The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. P B Nicolson
Peter Bethune Nicolson, of Glasgow, joined the RAFVR about November 1937 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on September 1st 1939 he completed his training and arrived at 6 OTU, Sutton Bridge on 3rd June 1940. After converting to Hurricanes, Nicholson joined 3 Squadron at Wick about 23rd June 1940. He was posted to Sumburgh when ‘B’ Flight of 3 Squadron was redesignated 232 Squadron on 21st July. He was still on 232 on 4th November 1940.
Nicolson was later serving with 274 Squadron in the Western Desert and took part in operations over Crete. On 27th April 1941 he shared in the destruction of a Ju88, with another 274 pilot named Weller and a Blenheim. After this engagement the two Hurricanes landed on Crete. Nicolson was able to take off next morning but Weller was stranded there, with his Hurricane damaged by his landing on a badly-pitted runway.
Nicolson was killed over Crete on 29th May 1941 in Hurricane Z4634 as a Flight Sergeant with 274 Squadron. He was carrying out a sortie over central Crete to drop a message to Allied troops with orders for the British garrison at Rethymno to withdraw to the south.
Nicholson is remembered on the Alamein Memorial, Column 242.
Photographs courtesy of Colonel C R Romberg RA, British Embassy Cairo