Gordon B. Hickson (1921-2015)
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Gordon B. Hickson (1921-2015)


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Track 1: Gordon Hickson explains that the Hicksons came from just outside Dingle prior to his birth, and he discusses the various branches of the family in Kerry and also outlines the family history. Track 2: Gordon’s father Bertram Hickson was brought up in Limerick where his father, Edward Hickson, was a Resident Magistrate, and Gordon recalls a story told by his father about Marlborough’s campaign against King Louis XIV. The story tells how the Irish thrashed the English at Fontenoy to shouts of Remember Limerick, Boys! The Hickson family business was in shipping and connections with the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast are mentioned. Track 3: Bertram Hickson went to India in about 1909 and joined the prestigious 27th Light Cavalry. This regiment was active in the East Persian Cordon during WWI, for which Bertram received the India General Service Medal with bar. His wife, Margaret Eileen, travelled to India in 1917 with many other brides because the soldiers could not get home leave, and Gordon’s two older brothers were born in India. Bertram retired from the Army and bought a house, ‘Altadore’, in Glenageary, Co. Dublin where Gordon grew up. He was almost 18 when WWII broke out and his father encouraged him to continue on to Trinity College Dublin before enlisting, which he did, studying history and political science. He later joined an infantry regiment, The Inniskilling Fusiliers in Northern Ireland. His maternal uncle, Frank Hewson, was serving in the army in Northern Ireland and had been in the battle of Ypres in the Royal Army Service Corps. The Hewsons lived at Clonaslee near Portlaoise, where Gordon’s maternal grandfather, Henry Brownrigg Hewson, was rector. Their second son, Charles, served was in the Royal Army Medical Corps and later went to India to work as a doctor on a tea plantation. He died in India. When Gordon was about five years old his parents returned from India and he then no longer lived with his Hewson grandparents. He speaks of his contemporaries while studying at Trinity College, Dublin and he recalls the tough training regime that he undertook in Omagh after entlisting. Track 4: Gordon is in possession of some of his father’s uniform and mess kit and he says that Bertram never forgot his Irish roots. He recalls his attitude to the new Irish state and discusses connections with the Parnell family. He knew Mrs Parnell, Charles Stewart Parnell’s sister-in-law, and Gordon used to attend “at homes” at her residence, Sion House in Glenageary. Track 5: Gordon served as an officer in Northern Ireland at the end of 1944 and he was then posted to the West African Frontier Force in 1945. WWII was coming to an end and he was sent to Egypt to guard various locations at Alamein and Alexandria. He later applied to the British Administration of Occupied Territories and served as Staff Captain as part of the military government in the Dodecanese islands. His son, Charlie Hickson, enquires about Gordon’s work, after he left the Army, in the last British administration of the Sudan. Gordon outlines the Egyptian attempt to take control of the Sudan and the inquiry which followed, and some comparison is made with the U.S. military government of occupied territories. Gordon reads a letter from Peter Dolan, his boss on Leros Island. In 1948 he was in the Sudan Political Service which ran the administration and he describes the situation which pertained there at the time. He outlines his opinion on the current troubles in the country. Track 6: Charlie Hickson reads his father’s orders to report to Cairo and his duties as PRO, dealing with journalists and newspapers in Egypt. Gordon goes through some photographs taken in the Dodecanese Islands and Eritrea, where he spent six months. He remarks on the wonderful autostrada built by the Italians in Africa. He describes the journey home on leave from Rhodes, travelling by ship to Marseilles via Port Said, by train across France and onward home to Ireland. He ended his service in Sudan in 1955, and with his gratuity he was able to buy his farm after working for a year in England.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The Irish Country House and the Great War


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

8.72 MB, 21.87 MB, 11.50 MB, 18.40 MB, 11.15 MB

Number of files:


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The Hickson family's military service abroad

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore