Sergeant John Edwin Charles Averell Steele-Nicholson (1591275) served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War. He was the son of the late Robert Charles Henry Steele-Nicholson and Lydia Mary Noel Amelia "Ivy" Steele-Nicholson (née Lloyd) of Balloo House, Bangor, Co. Down.
Records suggest John’s father was a merchant at the Jamirah Tea Estate, Dibrugarh, Assam, India where John was born in 1922. John, his mother, and an older sister Kathleen arrived in London, England on 9th May 1924 having departed Calcutta, India on the vessel Margha. The incoming passenger list documents their proposed address as Tamnamore, Moy, Co. Tyrone. The family resided in Moy, Co. Tyrone in 1943 when the Belfast News Letter carried news of Harriet Kathleen Steele-Nicholson’s engagement.
Steele-Nicholson at War
Sergeant Steele-Nicholson died on 14th September 1942 aged 20 years old. He was an Air Gunner on Consolidated Liberator AL-624 when it took off at 1100hrs from R.A.F. Burn near Selby, Yorkshire, England. The crew from R.A.F. No. 1653 Conversion Unit was on a non-operation cross-country training flight but failed to return to the airfield. The Liberator descended through the clouds and struck high ground near Millfore, Kircudbright, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. There were no survivors.
The time and cause of the accident was not known but it was presumed that the Pilot descended through cloud shortly after turning on BTA to position himself and struck a hill. Three other aircraft completed the same route without incident.
Incident Report, 1942.
Remembering the crew of Liberator AL-624
|Last Name||First Name(s)||Rank||Role||Information|
|Betts||Ivan Harold||Pilot Officer||1st Pilot||R.A.F.V.R. 109064.|
|Boar||Geoffrey Crisp "Geoff"||Sergeant||Wireless Operator||R.A.F.V.R. 1310500.|
|Bowrey||James||Sergeant||Air Gunner||R.A.F.V.R. 1174321.|
|Calder||George Douglas||Sergeant||Air Gunner||R.A.A.F. 401366.|
|Steele-Nicholson||John Edwin Charles Averell||Sergeant||Air Gunner||R.A.F.V.R. 1591275.|
|Talley||Victor Frederick||Sergeant||Air Gunner||R.A.F.V.R. 1320265.|
|Warner||Derek Eaton||Sergeant||2nd Pilot||R.A.F. 655996.|
John Edwin Charles Averell Steele-Nicholson’s grave is in Grave 604 of Kirkenner Cemetery, Wigtownshire, Scotland. His name is on the Dungannon War Memorial, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone and the Moy War Memorial, Moy, Co. Tyrone. His headstone in Scotland bears the inscription:
Of Ballow [sic], Bangor N. Ireland. “And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life”.