Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - Matthew Henry Hickling
Died 13th May 1915, aged 21
Battle of Frezenberg, Second Battle of Ypres, Belgium
Matthew Henry Hickling (known as Henry) was one of six surviving children of Matthew and Mary Blanche Hickling. He was born in Syston in 1893 and his father ran a successful building firm employing over 30 men. The family must have led a comfortable life, but in 1899, aged 52, Henry’s father died. Henry was only 5 years old and his mother had six children ranging in ages from one to thirteen. After her husband’s death, Mary moved her family from Melton Road, Syston to Quorn, where they settled at 80 Leicester Road, then known as ‘The Mount’.
The older photograph of Leicester Road, Quorn (below), was taken in about 1910 and shows Quorn on a summer’s day, enjoying a parade with music, fancy dress and decorated carts. The house on the far left is 80 Leicester Road, the home of the Hicklings. Henry and his younger brother Robert, aged 16 and 14, can be seen in their caps and jackets, watching the parade from their front garden without a care in the world. It is poignant when you realise that just five years later, Henry would die fighting for his country.
A country lad who went to fight
Like many men with farming backgrounds, Henry joined the Leicestershire Yeomanry, however he had only been serving a short time when he was killed at the battle of Frezenberg in Belgium on 13th May 1915, along with six other young men from Quorn.
After Henry left Rawlins Grammar School he went to work for T Bertram Gibbins, a farmer who lived at Chaveney Manor on Chaveney Road. After his death the headmaster of Rawlins wrote of Henry that he was… :
“…. fonder of the open air than of the classroom. Straightforward, fearless and good natured, he was popular with his school fellows and secretly respected by his masters. Since he left school he has been little seen in public haunts, for he worked from early morn, till dewy eve…..”
Henry is not only commemorated on the Quorn War Memorial, but also on the Syston War memorial, Rawlins School Roll of Honour (see Artefact 2261 and Artefact 2262) and the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres.
Mary, Henry’s mother, later moved to Holly Bank, now 31 Chaveney Road, where she lived until her death in 1950.
1) A newspaper photograph of Henry Hickling.
2) A 1910 view of the Hickling home at 80 Leicester Road on the far left, showing Robert and Henry Hickling at their gate.
3) An enlargement of Henry Hickling (right) and his brother Robert at the gate.
4) A modern photograph of the same view as the older photograph.