Edward George Hickson was born 1899, son of George Henry
Hickson and Sarah Jane Tune, and brother of my
grandfather Ernest Henry Hickson. He was known as Eddy.
Edward was the youngest of the three Hickson sons who
enlisted in WW1. He was the only one not to make it home.
Edward enlisted as a private in the 9th reinforcements of the
53rd battalion of the Australian Infantry 13th January 1817.
His service Number was 3401
According to his enlistment papers Edward was 5' 5 1/2" tall,
weighed 132 lbs with a dark complexion, dark eyes and dark
brown hair. His religion was Church of England. It is poignant
to note that because Eddy was only 19 years of age he
required his parents consent to enlist. It appears that his
mother's written consent may have been a forgery as it does
not conform with other samples of her writing. Oral family
history also supports this.
Eleven days later Edward was shipped out of Sydney on the
24th January 1917 aboard the troop ship Anchises. It arrived
in Devonport England on 27th March 1917. It appears he
spent the next few months training in England before sailing
for France on 15th November 1917. Edward was assigned as
dump guard, probably a guard for the munitions dump.
Edward died on 27th April 1918 in Villers Bretonneux,
France. He was killed by friendly fire. Below are some of the
statements made by other soldiers who witnessed the incident
where Edward and several others were killed or wounded.
They are from a report compiled by the Red Cross for the
parents of Albert George Griffiths one of the casualties.
W.A Totterdell - 3458 BV 53rd Battalion: (in) a reserve
battalion waiting to take over any point attacked: we were in a
sunken road just on the left of Villers Bretonneux and one of
our own shells fell short and killed Griffiths, Hickson,
Atkinson and wounded me.
E.V. Sharp 3465 53rd Battalion: At Villers Bretonneux when a
shell killed Griffiths and three others.
Also by Sharp: About daylight on the morning of 27th April
1918 we were in front line trenches and [Griffiths] was about
20 yards from me. A 9'7 shell burst and blew him to pieces. I
picked up what I could find of him and gave his papers and
identity disc to Capt Johnson 53rd Battalion. He was buried
close behind the front line trenches in left sector of Villiers
Bretonneux near the aerodrome. On the Albert Road. <snip>
Three other men were buried with him.
C.A. Petterson 6601: We were in B company V platoon <snip>
We were in reserve in the sunken road in front of Corbie[?] at
the time. I saw [Griffiths] killed by one of our own 60lb shells.
Our artillery were firing short for some time during the
barrage. [Griffiths] was buried by the side of the sunken road
which would be about 500 yards behind our first line.
Edwards effects were sent home to his mother in June of
1918. They consisted of a wallet, a damaged wrist watch, a
strap, letters and photos.
Edward, along with the men who dies with him were later
reburied at the Villers Bretonneux Military Cemetery, France -
Plot 2 Row A Grave 2. Beside him in grave 3 is William
Atkinson  and beside him in grave 4 is Albert George
|Lest We Forget
Edward George Hickson
Cumberland Argus dated 25th May
HICKSON. — Killed in action, in
France, April 27th 1918. Private
Edward George Hickson, beloved
son of G T and S J Hickson, of
Belmont street, Merrylands, aged
18 1/2 years.
Could we have been there at the
hour of his death,
To have caught the last sigh of his
His last faint whisper we would
And breathed in his ear just one
Ah, only those that have suffered
are able to tell,
The pain in the heart at not saying
Life's work well done and now
We miss him most who loved him
Edward's death is mentioned in a letter sent to my grandfather Ernest by his future
brother-in-law Alex Thomas. You can read the letter here:
In 2013 student from Ballarat visited Edward's grave at Villers Bretonneux and laid
poppies [see photo above] They recited the poem Edward's family had placed in the
newspaper at the time of his death and said prayers at his graveside. A member of the
RSL recited the ode. Many thanks to their teacher Ian, the students and all those
involved for this touching tribute.