HICKINSON, William Henry

58602 Pte Leicestershire Regt.  Prior to enlisting he worked in one of the munitions factories in Sheffield, which was a reserved occupation. His own diary gives a detailed account of his moves. He joins the army 11/5/1918 and on 16 May arrives at North Somercotes Army training camp in Lincolnshire and is attached to the 4 Bn Leicestershire Regt. C Company. On 11/10/1918 ‘Arrived Calais’ and on 14th ‘Left camp for the line’. On 19 Oct William arrives at Bohain and on 20 leaves for the front line. ‘Left Bohain, went into action 1.30. Slightly wounded in neck and back’- The Battle of the Selle – William injured on 23/10/1918, the date of the fiercest fighting and, apparently the only battle he was in.  It is understand the Division was billeted around Bohain at the Armistice on 11/11/1918 and it was selected to march into Germany as part of the occupation force. They began to move 14-18 November to Solre-le-Chateau to assemble. The Division crossed the German border on 13 December and reached its destination at Bruehl on 23 December. However William was in Dieppe all this time, convalescing. He was in hospitals from Oct 1918 to Jan 1919 when he was at last sent on to Germany.

b 1890 The Dale, Hathersage, son of John D Hickinson & Martha (nee Wilson, daughter of James Wilson b London 1826). 1911C living at The Dale, a quarry stone cutter. Brother of Jack Cotterill Hickinson and nephew of Hugo Charles and George Alfred Hickinson.  He married Clare Emily McCain 12/4/1913. On 25/6/1918 there was a request to forward his marriage certificate and birth certificates of their children for Infantry Records, Leics Regt.  It appears that Clare may have been able to claim a grant when William was enlisted. His ‘slightly wounded’ amounted to shrapnel wounds in his neck –– they didn’t operate, possibly too dangerous to do so. According to his son it caused him a problem throughout his life afterwards – especially when shaving!  At home William was secretary to the Hathersage Band, and a member of the Fire Service.

In WW2, he served again by working in munitions, this time at Bamford, in buildings next to the (now demolished) Marquis of Granby Hotel, taken over by Metro Vickers. Most of this information has come from his granddaughter who has his diary. She also has some letters written home during the war, and his X rays taken in hospital, the postcards he sent home to his wife from Germany in 1919, together with a copy of the Hathersage Band rules which he wrote up, and various photos of him in the band. In his younger days he was easily identifiable as a very dapper young man in a cap and with a bow tie.