William Horace Vere Nelson

19160708_Nelson,WHVWilliam Nelson was the only son of Peter and Gertrude Nelson, of Mayfair. He was born on the 11th November 1895 and was admitted to the school as a King’s Scholar on the 23rd September 1909.

William was a member of the debating society. On one occasion, he opposed the building of a Channel Tunnel: he “very properly dealt with the matter from a military standpoint, and thrilled the society with blood-curdling calculations as regards military matters” [27 November 1913]. And on Thursday 12th February 1914, he seconded the motion “that in the opinion of this House the risk to human life involved in exploring uninhabitable countries is not justifiable”, arguing that “there was no reason why anyone should want to go to the South Pole again now that it had been discovered. He ÔǪ argued that the fact that these regions were inhabited in the past was of very little interest to most people, and they were not likely to be habitable again for a very long time”.

William was strong academically; when he left the school in 1914, he was awarded a Triplett Exhibition for three years, a value of ┬ú20. He was also a keen sportsman, coming second in the 1914 One Mile Open Challenge Cup and competing in school gymnastics. “W.H.V. Nelson is a good gymnast and was last year very nearly good enough to represent the School. On this occasion [Inter-House Gymnastic Competition, 23 March 1914] he was a little below his usual form and made several unexpected mistakes.”

In the September after he left the school, William joined the 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters as a 2nd Lieutenant. He became Lieutenant in July the following year and was attached to the 10th Battalion.

In November 1915, he went out to the western front where he was wounded twice. He died on the 8th July 1916 of wounds he had received in action at Fricourt, Somme.

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4 Responses to William Horace Vere Nelson

  1. Alison Merrington says:

    I am currently researching the WW1 Casualties for Hampton Wick (near Kingston). I have just read all the 1916 editions of our local paper (The Surrey Comet). Lt Nelson’s godfather and cousin,Dr Horace Nelson, had formerly resided in Hampton Wick and so the paper contains quite a lengthy obituary. Apparently he was wounded three times: on the 2nd, the 3rd and the 7th July. When he was last wounded he selflessly insisted on his Sergeant being taken first as there was only one stretcher. The obituary ends with a lengthy quotation from the Westminster Evening hymn. I’m going to scan my copy of the clipping if you would like a copy (The Surrey Comet has not been digitalised).

  2. Alison Merrington says:

    I have also found a most comprehensive obituary for him on his prep school’s WW1 site (Saint Ronan’s) which quotes extensively from The Elizabethan with some lovely photographs of him as Crito in Terence’s Phormio (1911 Latin Play).

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