Frederick James Hickman

Date of birth: 1899
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment: Northamptonshire Fusiliers
Battalion: 2nd (“A” Coy.)
Rank / Service No: Private, 48986
Died: 27th March 1918, aged 18 years
Commemorated: Pozieres Memorial, France

 

Frederick was the oldest of 4 siblings born to Walter JAMES and Alice Kezia Hickman (nee Rowe), who married in Southampton in 1899.

 

The family lived at 39 Melbourne Street, St. Mary’s before the 1911 Census and were then at 38 Princes Street.

 

Both parents were born in 1877, James in Southampton and Alice in Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

James died in the city in 1920 but Alice lived until she was 90 years, passing away in the city in 1967.

 

Siblings

Frederick James

Florence Lily   b. 1902 St. Mary’s   d. 1982 Southampton   Married Charles H. Gailor in Southampton in 1928.

Nellie Clara   b. 1904 St. Mary’s   d. 1984 Southampton   Married Francis E. McInerney in Southampton in 1939.

William Arthur   b. 1908 St. Mary’s   d. 1958 Southampton

 

 

Frederick originally attested into the East Surrey Regiment, Service No. 31302….it is not known when he transferred.

The 2nd Battalion of the Northamptonshires was based in Alexandria at the outbreak of war.

 

They returned to England, to Hursley Park, in October and became part of the 24th Brigade in the 8th Division.

On November 5th the Division landed at Le Havre where the Brigade became part of the 23rd Division.

 

After trench familiarization, the battalion took control of the front line at Bois Grenier near Armientieres in northern France.

 

1915 was a terrible year for the Northamptonshire 1st and 2nd Battalions. They took heavy casualties in “catastrophic” attacks at Aubers Ridge and at Loos and endured a terrible winter in the trenches.

 

The Battalion took part in the defence of Vimy Ridge and the Battle of Albert in early 1916; the 24th Brigade was transferred back to the 8th Division on 15 July.

 

1917 saw the battalion take part in the Battles of Pilkem and Langemarck.

 

It is probable that Frederick succumbed to wounds received during the Battle of St. Quentin in March 1918, which was part of the planned German advance to encircle the British in Flanders.

 

The Memorial relates to the period of crisis in March and April 1918, when the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields.

This preceded the Advance to Victory, which began in August 1918.

 

The memorial holds the names of over 14,000 UK servicemen who perished on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918.

 

It is interesting to note that a military bronze “death penny” (Next of Kin Memorial Plaque) awarded to Fred’s family was put up for sale in an Eastbourne auction house on 27 March 2014.

 

It sold for between £50 – £80.

 

 

Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 29th September 2016
Updated:

 

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