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
. 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. Baptised on 8
Jan 1899 at St. Mary the Virgin, Loughton, to Ernest Hicks and his wife
Childhood and education
On the 1901 Census he was at High Road, Loughton, Essex. At that time the
- Ernest Henry HICKS, Head, M[arried], 25, Grocer's Assistant, worker,
- 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 comprised:
- Ernest Henry HICKS, Head, 35, M[a]r[rie]d, Assistant Grocer, Epping,
- 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
Their adopted daughter's name was Kethleen Allen RENDER, so "(RENDER)"
on the above census record is a correction)
Later on it would appear that he enjoyed a
game of football.
Joining the Post Office
A profile-piece much later in his life (when he received the Imperial
Service medal), suggested that special permission was given to allow him
to become a boy messenger with the Post Office at the age of 13, at
first at Loughton Post Office, then later at Forest Green.
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 '4th Essex Regiment as a
signaller in the Middle East.'
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
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
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 around 1917, at which time his
future 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. Among its contents are:
- A disintegrating leaf labelled 'Egypt';
- A sprig of heather labelled '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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
.) 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 -
- Regimental no 200793. Rank Private. Medical category B.3.
- No medals were awarded during the engagement.
- Had, authorised prior to Nov 11th 1918, served overseas on active
- 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 Battalion 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
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
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
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. Where married: 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
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
- HICKS Ernest HM, 24 Oct 1998, Married, Postman Driver
- HICKS Ivy L, F, 4 Feb 1895, Married, Unpaid Domestic Duties
- [A daughter who was at school, but details hidden for privacy
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 receipt for
the mortgage, dated 19 Nov 1947.
On 2 June 1953, Ernest was awarded the Coronation Medal for 42 years
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.
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,
- 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 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 his daughter contained the following newspaper
HICKS, Ernest Henry, of 51 Staples Road,
Loughton, passed away peacefully on Febrary 29, 1972.
The date is confirmed in a list of significant dates kept by by his
daughter's husband. Another clipping in the same album, from the Gazette
and Gardian, March 17, 1972, reads as follows
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 received 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