He was the eldest son of William Lionel Hichens (H 1887-93, Fellow of Winchester College from 1933, who was killed by a bomb which fell on his house in Westminster in 1940), of North Aston Hall, near Oxford (see individual entry). His mother was Mary Hermione Hichens CBE, daughter of General the Right Honourable Sir Neville Lyttelton GCB, GCVO, Commandant of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. John Hichens was the elder brother of Mark Lyttelton Hichens (H1939-1943) and Andrew Lionel Hichens (H1950-1954): he also had three sisters: Phoebe, Stella, and Rachel.
He came from West Downs to Mr. Robinson’s House in 1933, and worked his way up the Classical side into Senior Division. A talented musician, he played as violin soloist in more than one School Concert.
From October 1939 he took a war-time course at New College, Oxford, in Philosophy and English Literature. In March 1941 he was commissioned in the Royal Horse Artillery. He later transferred to 190 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, and was promoted Captain at Christmas 1942. In November 1943, in the chapel of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, where his parents had also married, he married Miss Jacobine Menzies-Wilson, the sister of William Napier Menzies-Wilson (A 1940-1944).
Crossing to Normandy soon after D-Day, Hichens’ unit formed part of 15th(Scottish) Division. 15th Division first saw action in Operation Epsom, an attack across the Odon river to the east of Caen, during which they sustained heavy losses. They were in action again on July 10th, as part of Operation Jupiter, coming under heavy mortar fire and infantry attack from SS troops. On July 11th Hichens was killed instantly by a mortar bomb, aged twenty-three. He is buried in grave VII.E.9 of the secluded and peaceful Ryes War Cemetery, Bazenville.
- Surname: Hichens
- Forenames or initials: John
- House: H
- Years in School: 1933-1939
- Rank: Captain
- Regiment: 190 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
- Date of Birth: 23rd August 1920
- Date of Death: 11th July 1944
- How Died: Killed in Action
- Location in War Cloister: Inner A1
- Decoration: NA
- Burial Site: Ryes War Cemetery, Bazenville: Grave VII.E.9