David Martin Nicholls
19 Squadron Crest
Flying Officer Royal Air Force
Service No 4177230
Died 12 September 1961, Skydstrup, Denmark aged 24
David was commissioned in the Royal Air Force as a pilot on 3 Feb 1959 after passing out from the Royal Air Force College Cranwell at the same time as his good friend Flavian Hennessy (see memorial page 27). After advanced flying training he was posted to 19 Squadron RAF based at RAF Leconfield. In September 1961 David was taking part in a flying exercise when his Hunter F6 aircraft, XE583, crashed. A record states that:
‘The pilot lost control during a barrel roll and crashed sixteen miles SW of Skydstrup, Denmark. He did not eject and was killed'
David is buried in St Catherine's Churchyard, Leconfield, Yorkshire and is commemorated on the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire.
19 Squadron Hunter F6 with Squadron Markings
David was known to his friends by his second name Martin or by his nickname 'Flick'. At Gordonstoun he was House Helper in Gordonstoun House, a daily leader for practical work (he helped lay the paving slabs inside Round Square) and captain of Communications. Martin was also a member of the model and construction guild and was in the Army Cadet Force. He played rugby for the 3rd XV and cricket for the 2nd XI and appeared as Messala in Julius Caesar.
Martin Nicholls and Flavian Hennessy followed remarkably similar career paths through school and at the RAF College. Their appointment as Pilot Officers was published in the London Gazette of 3rd February 1958; they were listed next to each other. Although they were posted to different fighter squadrons, they both tragically died within months of each other, flying Hawker Hunter aircraft engaged in practice ground attack missions.
Royal Air Force College Cranwell Senior Entry December 1958
Senior Flight Cadet Martin Nicholls centre middle row, Under Officer Flavian Hennessy fourth from left front row