Sergeant George Hicks


George Hicks was born on 2 November 1891 at Kinglass, Kinawley, County Fermanagh, the second of four children of farm steward and labourer Thomas Hicks and his wife Margaret (nee Lang).

Hicks enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Enniskillen on 7 August 1908 (No.193 – later Corps of Hussars No.71009). He was promoted to lance corporal on 8 April 1913, corporal on 7 March 1914, lance sergeant on 15 June 1914 and sergeant on 21 August 1914.

On 20 August 1914 he embarked for France with C Squadron of the North Irish Horse, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne. During this time he had a narrow escape when on patrol near the Aisne with two other men of C Squadron, Privates Scott and Moore. According to fellow Horseman Corporal Fred Lindsay:

... they were sent on patrol as far as a ford in the river which, unknown to us, was held by a German force with a machine gun. When the three reached the ford they found a British officer dead across his motor-car and some of his men dead around the car. They were about to dismount to investigate when the machine-gun fired upon them, instantly killing the two troopers. Sergeant Hicks escaped on Moore's horse, his own being shot under him.

Hicks remained with his squadron in France until late in 1917, when it was dismounted and most of the men transferred to infantry. Hicks however was found physically unfit for the rigours of frontline infantry service, and on 25 October 1917 was transferred to the Labour Corps (No.417012).

On 1 June 1918 he was again transferred, to the King's Royal Rifles Corps (No.58590), and was posted to D Company of the recently formed 25th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers). Hicks remained with the battalion until after the Armistice, serving as sergeant and acting company sergeant-major.

He returned home on 5 February 1919 and was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 6 March that year.