Whilst many of the children of Henry Thomas and Mary Ann Hicks got on with the business of raising families, one was a soldier. Kerrie Christian and her brother, Daryl Adams, can remember their mother, Joan Adams, speaking of her Great Uncle George who was in the Boer Wars and First World War. There were some old photos from places in the Middle East like Sinai – Palestine. Of course they’d wonder about Great Great Uncle George’s military service, and the details that seemed to be fading with time. However over the last decade or two there has been renewed interest in military campaigns in Gallipoli, plus the movie, Breaker Morant, raised interest in the role of Australian soldiers in the Boer Wars in South Africa. First, Second and Third Offensives in the Boer Wars. Further information.
George Hicks, fifth son and ninth child of Henry Thomas and Mary Ann Hicks was born in Bulli and grew up in Thirroul. He served in the permanent armed forces during the Boer Wars and in World War 1. He was also married to Lucy Ann Keene, known as Lou, and he lived long enough for them to celebrate 50 years of marriage and beyond. Not bad at all for being through the Boer Wars and Gallipoli.
During the Boer Wars, he achieved the rank of Bombadier, and prior to WWI he was a Sergeant Major, during WWI he was promoted to Captain.
An account of a presentation to him prior to his departure for Enoggera was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald – MURWILLUMBAH, Monday 23 November 1914
Staff Sergeant-Major Hicks was entertained by the citizens this morning prior to his departure for Enoggera encampment, and presented with a purse of sovereigns and silver mounted pipe. Sergeant Hicks will fill the rank of Regimental Sergeant-Major in the Light Horse Regiment, second expeditionary force.
George’s Boer Wars record certainly seems impressive. (Coincidentally the story immediately beneath this article in the Sydney Morning Herald on George was a report on a patriotic concert given by Nellie Melba in Adelaide !)
Name of Ancestor: Name of Ancestor: George Hicks
Ancestor’s date of birth: 23/01/1873
Ancestor’s date of death: 1930? (note this detail is incorrect as he lived until around 1956)
Cause of Death: Detail not provided
Service and Life Before the Boer War:
Born at Bulli NSW, by 1914 had served 17 years as a permanent soldier, indicating he probably joined the Garrison Artillery as a gunner in 1897.
Service Number: 2667
Colony or State of enlistment: NSW, Place of Enlistment: Sydney
Unit: A Battery Royal Australian Artillery
Rank attained in Boer War: BDR, Date Effective: 13/12/1900
Highest Rank attained (if served after war): CAPT, Date Effective: 21/10/1917
Murray Page: 53
Contingent: First New South Wales
Ship: Warrigal, Date of Sailing: 30/12/1899
Memorial details: Detail not provided
Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Queen’s South Africa Medal with Transvaal, Cape Colony, Orange Free State and South Africa 1901 clasps. 1914/15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Personal Characteristics: Height 172 cm, weight 73 kg (1914)
Reasons to go and fight: A soldier in the permanent forces of the Colony of New South Wales.
Details of service in war: Served from February 1900 with A Battery in Orange Free State and Transvaal until invalided to Australia arriving 11 June 1901.
Service and life after the Boer War:
Continued to serve as a permanent soldier.
Was married to Lucy Anne, had children and was living at Murwullumbah, NSW.
Joined the AIF at Enoggera on 21 November 1914 as RSM of the 5th Light Horse Regiment, Service Number 661.
Served at Gallipoli.
Served in Palestine, commissioned 20 February 1916, was severely wounded in the forearm 4 August 1916.
Returned to the front and was promoted Captain 21 October 1917, serving as Adjutant of the 5 LH.
Returned to Australia 26 December 1918, service in the AIF terminated 5 February 1919.
Continued to serve in the permanent forces.
Name of Descendant: Maureen Davis-Catterall, Woronora NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: great grand daughter
Further Information – Source : ALH Research
In 1911, Lieutenant-Colonel P. L. Murray, produced a marvellous Boer War reference detailing all the contingents sent from Australia to South Africa, giving a brief history of the formation and finally, listing all the soldiers who saw service in South Africa with that unit. The book was called, Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa. It is now the standard reference and starting place for any person interested in pursuing information about Australian involvement in the Boer War.
Murray, P. L., Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa, pp. 53 – 56.
“A” Battery, Royal Australian Artillery, New South Wales
World War 1 Activities
Captain George Hicks was in the Australian Fifth Light Horse of the AIF in Sinai – and was one of two casualties at the Battle of Romani in 1916 (see photo). Another report of Lieutenant George Hicks being wounded in Egypt was in the August 26 1916 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald, viz “Lieutenant George Hicks, son ot Mrs. Henry T. Hicks, of Thirroul, has been wounded in Egypt. Lieutenant Hicks fought through the Gallipoli campaign.“
Kerrie, David and Katrina Christian travelled to Gallipoli, also known as Gellibolou at Cannakale Peninsula in Turkey in October 2006. These colour photos are from their trip – which was a most moving experience. What was most striking was just how small the beach was at ANZAC Cove Gallipoli.