Marine Reuben Nicholls, an Assault Engineer, was taken prisoner by Chinese forces in the Korean War in 1950. On New Years Day 1951 he wrote a letter to his parents. That was the last they heard from him. Over the next three years correspondence from Government Departments variously indicated that he was alive, dead, and died on this or that date.
After the Armistice in 1953, he was the only Royal Marine in 41 Independent Commando, originally a body of about 240 men, to be unaccounted for. In 1954 his family received a letter saying that he would be classified as missing and presumed dead as of May 31st 1951. That remained the case for almost another 60 years, when extensive research in the UK and USA by his nephew, RMA Associate member Mike Nicholls, finally revealed his demise.
During that period Reuben’s parents and five siblings all passed away not knowing his fate, and distraught that there had been no further efforts to find him.
In recognition of Reuben paying the ultimate sacrifice whilst trying to escape, and to further recognize the debt of gratitude to Reuben’s family, Mike was recently granted the award of the Elizabeth Cross. It was presented privately, at this year’s Mountbatten Festival of Music, by HRH The Princess Royal, in the company of the First Sea Lord, the Commandant General of the Royal Marines, and the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London.