Hickley, Richard Trollope North
Eldest son of Leonard North Hickley (I, 1879), of Much Hadham, Herts, his mother was Sybil Hickley, nee Trollope and the brother of Anthony North Hickley (F 1919-1924). Previously at the Yew Tree School in Much Hadham, he entered Mr. Blore’s House (Hawkins’) from Mr. F.H. Gresson’s school at Crowborough and played in O.T.H. VI in 1914 and in Lords in 1915. According to W.R. Lyon’s “The Elevens of the Three Great Schools 1805-1929” (Spottiswoode, Ballantyne & Co, 1930): “Being the son of a well-known Old Wykehamist cricketer and nephew of another, he evidently inherited his love of outdoor sport, and the true spirit of sportsmanship… Richard Hickley stood over six feet and, with great strength and good reach, was a sound batsman, quite a fair wicket-keeper, and a good field; he was keen on every outdoor game and sport, and was a good shot.”
He was gazetted on the day of Eton Match 1915 to the Hertfordshire Regiment and went to the front in 1916, being wounded in the spring of 1917. At some point, though his arrival is not recorded in the war diary, and may not have been until 1918, 1/1st Hertfordshire Regiment was also joined by Wykehamist Captain Guy Dodgson (B1908-1913: see individual entry) who died on 14th November 1918 as a result of injuries.
On 31st July 1917, the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchedaele) Allied troops, including 1st Hertfordshires, were allocated the task of capturing the village of St Julien, which they achieved, unfortunately with the loss of two OWs: Lieutenant Denis George Wyldbore Hewitt (G 1911-1915), who received a posthumous VC for his role in the action, and Lieutenant John Keith Falconer (K 1911-1915) (see individual entries). Information is scarce as all 20 of the officers who “went over the top” that day were killed, wounded or missing and there was no-one left to record the details. Hickley does not appear in the casualty lists, presumably because he had been ‘left out of battle’, and was with the reserve of officers and men intended to re-constitute the unit should disaster occur. This group re-joined the battalion on August 9th, and in November another OW joined the battalion, Major John Bolle Tyndale Gough (G 1894-1897), who was killed on the second day of the great German spring offensive on 21st March 1918.
Hickley was away from the line at the time attending a course and immediately joined a mixed group of reinforcments. They were sent to Maricourt and on 25th March Hickley fell mortally wounded. He had just brought in single-handedly a machine gun, the crew of which had all been killed or wounded. The battalion’s second in command wrote to his parents that “your son did splendidly the whole time he was with us, always at his best in a tight corner.” Another officer wrote: “The men thought the world of him.” The former Bursar of Winchester wrote: “R.T.N. Hickley was a delightful youth……… This fine young Wykehamist would doubtless have made his mark in the world had he been spared, but he gave his life for King and Country in his 21st year: and his parents and his school may well be proud of him and of his memory”.
Twenty years old when he died, Hickley is commemorated in panels 89-90 of the Pozieres Memorial, as well as on the imposing memorial to the Hertfordshire Regiment’s dead in All Saints Church, Hertford: “To the glory of God, and in memory of the following Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of the 1st Hertfordshire Regiment killed in action or died of wounds or of sickness contracted on active service abroad 1914-1918. Their name liveth for evermore.”
- Surname: Hickley
- Forenames or initials: Richard Trollope North
- House: F
- Years in School: 1911-1915
- Rank: Lieutenant
- Regiment: Hertfordshire Regiment
- Date of Birth: 21st November 1897
- Date of Death: 25th March 1918
- How Died: Killed in action
- Location in War Cloister: Outer G1
- Decoration: NA
- Burial Site: Unknown but commemorated on Panels 89-90 of the POZIERES MEMORIAL