of the 20th April, 1900, during the advance of the Infantry to support the Mounted Troops, Lieutenant Nickerson went, in the most gallant manner, under a heavy rifle and shell fire, to attend a wounded man, dressed his wounds, and remained with him till he had him conveyed to a place of safety."

Victoria Cross citation, The London Gazette, February 12, 1901, p. 18)

Later life

In addition to his Victoria Cross, this action also earned him a Mentioned in Dispatches. Nickerson survived the war and later rose to the rank of Major-General after service in the First World War. He later was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1933. Nickerson died on April 10, 1954 and is buried in the private burial ground at his home in Cour, Kintyre, Scotland.


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