Dear Hicks Family Cousins
As you know, 2014 sees not only the centenary anniversary of the outbreak of WWI on August 4 2014; along with September 1 2014 being the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII; and in addition, November 24 2014 being the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the National Service Act 1964, which would see conscripted soldiers serving in the Vietnam War in 1965-1972. In July 2014, my husband and I were fortunate to visit Gallipoli, where I placed several poppies as well as assisting in the laying of a wreath at Lone Pine Memorial, reciting The Ode, placing a cross at the New Zealand memorial at Chanuk Bair, Gallipoli and another at one of the many trenches in Gallipoli – these were very moving moments for both of us. We also sailed through the Dardanelles several times during daylight hours in our trip.
Our Hicks family members have served in both WWI and WWII conflicts, as well as other conflicts, including the Boer War and Vietnam, with at least two being killed in WWII – Lyle Hicks (2/9th Battalion -18th Brigade – 6th Division) and Herbert Charles “Bert” Rogers (2/2nd Battalion – 16th Brigade – 6th Division) at Buna and Gona New Guinea respectively – both during the last stages of the overall Kokoda campaign in late 1942.
The casualties at the Battle at Buna-Gona were approximately double those of the Battle at Kokoda – though all were part of the overall Kokoda Owen Stanley’s campaign. The Battle of Buna-Gona had been the largest, and longest, of the battles fought in New Guinea – which ultimately removed the Japanese from New Guinea. More information on the Battle of the Beachheads – Buna, Gona and Sananda – here : Advance to the Sea – November 1942 – December 1942 – January 1943.
Lyle and Bert lie at the Bomana Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in Port Moresby New Guinea – Lyle’s CWGC gravestone photo B8.E.1, and Bert’s CWGC gravestone photo A5.C.9 – see more & also Kokoda Treks Information. Bomana was established in 1942, and is the largest Allied war cemetery in the Pacific, where 3779 are buried – all but 443 of these are Australian.
Lyle and Bert were descendants of Hamilton Herbert Hicks, 12th child and youngest son of James and Margaret Hicks. Their niece Nancy Cosgrove arranged for them to be honoured at Last Post Ceremonies at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on September 26 2014 and September 27 2014 respectively, each at 4.55pm.
Click on the links to read
- The AWM Page & Story of Lyle Hicks told at the Australian War Memorial Last Post Ceremony September 26 2014 – view photos of the Ceremony. Download a video of the Last Post Ceremony
- The AWM Page & Story of Herbert Charles “Bert” Rogers told at the Australian War Memorial Last Post Ceremony September 27 2014 – view photos of the Ceremony. Download a video of the Last Post Ceremony.
Descendants of Hamilton Herbert and Eliza Hicks attended these ceremonies, along with several other Hicks descendants. At the ceremonies, which are open to the public, relatives of Lyle Hicks and Bert Rogers, along with other visitors, were able to lay wreathes and floral tributes beside the Pool of Remembrance at the War Memorial – more information and guidelines.
“The ceremony is a public event open to all visitors. Each ceremony follows the same format:
- The Memorial’s Master of Ceremonies starts with a brief introduction
- The National Anthem is played and sung
- A piper plays a lament, during which visitors can lay wreaths and floral tributes at the base of the Pool of Reflection
- A serving member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) attends every ceremony to read the story of the person on the Roll of Honour being honoured
- The member of the ADF recites the Ode
- A bugler plays the Last Post
- The Master of Ceremonies ends the ceremony with a final reflection.
… The ceremony is broadcast live on the Australian War Memorial website from 4.55 pm AEST daily. ”
Note. The photos above were kindly taken at Bomana Commonwealth Graves Cemetery, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on 19.8.2014, by Steve Sims.
Steve, who lives near to Bomana PNG, is a Waters family cousin of Hicks family descendant Kerrie Anne Christian. He also has a relative, Clive Charles Swaysland, buried in PNG, at Lae Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery.
Lyle Hicks and Bert Rogers were survived by Irene Rogers’ other sons – William Andrew “Fred”, Thomas Leslie, Robert “Bob”, James and John Hamilton, who all served in the military (see photos below) – plus daughters Minnie Iris “Iris”, Sylvia Elizabeth “Tibby”, Irene Nancy, Eva Dorothy, Jessie May – as well as their youngest son George Arthur.
Note -Bob’s daughter has walked the Kokoda Track and visited the Bomana Cemetery in Port Moresby New Guinea in recent years. Before that Lyle’s great nephew, then 17 year old Hawthorn AFL player, Brendan Whitecross visited Lyle’s grave during 2007 – and was then believed to have been the first of Lyle’s family to have visited his resting place in New Guinea – refer newspaper articles (1), (2), (3), (4).
An American perspective on the Buna-Gona campaign – “In his book, Our Jungle Road to Tokyo written in 1950, (US Lieutenant General) Eichelberger (Commander of the 32nd Infantry Division) wrote, “Buna was…bought at a substantial price in death, wounds, disease, despair, and human suffering. No one who fought there, however hard he tries, will ever forget it.” Fatalities, he concluded, “closely approach, percentage-wise, the heaviest losses in our Civil War battles.” He also commented, “I am a reasonably unimaginative man, but Buna is still to me, in retrospect, a nightmare. This long after, I can still remember every day and most of the nights.”“
Click here to read more details of the military service of our Hicks Family – note this page is growing as more family members contribute stories. And if you have information to share on other members please email me at email@example.com
Your Hicks Cousin
Kerrie Anne Christian
PS – From AWM web site : Can I share the photos I took of the ceremony?
If you would like to share photos you took at a Last Post ceremony here at the Memorial, you can:
- post them on our Facebook page
- add them to our Australian War Memorial group on Flickr
- tell us about them on Twitter; we are @AWMemorial