Died Home on Tuesday, 18th June 1918, age 19.
Buried in Grave C. CE. 40. at Tipton Cemetery, Staffordshire, United Kingdom.
7th Reserve Bn., West Yorkshire Regt. (Prince of Wales Own).
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.
Never served abroad.
Medal entitlement: No medal entitlement.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.
Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.
Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/395347/
66 Union Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Joseph Hickman (42, Coal Miner, born Sedgley), his wife Eliza (38, born Tipton), and their 8 children: Benjamin (18, Collier - Horseman, born Tipton), William (16, Collier - Loader below-ground, born Tipton), Joseph (12, born Tipton), Nellie (10, born Tipton), Synfa (8, born Tipton), Emily (6, born Tipton), Samuel (5, born Tipton), and John (2, born Tipton).
14 Foundry Street, Princes End, Tipton, Staffs.
Joseph Hickman (52, Coal Miner - Hewer, born Gornal), his wife Eliza (49, born Tipton), and 7 of their 9 surviving children of 10: Joseph (23, Horse Driver Underground at Colliery, born Tipton), Synfa (19, born Tipton), Emily (17, General Servant -Domestic, born Tipton), Samuel (14, Door Minder Underground at Colliery, born Tipton), John (12, School, born Tipton), Edward (10, School, born Tipton), and Ada (7, born Tipton).
John Hickman was called up and enlisted in Tipton on 18th April 1917. He was 18 years and 93 days old, 5 feet 2½ inches tall with a 35-inch chest. He had a fair complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair. His Medical Category was A(4), this meant fit for overseas service except that he was under 19 and not yet trained.
John’s address was 5 Tibbington Terrace, Tipton, and next of kin was his father, Joseph, at the same address. John had worked as a Miner and a Rivetter’s Assistant, and had worked for 2½ years at Schofield’s Colliery, Princes End, and for 2 years at Mr Jones’s Colliery in Ocker Hill.
John was initially posted to the 6th Training Reserve Battalion at Rugeley Camp, and then to the 11th Training Reserve Battalion at Brocton Camp. He had 5 instances of ‘overstaying his leave’ whilst with the 6th Battalion and a further 5 instances with the 11th Battalion. Punishment started at periods of ‘Confined to Barracks’, but progressed to Field Punishment No.2. This meant that he would be hand-cuffed but not tethered so could continue his ordinary activities.
On 1st December 1917, John was transferred to the 7th (Reserve) Battalion, West Yorkshires, this marked the end of his training. He was charged with a further 5 instances of unauthorised absences from January to March 1918, for which he received ‘deductions of pay’, and finally a period of 10 days detention.
The 7th (Reserve) West Yorkshires were serving in Ireland, and John joined them there ending his unauthorised absences. This is likely to have been in April 1918.
John’s health deteriorated, on the 4th June he was re-classified as Medical Category B(3) meaning he was only suitable for sedentary work. On the 8th June 1918, a Medical Board approved his discharge from the army.
The Medical Report stated that he was suffering from V.D.H. – ‘Valvular Disease of the Heart’. The Date and Origin of the disability was “Exact time unknown but he was treated for ‘heart trouble’ in civilian life about 3 years ago”. It added “Since being called up in April 1917 he has had no severe illness but since joining the Battalion in September 1917 he has never been able to go through the routine parades due to shortness of breath. No improvement after graduated exercises.” It was stated that he had ‘Rheumatic Fever’ in March 1917.
He was officially discharged at Inniskillen on 29th June 1918, unfortunately he had already died on the 18th June in Tipton. His Military Character was described as “Fair”, and his Military Character “Honest and Sober” – generous considering his numerous unauthorised absences.
A report after his death in Tipton stated that his death was due to “Mitral disease of the heart”, and that he had died “in the mine – Schofield’s Pit, Princes End (Mr Clarke’s pit)”.
His mother, Eliza, continued to receive a Separation Allowance of 8/3d (8 shillings and 3 pence) per week until 23rd December 1918. After John’s death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/7/2d (2 pound, 7 shillings and 2 pence); this was paid to his father, Joseph, in January 1919. His War Gratuity was £3/15/0d (3 pounds and 15 shillings), this was also paid to his father in November 1919.
John Hickman joined the 7th (Reserve) West Yorkshires after completing his training, he was posted to join them in Ireland probably in April 1918. He suffered from bad health and was discharged in June 1918 suffering from 'Valvular Disease of the Heart', and died on 18th June 1918, just 19 years of age. John is buried in Tipton Cemetery.