Henry Nicholas was buried at Vertignuel with full military honours.

The second burial of Henry Nicholas's body at Vertigneul on 29 October 1918, which was attended by the surviving members of 1st Canterbury Regiment

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As the 1st Canterbury Regiment was likely to move at any time, Henry Nicholas was initially buried on 25 October 1918 in the French cemetery at Beaudignies. As there was great danger of shellfire, it was impossible to gather a large group of men together for the burial.

The Regiment was afterwards withdrawn from active operations and sent to the village of Vertigneul. Once there, the Chaplain, Reverend George Robson MC, arranged for Henry’s body to be exhumed and reburied at Vertignuel with full military honours.

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These bronze memorial plaques, commonly known as a “Dead Man’s Penny”, were issued for all British and Empire personnel who died as a consequence of World War One. Altogether 1.36 million plaques were issued and Henry’s mother Hannah received this plaque in February 1922.

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The Star, 14 November 1918

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Commemorating a Life

Henry’s mother, Hannah Nicholas, learned of her son’s death by receiving the telegram that every parent dreaded. The news appeared in the Christchurch papers on 8 November 1918 and a death notice was printed a week later.

In April 1919, Hannah received a visit from Colonel Ralph Chaffey who presented her with Henry’s Victoria Cross at a gathering of Henry’s friends and relatives. Henry’s mother purchased a plot at Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch and a headstone remembering Henry was later erected.

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After the end of the War, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission identified burial sites and installed official headstones. In New Zealand, the War Graves Division of the Department of Internal Affairs distributed photographs of soldier’s graves to their next of kin. Official photograph of Henry Nicholas’s grave

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