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John William Hicks was born in Glenridding in 1891, the son William Hicks, and his wife Mary (nee Pattinson). William worked at Greenside Mine as had his father Thomas. By 1901 the family was living at Row Head in Glenridding, next door to Harold Oglethorpe and his family. As well as John there were 7 other children, Thomas Daniel (born 1881), Harry (1883), Annie (1887), Mary (1888), Lizzie (1894), Edna (1897), and Andrew (1902). Another child, Elise, died as an infant in May 1900. The family are shown together in the wonderful photo below kindly supplied by the Hicks family to Warren Allison. All the children would have attended Patterdale School, and by 1911 Thomas and Annie had left home but all the others were still living with their parents at Row Head. John is listed as a “shopkeeper grocer” on the 1911 census, and Lizzie as a “Grocers Assistant”. It is possible they were both working at the Cooperative Store in Glenridding alongside David Brown.
We’re not sure when John joined up but it may well have been alongside many of the men in the Dale at the back end of 1915. It is likely that he initially joined the Border Regiment before transferring, like John Pool and others into the Machine Gun Corps. He served in France and was serving as a Corporal in the Machine Gun Corps when he was awarded his Military Medal. By the time the award was announced in the Herald in June 1918 he had been promoted to Sergeant , the rank he was when he was demobbed.
After the war he returned to Glenridding and in June 1926 married Nellie Martha Chugg, also from Glenridding, and the sister of Ernest Chugg. Soon after their son William was born. By now they had settled at 4 Low Rake in Glenridding, where they continued to live until their deaths, John in October 1947 aged 57 and Nellie in June 1960 aged 67. They are buried together in Patterdale Churchyard. Their son William was a Bevin boy in World War Two and then worked for the electricity board. One of his daughters still lives in the village. We are grateful to his grandson John who kindly sent us photos of John’s marriage and death certificates, and also the photos of his medals shown below.
John’s father had died in January 1915 and his mother continued to live at Row Head until he death in 1932 aged 71.
Many of John’s siblings also settled in the Dale. His eldest brother Thomas married Margaret Beatrice Ada Roach and lived at Myers Cottage Glenridding, where their children Bertram, Elsie and William were born. Margaret’s younger brother Earnest Roach lived with them for a time whilst working at Greenside before he enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery. His other elder brother Harry married Hilda Pears in 1916 from Crookabeck farm and was an Electrical Engine Driver at the mine. Harry died aged just 35 in 1919, possibly as a result of injuries suffered in the war.
His sister Annie had married Martin Brumwell, also a miner at Greenside in 1908. His younger sister Edna married Edward Cox, also an Engine Driver from Greenside on 21st September 1927. They had two children, one of whom, Freda, still has a house in Patterdale. His sister Mary married Leonard Brown in 1916. Leonard was a conscientious objector and they moved away from the Dale. In 2018 we were contacted by one of their grandchildren, Vivien, who told us that Leonard and Mary had three children, Stanley, Alan and Harry and lived in Warrington, Cheshire. Vivien still lives in Warrington and remembers visiting her Auntie Edna at Raw Head as a child. We were also recently contacted by one of the family who told us that Thomas Daniel Hicks left Patterdale together with his 4 children, and went to the Consett area of County Durham, where he had a further 8 children. Thomas died in 1951, and his wife died in 1954 in Consett. It is thought that Thomas' sister Lizzie, may well have followed him there too. It is possible she married Robert H Green in 1919, and had one daughter, Marjorie in 1923. We think she died in 1957.
We are still not sure what happened to Andrew, although he may have died in Penrith in 1969. If you have any information on him or any of the Hicks family please let us know.
Sergeant John William Hicks MM
20827/6444 , Border Regiment & Machine Gun Corps
Born 1891. Died October 1947 aged 56
Son of William and Mary (nee Pattinson) Hicks of Row Head, Glenridding
Husband of Nellie Martha Chugg
Father of William Hicks (1926-
John’s Medal Card Above and to the Left the Grave of John and Nellie in Patterdale Churchyard
The Hicks Family around 1905
Back Row: Harry Hicks -
Middle Row Seated: Mary Hicks (nee Pattinson) -
Front Row Andrew Hicks (on his mother’s lap) -