Hichens, James Byrn


Son of John Knill Jope Hichens (COM. 1851-1856) of Beech Grove, Sunninghill and Mary, nee Byrn, he entered Mr. Morshead’s House from Kynnersley’s preparatory school at Ascot, as an Exhibitioner. He was senior Commoner Prefect in 1890, President of Boat Club and member of Commoner VI. While at Winchester he lost the sight of one eye through a blow from a football. In 1891, he went up to Magdalen College, Oxford, with an Exhibition and in 1893 was placed in the First Class in Classical Moderations. He took his degree in 1895 with a Second Class in Literae Humaniores and in 1900 joined his father’s firm, Messrs. Hichens and Harrison, stockbrokers, of Austin Friars, London.

On the outbreak of war he applied to join the Army but was turned down three times, presumably on account of his impaired vision, but eventually obtained a commission in the 16th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps (a battalion recruited entirely from the Church Lads Brigade, in which he had always taken a keen interest) and went to France in November 1915. At some point shortly after their arrival he was injured in a gas attack but made a good recovery and rejoined his battalion. On 15th July 1916 16KRRC participated in the Battle of the Somme, around High Wood, an action which according to “The Annals of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps” “should never have been made”.   The battalion’s war diary gives details of the action and of Hichens’ death. Shortly after 7 a.m. that morning “Lieutenant Hichens was hit in the leg while leading his platoon and while bandaging his foot was again hit in the head and died immediately.”

He was 43 when he died and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Hichens
  • Forenames or initials: James Byrn
  • House: E
  • Years in School: 1886-1891
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: King's Royal Rifle Corps
  • Date of Birth: 16th October 1872
  • Date of Death: 15th July 1916
  • How Died: Killed in action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer H3
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Unknown, but commemorated on Pier and Face 13A-13B of the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL