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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Sgt.Henry Hickey,CEF (Almost a VC?)


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It is always interesting to read contemporary written accounts of the war, and this morning I was glancing through "Canada's Sons and Great Britain in the World War", written by Col.George Nasmith,CMG, in 1919. While it is totally unrealistic in portraying the feelings of the troops, here and there are interesting little entries.

On page 200 the colonel writes, "The fighting at this stage was of the most dashing description and many deeds of gallantry were recorded and many honours won. Among others, Sergeant Hickey of the Fourth Canadian battalion won the Victoria Cross, but was killed later by a stray bullet."

Now I couldn't recall any Canadian named Hickey earning the VC, so a quick check was made of The Register of the Victoria Cross, and my doubts were confirmed. I then took a look through Ted Wigney's "The C.E.F. Roll of Honour", and found the following entry: 11202 Sgt. Henry Hickey, MID. 4th Bn May 30,1915 KIA.

This was our fellow. Further checks of the Canadian archival sites on the web produced his attestation papers showing that, like most of the 1st Canadian Division, he was British-born (London). Another site produced a newspaper extract describing his exploits and death and his MID (indeed he had been recommended for the VC).

Has any study ever been done of how many men were recommended for the VC and did not receive it?

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Hi Terry,

This from the 4th Battalion Regt. History:

11202 Sergeant HICKEY, Henry

Original Unit and Enlistment Date: 4th Bn. September 22, 1914

Date TOS Unit In The Field: February 9, 1915

Casualties: Killed In Action: May 30, 1915

Interesting, from a VC to an MID?

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I did a bit of nosing around and stumbled on the following. It baffles me why he didn't get the DCM? (wouldn't you love his trio!!!)

Sir Max Aikens Book, 'Canada In Flanders (pages 128-129):

Those were days of splendid deeds, and this chapter cannot be closed without recording the most splendid of all-that of Sergeant Hickey, of the 4th Canadian Battalion, which won him the recommendation for the Victoria Cross. Hickey had joined the Battalion at Valcartier from the 36th Peel Regiment, and on May 24th he volunteered to go out and recover two trench mortars belonging to the Battalion which had been abandoned in a ditch the previous day. The excursion promised Hickey certain death, but he seemed to consider that rather an inducement than a deterrent. After perilous adventures under hells of fire he found what was of infinitely greater value-the shortest and safest route by which to bring up men from the reserve trenches to the firing line. It was a discovery which saved many lives at a moment when every life was of the greatest value, and time and time again, at the risk of his own as he went back and forth, he guided party after party up to the trenches by this route.

Hickey's devotion to duty had been remarkable throughout, and at Pilkem Ridge, on April 23rd, he had voluntarily run forward in front of the line to assist five wounded comrades. How he survived the shell and rifle fire which the enemy, who has an uninterrupted view of his heroic efforts, did not scruple to turn upon him, it is impossible to say; but he succeeded in dressing the wounds of all five and conveying them back to cover.

Hickey, who was a cheery and modest soul, and as brave as any of our brave Canadians, did not live to receive the honor for which he had been recommended. On May 30th a stray bullet hit him in the neck and killed him. And so went home to the God of Battles a man to whom battle had been a joy.

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Initials: H

Nationality: Canadian

Rank: Sergeant

Regiment: Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regt.)

Unit Text: 4th Bn.

Date of Death: 30/05/1915

Service No: 11202

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead


In Memory


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