Private 12341 Alfred Hickman

Hickman Alfred 96 452x600

Killed in Action on Sunday, 26th May 1918, age 25.
Buried in Grave D. 8. at Ayette British Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

1st Bn., Irish Guards. 1 (Gds) Brigade of Guards Division.

Son of John and Eliza Hickman; husband of Mary A. Hickman, of The Cottages, Chemical Works, Wednesbury.
Born: Ocker Hill, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. Mark's Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/582623/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Alfred Hickman registered June quarter 1893 in Dudley.

1901 Census
76 Ocker Hill Road, Tipton, Staffs.
John Hickman (40, Road Sweeper, born Tipton), his wife Eliza (37, born Wednesbury), and their 2 children: Amy (14, born Tipton), and Alfred (8, born Tipton).

1911 Census
84 Ocker Hill Road, Tipton, Staffs.
John Hickman (50, Road Sweeper, born Tipton), his wife Eliza (45, born Tipton), and 4 of their 5 surviving children of 7: William Henry (26, born Tipton), Alfred (18, Labourer - Slag Cracker, born Tipton), Harold (6, born Tipton), Francis May (2, born Tipton). Also William's wife Ann Gertrude Hickman (24, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After Alfred's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £8/1/2d (8 pounds, 1 shilling and 2 pence); this was paid to his widow, Mary A., in October 1918. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds precisely), this was also paid to Mary in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Alfred had enlisted within 12 months prior to his death.

Action resulting in his death

On the 7th May 1918, the 1st Irish Guards went from the reserve camps near Monchy-au-Bois, up through the heavily-shelled Cojeul valley, to front-line duty the Ayette subsector. They would see regular tours here throughout May, during which time enemy shelling grew more and more intense. Their work was all at night – wiring work, improving posts, and digging communication trenches.

On the 25th May as they went up to relieve the 2nd Coldstream Guards in the Ayette sector, the enemy seemed to be aware of the relief party. On the journey to the trenches, the 1st Irish Guards had a number of casualties when they were bombed at the corner of Adinfer Wood. This was followed by an intense 45 minutes barrage on front and support lines as they were settling into the front line, causing several casualties.

It is possible that Alfred Hickman was a victim of the shelling either at Adinfer, or whilst settling back into the front-line trenches. Alfred Hickman is buried in Ayette British Cemetery, alongside two of his comrades from the 1st Irish Guards who were killed on the same day.

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