A WELL-KNOWN and widely respected Salisbury veteran and “champion” to the African people he defended has died aged 98.

David Nichol, regularly seen at military celebrations in the city, will be remembered for his life-long contribution to Africa and his “amazing stories”.

David, who was born on February 11, 1920, was the last surviving member of the 6th Battalion, King’s African Rifles, who served in Tanganyika (Tanzania), Somaliland and Ethiopia against the Italians in the Second World War.

During his service, Captain Nichol was commended by Colonel Carne VC to become district officer, after he returned to the battlefield to rescue several dead and wounded soldiers who would have otherwise been left behind.

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David lived in Africa for 22 years and having inherited his mother’s agricultural background, he stayed after the war to help build and repair village roads, dams, bridges and basic buildings.

He married his first wife, Helen, in 1953, before returning to Salisbury in 1961 and marrying his second wife Ayesha in 1970.

Formerly a teacher, Ayesha said: “David loved the outdoor life, he never wanted a desk job,” adding: “He loved building and would do it in his free time, he had his job that he was paid to do, so when he wasn’t working he was out making roads, building bridges and talking to the people.”

David had three daughters – Tina and Mary Anne, with first wife Helen, and Annabel, with Ayesha. David and Ayesha also have four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Ayesha said David will be remembered for his “amazing stories”, including ringing the church bell to announce Prince Charles’ birth four days too early.

After retiring from the Country Landowners Association aged 80, David’s hobbies included playing squash, fishing, and looking after a length of the River Wylye that was offered to him by the previous Earl of Pembroke.

He was also the manager of Wylye Fly Fishing Club for around 30 years.

Ayesha said: “David was absolutely passionate about rivers and fishing, he was born with a fishing rod in his hand.

“When I came home from work, I would find his lunchbox on the kitchen table and I knew exactly where he’d gone – he’d be out at the river and he’d do some work there and then he would just sit and enjoy the magic and peace of the river.”

Because of his strong links to the country, David would return to Africa almost every year to pay tribute to past Allied soldiers and lay wreaths at various war memorials.

When hearing of the news, African safari park owner, Chris Fox said: “He [David] was not afraid to be controversial, Africans of all ages and religions took to him, he was their champion.”

Ayesha added: “To David it was profoundly important that these loyal troops that had been out and were so loyal to the crown were acknowledged.”

She added: “He just had such a positive outlook on life, I am going to miss him dearly.”

His funeral will be held at St Mary and St Nicholas Church, Wilton on Monday, December 17, at 10.30am.