Yet to be summarised.
Parents and family
He and his parents appear on the 1901 Census, from which it is apparent that they were Ernest
and Ellen Sharp GREGORY
In 1927 he signed papers as Ernest Henry HICKS jnr, implying that was also his father's name.
Ernest was born on 24 Oct 1898, in Chigwell, Epping, Essex.
Childhood and education
On the 1901 Census he was at High Road, Loughton, Essex. At that time the family comprised:
- Ernest Henry HICKS, Head, M[arried], 25, Grocer's Assistant, worker, Essex, Epping
- Ellen S. HICKS, Wife, M, 25, , , Wilts, Swindon
- Ethel M. F. HICKS, Daur, , 4, , , Essex, Loughton
- Ernest Henry HICKS, Son, , 2, , , Essex, Loughton
- Frederick K HICKS, Son, , 11m, , , Essex, Loughton
His HICKS Great Grandparents were living a few doors away.
On the 1911 Census the family is at 145 Smarts Lane, Loughton, Essex. At that time the family
- Ernest Henry HICKS, Head, 35, M[a]r[rie]d, Assistant Grocer, Epping, Essex
- Ellen Sharp HICKS, Wife, 35, M[a]r[rie]d [for] 15 [years], 6 children born alive, 5
still living, 1 died, ,Swindon, Wilts.
- Ethel May Florence HICKS, Daughter, 14, , Loughton, Essex
- Ernest HICKS, Son, 12, , , [no place of birth given]
- Frederick HICKS, Son, 10, , , [no place of birth given]
- Albert HICKS, Son, 7, , [no place of birth given]
- Percy Stanley HICKS, Son, 3, , [no place of birth given]
- Kathleen Allen, Adopted Daughter,
4, , Dumnow, Essex
Later on it would appear that he enjoyed a game of football.
There are several strands of primary evidence for Ermest's
wartime regiment. According to his later disembodiment and wartime employment papers he
enlisted in the Essex Regiment on 11 Jan 1915 (at which time he would have been 17) and
subsequently served in the 3rd Battalion of that Regiment. However, a published obituary
states that he served in the 4th Essex Regiment and an other article, published around the
time of his Imperial Service award is even more specific, stating that he served in the
'second 4th Essex.'
His medal index card confirms that he was a private in the Essex Regiment and lists the
Victory Medal and the British War Medal, as would be expected of anyone who served in an
operational unit in a theatre of war between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918.
According to Burrows (cited in a post by Michael
at http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=24407, Accessed 19 Feb
2012) , "During the war second and third line units were formed, but unfortunately, many of
the records have been lost and it has been difficult to trace fully their history. " and "In
January, 1915, the 2/4th Essex were sent to Yarmouth....." Michael goes on to cite Burrows as
follows "The 2/4th Battalion was formed at Brentwood in November, 1914, under command of
Lieut.-Colonel W. C. Shepherd, and was a month later sent to Stamford. Early in January, 1915,
it was transferred to Great Yarmouth for coast defence work, though the remainder of the Essex
Brigade remained at Peterborough. The B1 and C1 men were transferred to the 65th Provisional
Battalion, formed at Yarmouth in June, 1915, and the “A” category men were sent to Thetford as
the 2/4th Essex, under Captain B. A. Clapham, later killed in action at the First Battle of
Gaza. This unit had only a short existence, for it was amalgamated with the 3/4th at Halton
Camp in December, 1915”.
Michael then comments that "I have understood that the 2/4th, 2/5th, 2/6th and 2/7th
Battalions Essex formed the 206th Essex Brigade in England and were part of the 69th Division,
which was supposed to be sent abroad. This never happened as such" for, he cites Burrows again
“The 69th Division was created with the intention of being sent on foreign service, but the
demand for personnel caused large drafts to be made upon its strength to supply the first line
and also other battalions of the individual regiments”.
Amongst the family heirlooms is an embroidered piece bearing the words EGYPT and FRANCE,
together with the initials E. H. H. and a single chevron in the style of am inverted military
stripe (as he was not an officer this is to be interpreted as a good service award, like that
awarded to his wife's father). It therefore dates from arouns 1917, at which time his furture
wife was courting Arthur Neville. This item is therefore likely to be the work of one of his
Ivy, kept various mementos and amongst them are a notebook with pressed flowers that may
relate to Ernest's time abroad. Amongst its contents are:
- A disintegrating leaf labeled 'Egypt';
- A sprig of heather labeled 'Holy Land Heather';
- A gift card bearing 'Flowers from the Holy Land'.
His official military record contains a cover for discharge documents (dated 13 March 1919)
and giving his details as
- Regimental no 200793. Rank P[riva]te.
- Name Ernest Henry Hicks
- Unit 3rd Regt Essex
To this are added the annotations "Z 13/578 Essex" and "145 Smarts Lane, Loughton, Essex"
Accompanying the above is a First Award Sheet Code No. Z/Essex 513 giving the following
Hicks, Ernest Henry
Essex 3rd Batt, Pte, 200793
Date of last en'ment 11/1/15
This gives details of the award as follows
First weekly allowance art 1 (3) rev
This being due to Inflamation of the stomach
causing a less than 20% disability
The weekly amount being 5/6 of final pay, divided by 52, and payable from 14.3.19
Proposer's Signature and date W J Scamble 27.3.19
This pension was set to expire 16-3-20 and was a final award
The documentation supporting the award comprised an Army Form Z. 22 completed by Ernest to
apply for the award, and medical examination certificates.
The Form Z.22 (Statement as to disability) gives the following details
- Unit... 3rd Battn
- Regiment or corps... Essex
- Regtl no. 200793 Rank... Pte
- Surname.. Hicks
- Christian names... Ernest Henry
- Permanent address...145 Smarts Lane
- Loughton Essex
- Age last birthday... 20
- First joined for duty... 11 Jany 1915 at Brentwood
- Medical catagory or grade in which joined ... A. 1.
The section renouncing his claim to be suffering due to military service was struck out. Then
there is a section which sheds more light on Ernest's service history, for it asks the
question "In what countries have you served?" To which Ernest answered:
- England 11-1-15 till 7-11-17
- Egypt 7-11-17 " 3-10-18
- England 3-10-18 " Dispersal
It then asks about the wound, the date on which it started, and Ernest's opinion as to the
cause, to which he responds:
- Inflamation of the stomach
- 4th April 1918
- Active Service
He then cites treatment in the following hospitals
- Eastleigh Clearing Hpl
- Grove Military Hospital Tooting SW
He confirms that he did not suffer from this disease before the war
and gives the name of his National Health Approved Society as Hearts of Oak
On page two of the form he gives the name and address of last employer before joining the army
as Postmaster General, London, and
his industrial group and trade or calling before joining as 35/441 Postman.
Ernest was examined at Dovercourt 24-1-19 and his signature on the document was witnessed by
one W Ray
The Medical examiners statements record that:
The disability claimed or discovered was "Inflamation Stomach"
The present condition was "Complains of abdominal pain and occasional vomiting. Tongue dirty.
The disibility was attributable to service in the war and not due to serious negligence or
misconduct on the part of the claimant
The disability was not in final stationary condition but re-examination within 12 months was
The degree of disibility assessed as less than 20%
On his award application Ernest gave his date of dispersal as 3-10-18, and in Oct 1918 the
appointment of one Ernest H Hicks at Woodford Green is listed in the British Postal Service
Appointment Books. (British Postal Museum and Archive; Series: POST 58
.) The London Gazette of 4 February
1919 (pg. 1829) published an entry for "Ernest Henry Hicks (Woodford Green)" in its
section on "Certificates issued, etc.", listed under the appointments for January 24
1919, "Under Clause 7 of the Order in Council of 10th January, 1910", and sub-subsection
On the 19 Mar 1919 he was finally disembodied from the Essex Regiment as a consequence of
demobilisation, and the disembodiment papers held in the family archives give the following
- Regimental no 200793. Rank Private. Medical catagory B.3.
- No medals were awarded during the engagement.
- Had, authorised prior to Nov 11th 1918, served overseas on active service.
- Year of birth 1898.
- Place of rejoining in case of Emergency was Purfleet.
- Specialist military skill was signaller.
His Certificate of Employment, issued around the same time as he was disembodied, identified
that he was a Private and an Infantryman in the 3rd Battalion of the Essex Regiment and was
signed by the commanding officer of "Y" Coy 3rd Essex.
Official records of the 3rd Batallion will tell you that it never went overseas, which is
true. However - “The role allotted to the 3rd Battalion in war was that of supply of drafts,
training recruits and home defence, with Harwich as the war station.” (Burrows, Vol. 4, The
Essex Militia, page 180). Many men were drafted into other units and in all “The
approximate number sent out in drafts up to the Armistice Day from the 3rd Battalion was 1,000
officers and 24,400 N.C.O’s and men.” (Burrows, Volume 4, The Essex Militia, page 188). Whilst
the 3rd Battalion supplied drafts to other units, the 4th Div of the 1st Battalion were a
territorial division and they did go to the middle east. The history of the 1/4th is cited as
“The 21 July 1915 : sailed from Devonport for Gallipoli, going via Lemnos. Landed at Suvla bay
12 August 1915. 4 December 1915 : evacuated from Gallipoli and moved to Mudros, going on to
Alexandria 17 December 1915. Remained in Egypt/Palestine theatre thereafter. ” (“The Essex
Regiment: Battalions of the Regular Army.” Cited 18 Dec 2010,
The above would seem to resolve the apparent conflict between his official membership of the
3rd Battalion and the suggestion that he served with the "4th regiment" in his obituary.
From his award application we know that he served in Egypt from 7-11-17 until 3-10-18.
Wikipedia reports, of the 161st brigade , "As well as battle casualties, the whole brigade
suffered considerably from influenza during November–December 1917 and throughout 1918. The
weakened brigade was mainly engaged in line-holding until September 1918." Though we can't be
sure this was the one he was with, it does give some idea why reinforcements may have been
needed across that period.
On 1 Apr 1919, a year after his father appears to have joined the same office, the appointment
of one Ernest H Hicks at Woodford Green is listed in the British Postal Service Appointment
Books. (British Postal Museum and Archive; Series: POST 58
On 1 Jul 1927 Ernest entered into an agreement with George Hopkin HATTON, of "Bucklands",
Connaught Hill, Loughton to build 51 Staples Road, Loughton, the house that became
"YADENO" (ONEDAY backwards). Ernest is addressed as Ernest Henry HICKS Jnr. This implies that
his father had the same name and that he was still alive at this point. At the time Ernest was
residing at 145 Smarts Lane, Loughton, Essex.
On 23 Jan 1928, as E. H. Hicks Jnr., he mortgaged 51 Staples Road to Loughton Urban District
Marriage to Ivy Bull
In 1928 he married Ivy
at St Margaret's. The registration is Ivy L BULL & Ernest H HICKS,
Epping, Apr Q 1928, 4a 1002. The details are:
Married at St Margaret's. Registration is Ivy L BULL & Ernest H HICKS, Epping, Apr Q 1928,
4a 1002. Details from the registration are:
1928 Marriage solomnized at the Parish Church in the Parish of Loughton in the County of
Essex. No. 396. Wheb Narried: June 7th 1928. Ernest Hanry Hicks, 29, Bachelor, Postman, of 40
Queens Road, Loughton, son of Ernest Henry Hicks, Greengrocer.
Ivy Levinia Hicks, 33, Spinster, of Loughton, daughter of Arthur Henry Frederick Bull,
After Banns. Witnessed by Frederick Kitchener Hicks & Gladys Evelyn Bull.
On the 26 January 1929 the Essex Newsman carried a report (pg1, col 5) on the inquest into
the death of one Joseph Robert Higgins, a "big heavy man" who died of heart failure in
Loughton. Under the title "Loughton" and heading "Death in the Forest," the report noted
"Ernest Henry Hicks, a postman, said that he was
delivering letters in Wake Road, and saw
what he thought was a coat in the Forest.
He walked over and found Higgins lying
On 28 April 1929 their only child, a daughter, was born.
In Jun 1939 Ernest attempted to enlist in the 908 Sqdr. R.A.F. but his application was turned
down because the squadron was full. At that time he gave his occupation as ‘Postman
Driver G.P.O.’ (i.e. General Post Office delivery van driver). He was living at "Yadeno", 51
Staples Road, Loughton, Essex.
The 1939 Registration index shows him living with Ivy L Hicks and one other in Chigwell U.D.,
A note, relating to 51 Staples Road and dated 18 Dec 1947, contains the following line '18 May
1944 WAR DAMAGE COMMISSION Slip File No. 5B/6/55797.' From which it would appear that the
house sustained some damage in the war.
A note, dated 18 Dec 1947, confirms the title and a statutory reciept for the mortgage, dated
19 Nov 1947.
On 2 June 1953, Ernest was awarded the Coronation Medal for 42 years service..
On 28th Nov 1958, Ernest was awarded the Imperial Service Medal, in recognition of his 47
years service within the Post Office.
From 21 Nov 1967 until 11 Apr 1972 he had at least annual appointments at the Radiotherapy
department of the London Hospital, Whitechapel.
From 4 Jul 1969 until 28 Jan 1972 he had regular eye treatment at Moorfields. It is not clear
what the issue was.
Last Will and Testament
His last Will was made on 21 Sep 1931, leaving everything to his wife, and by default to his
daughter. Probate was granted on 26 April 1972.
Death certificate gives the following details:
- Date and place of death: 29 Feb 1972, 51 Staples Road, Loughton
- Name and sex: Ernest Henry Hicks, male
- Date and place of birth: 24 Oct 1898, Loughton, Essex
- Occupation and usual address: Postman (retired), 51 Staples Road, Loughton, Chigwell
- Name address and qualification of informant: Ivy Lavinia Hicks, 51 Staples Road,
Loughton, widow of deceased
- Cause of death:
1a Coronary thrombosis
b. Myocardial ischaemia
Certified by K. Kermani MB
The death Registration is 1972 Mar Q, Epping, 4a, 2237. Ernest Henry HICKS, born 24 Oct
Ernest was a heavy smoker and his grandson seemed to recall that he suffered from lung
He left an estate valued at £5,193.75.
A scrapbook kept by Pamela Kirby (nee Hicks) contained the following newspaper
HICKS, Ernest Henry, of 51 Staples Road, Loughton, passed away
peacefully on February 29, 1972.
The date is confirmed in a list of significant dates kept by Roy Kirby. Another clipping in
the same album, from the Gazette and Guardian, March 17, 1972, reads as follows
Postman for 47
MR ERNIE HICKS, one of Loughton’s longest serving and best known postmen until his
retirement, has died at his home, aged 73 years.
Mr Hicks, of 51 Staples Road, Loughton, started work at Loughton post office as a lad of
13 as a messenger boy.
Apart from his service with the 4th Essex Regiment during the First World War, Mr Hicks
spent all his working life as a postman and on retiring in 1958 was awarded the Imperial
Service Medal for 47 years service. Five years earlier he had recieved the Coronation
Medal for 42 years service.
Mr Hicks had lived in Loughton all his life and was born of an old Loughton family in
Searles Cottages in the High Road.
He was a founder-member of Loughton Working Men’s Club in Station Road and a member
of St Marys Church Council.
Cremation took place at Parndon Wood Crematorium. Mr Hicks leaves a widow and a daughter.
Ivy survived him and her story is continued in the biography
of Ivy Lavinia BULL
According to a funeral directors invoice, cremation took place at Parndon Wood Crematorium.
Descendants and notable relations
Essex Units in the War 1914 -1919, Volume 5, John Wm. Burrows, 1932.