There is or was a memorial on the former Mullard's site on the Millbrook Trading Estate to (Eric) James Brindley Nicolson (1917-1945). The memorial was erected in 1970 to commemorate an air battle in 1940 in which Nicolson's aeroplane was shot down. Nicolson continued fighting even though the aircraft was on fire and he was badly injured, until he had shot down his opponent and then baled out. An RAF pilot, Martyn King, in an accompanying aircraft was killed. Nicolson received the Victoria Cross for gallantry, the only RAF Fighter Command Pilot to be awarded this.

There was some controversy about whether or by whom Nicolson was shot and further injured on landing by people thinking he was German.

The text of the memorial is or was:

On or near this spot on the 16th August 1940, during the Battle of Britain, the late Wing-Commander (then Flight-Lieutenant) J.B. Nicolson V.C. D.F.C R.A.F of No. 249 Squadron, landed after parachuting from his burning Hurricane following an engagement with the enemy. After being hit and his aircraft set on fire, he continued with the action and was successful in destroying an Me110 before abandoning his aircraft. For this action he was awarded the Victoria Cross, the only pilot of Fighter Command to be so honoured during World War II.

Nicolson was later posted to India and was killed in an aircraft crash in May 1945.

The memorial was re-dedicated in 1990; sources are unclear about whether it is still in place following the redevelopment of the Mullard's site.


Newspaper clippings (available online or from the Local Studies Library):

Shot-down airman had to be 'saved' from own side - (Southampton Echo, 01/02/1956)
"Gallantry of ace marked" - (Southern Evening Echo, 31/07/1970). Article about the then forthcoming dedication of the memorial, including some details about the controversy about where Nicolson's aeroplane landed and the people who were involved. Explains that the memorial was made at Mullard's, using processes that the firm used in producing circuit boards.
"Mullards honour a 'local' war hero" - (Southern Evening Echo, 17/08/1970). Description of the ceremony dedicating the memorial to Nicolson, including a picture of the memorial.
A Day to Remember in 1940 - (account by Robert WF Stanley, 16/08/1986)


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