Ernest Henry Hicks born 1898 in Loughton, Essex

For related information see www.the-kirbys.org.ukAncestor List, Place Index and Wills Index

Ernest Hicks in 1960

Summary 

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 Henry HICKS and Ellen Sharp GREGORY. In 1927 he signed papers as Ernest Henry HICKS jnr, implying that was also his father's name.

Birth

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:
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 comprised:

Ernest Henry Hicks in Football TeamLater on it would appear that he enjoyed a game of football.

Military service

Ernest Henry Hicks in UniformThere 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 family.

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:
His official military record contains a cover for discharge documents (dated 13 March 1919) and giving his details as
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 details
Hicks, Ernest Henry
Essex 3rd Batt, Pte, 200793
Disembodiment 13/3/19
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

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:
It then asks about the wound, the date on which it started, and Ernest's opinion as to the cause, to which he responds:

He then cites treatment in the following hospitals

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. Teeth good."
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 not required
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; Reference Number: 113.) 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 for "Postmen."

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 details -
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, Online:http://www.1914-1918.net/essex.htm).

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.

Civilian employment

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; Reference Number: 115.) 

Building "YADENO"

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 Council.

Marriage to Ivy Bull

Marriage of Ernest Hicks and Ivy BullIn 1928 he married Ivy Lavinia BULL 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, deceased.
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 that:

"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
dead."

Ernest Hicks with his daughter 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., Essex

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

Death certificate gives the following details:

The death Registration is 1972 Mar Q, Epping, 4a, 2237. Ernest Henry HICKS, born 24 Oct 1898. 

Ernest was a heavy smoker and his grandson seemed to recall that he suffered from lung cancer.

He left an estate valued at 5,193.75.

A scrapbook kept by Pamela Kirby (nee Hicks) contained the following newspaper announcement.

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 years

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.

Burial

According to a funeral directors invoice, cremation took place at Parndon Wood Crematorium.

Descendants and notable relations

TBD

Bibliography

Essex Units in the War 1914 -1919, Volume 5, John Wm. Burrows, 1932.



Any transcripts and images on this page are Copyright R I Kirby 2008 unless stated otherwise.