Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Paddington, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom

General information


Army information

England, United Kingdom
British Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Marylebone, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom
 —  The Rifle Brigade, 8th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Inverness Copse, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Tyne Cot Memorial
Panel: 146A

Distinctions and medals 3

1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Medal — 26/03/1920
Victory Medal
Medal — 26/03/1920

Points of interest 2

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place

My story

William Hicks was a 35-year old labourer from Paddington, Middlesex. He served in the 8th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade, part of the 41st Brigade, of the 14th (Light) Division and took part in the Battle of Passchendaele.

On 22 August 1917 the 8th Rifle Brigade moved towards the frontline along the Menin Road, in anticipation of an attack. The attack, however, was cancelled and William’s Battalion was to be relieved during the night of 23 and 24 August. But the relief wasn’t carried out properly. Too few troops arrived and one and a half Company of the 8th Rifle Brigade were to stay at the Bund.

At 4 a.m. on the 24th of August a heavy German barrage came crashing down on Inverness Copse and Glencorse Wood. Two hours later the German infantry went over the top. The situation along the Menin Road soon became dire and at 1.10 p.m. orders were received that all units at the Bund were to reinforce the frontline, as a German breakthrough was pending. The 8th Battalion moved forwards through the German barrage, suffering several casualties. “C” Company was ordered to reoccupy the western edge of Inverness Copse. But they were soon held up by machine-gun fire and occupied shell holes astride the Menin Road. Finally the 72nd Brigade moved into support to help suppress the German attacks. With the help of the reinforcements the German advance was eventually halted and “C” Company was able to enter and consolidate the western edge of Inverness Copse at dusk. At night a defensive flank was formed along Jasper Avenue and the one and a half Company of the 8th Rifle Brigade was finally relieved at 3 a.m.

Rifleman Michael William Hicks was possibly killed in action during the attack on Inverness Copse, leaving behind a young family. William has no known grave and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Zonnebeke.

Files 1

Sources 6

"Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Uniform, 2018, pg. 64.
Sources used
"The History of the Rifle Brigade in the War of 1914-1918: Vol. II January 1917 - June 1919", Seymour W., London, 1936, pg. 132-135.
Sources used
Further reference
Sources used
The Long, Long Trail
Sources used
War Diary The Rifle Brigade, 8th Bn.
Further reference