Lieutenant Frederick Hill Liken



Frederick Hill Liken was born (as Oliver Hill Liken) on 30 December 1890 (some records state 30 December 1891) at Dunedin, Coleraine, County Londonderry, the twelfth of thirteen children of merchant and commercial traveller Oliver Hill Liken and his wife Lizzie (nee Davis). Educated at Coleraine Academical Institution, by 1911 he was living with his family at Dunedin Terrace, Coleraine, and working as a grocer's assistant. He later worked as a commercial traveller. According to a later newspaper report he was "an enthusiastic Bann oarsman".

Liken enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 13 November 1915 (No.1882). He was promoted to acting lance corporal on 10 December 1915, corporal on 7 January 1916, and sergeant two months later. He embarked for France on 3 August 1916, where he was posted to C Squadron, joining it at Flesselles eight days later.

On 13 March 1917 Liken applied for a commission in the infantry, with a preference for the 10th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He embarked for the UK on 2 April and after a short period of leave reported for duty at No.14 Officer Cadet Battalion, Berkhamstead, on 7 June.

Liken was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 26 September 1917 and posted to the 12th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Soon after he embarked for France where he was posted to the 9th Battalion, reporting for duty on 19 December.

On 23 March 1918 Liken was wounded in the head and hand at Brugey during the German spring offensive. He was taken via the No.46 Casualty Clearing Station to No.8 General Hospital at Rouen, after which on 28 March he was evacuated to the UK. After treatment at the 1st Southern General Hospital, Edgbaston, Birmingham, he was sent to the King's Lancashire Medical Convalescent Hospital at Blackpool. He gradually recovered and by 2 July was graded C1 – fit for home duties – and ordered to report for duty at the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, at Oswestry. By 2 September he was graded Class A – fit for general service.

Following the recurrence of an old injury he faced another medical board on 5 November which found him fit for home service:

He states that [in January 1917 at Samer] whilst riding his horse "shied" & threw him on to the pommel of his saddle & that night he had a swelling in the inguinal region which "went back" the next morning. Again in Jan. 1918 whilst digging in the trenches at St Quentin swelling again appeared & since then, he states, he has had hernia down several times & has had constant pain in inguinal region & in (?) (Rt)

By 16 December 1918 Liken was once again fit for general service. He was promoted to lieutenant on 26 March 1919 (an automatic step). During 1919 he was transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers and then attached to the 21st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, serving in France until 2 April 1920 when he returned to England. He was demobilised and relinquished his commission the following day.

On 9 April 1921 Liken married Edith Graham at Gilford Presbyterian Church, Tullylish, County Down. He died in 1975 at Bangor.


At least one of Lieutenant Liken's brothers served in the war – Thomas Alexander Liken, as a gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery.