Tag Archives: Robert Michael Hickey

Robert Michael HICKEY

Robert Michael HICKEY

Per his military service record (regimental no. 5099), Robert Michael Hickey was born at Carcoar, N.S.W.[1]  He gave his age as 43 years and 2 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as engine driver.  His description on his Certificate of Medical Examination was height 5 feet 10 inches tall, weight 156 lbs., with a medium complexion, brown eyes, and brown hair. His religious denomination was Roman Catholic.  He claimed that he had no previous military service.

He was attested by Lieutenant Frank Middenway at Ashfield on 11th November 1915. The Coo-ees held a recruitment meeting and stayed in Ashfield at the Drill Hall on the night of 11th November 1915 – the last night of the march.  The Certificate of Medical Examination in his service record shows that he first completed his medical on 11th November 1915 at Ashfield, however this date is crossed out, and replaced with the later date of 28th January 1916, at Liverpool Camp.

After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On 4th February 1916 Private Hickey was charged with being Absent Without Leave from 16th  January to 24th January 1916.  He was recommended to be discharged, however he was fined and reinstated.

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was 29 Rocket Street, Bathurst, N.S.W, and his next of kin is listed as his mother, Mrs E. Hickey, at the same address.

Private Hickey departed Sydney on the HMAT A16 Star of Victoria on 31st March 1916, as 16th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.[2]  He arrived in Egypt on the 8th May 1916.

On the 7th June 1916 Private Hickey left Alexandria aboard a transport ship bound for France, arriving at Marseilles on the 14th June 1916.

On 21st July he was taken on strength of the 13th Battalion in France from the 4th Division Base Depot at Etaples.

On 2nd August 1916 the 13th Battalion was training at Warloy, France, when Private Hickey was charged with being absent from Tattoo roll call on 31st July 1916. He was awarded 7 days Field Punishment No. 2.

On 11th August 1916, Private Hickey was wounded in action in the vicinity of Pozieres, when the 13th Battalion was in the front line during the Battle of Pozieres.  (His wound is not described in his service record).  He was evacuated to the 1st Canadian General Hospital at Etaples, France, where he was admitted sick on 23rd August 1916.

On 30th August 1916 he was placed aboard the Hospital Ship Stad Antwerpen at Calais for evacuation to England. Later that day he was admitted to the 4th Northern General Hospital at Lincoln, England.

On 25th September 1916 Private Hickey was transferred to the 2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Southall, England. He was discharged on 31st October 1916 and marched into the No. 2 Command Depot at Weymouth, England.

On 9th November 1916 Private Hickey was transferred to the 4th Training Battalion at Codford, England for “home service”.

On13th April 1917 Private Hickey was transferred back to the No. 2 Command Depot at Weymouth, England.

On 4th May 1917 Private Hickey departed England from Devonport aboard the H.M.A.T. Runic bound for Australia.

He arrived in Sydney on 6th July 1917.  He was discharged Medically Unfit (Mitral Incompetence) on 11th August 1917.

Note: A page in his service record lists that he embarked from Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England with regimental no. 4798.  However, his name (and this regimental number) are not included on the nominal roll for the HMAT A15 Star of England. This initial regimental no. 4798 is crossed out on his Attestation Paper, and replaced with 5099.


[1] NAA: B2455, HICKEY R M 5099

[2] Australian War Memorial First World War Embarkation Rolls, ‘Robert Michael Hickey’, HMAT Star of Victoria A16, https://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1830731/

The 22 Ashfield recruits

Who were the 22 Ashfield recruits?

The Coo-ees held a recruiting meeting, and stayed the night at the Drill Hall at Ashfield on Thursday, 11th November, 1915 – their last night of the Coo-ee March on their long route from Gilgandra to Sydney.

This is now the site of the Ashfield Boys High School gymnasium, and a new car park named Coo-ee Car Park in memory of the 1915 Coo-ee March built recently by the Wests Ashfield Leagues Club.  A plaque about the Coo-ees at Ashfield was unveiled at the Coo-ee Car Park on 21st April 2015.

Plaque at Coo-ee Car Park, Ashfield (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 23/4/2015)

Plaque at Coo-ee Car Park, Ashfield (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 23/4/2015)

A plaque on an obelisk is situated in the grounds of the Ashfield Boys High School. It has been there for some time. On it are the words: “Celebrating Gilgandra Coo-ee Marchers 11 November 1915 22 Ashfield men joined with the Coo-ee marches here on this day”.

Coo-ee March obelisk at Ashfield Boys High School (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 3/3/2014)

Coo-ee March obelisk at Ashfield Boys High School (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 3/3/2014)

Although the “official” count for the total number of Coo-ees recruited on the 1915 Gilgandra to Sydney Coo-ee March per newspaper articles of the time was 263, with Ashfield having a total of 22 recruits, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on 13th November 1915 (p. 19) that ‘the contingent left the western suburb’ of Ashfield ‘about 263 strong, but there are others now to be sworn in – men who joined the little army yesterday.’ The Farmer and Settler reported about Coo-ees numbers on 21st December 1915 (p. 3) that ‘there were no fewer than 277 men on their last pay sheet in camp’.

We have found the following names of 23 men who were attested at Ashfield at the time the Coo-ees were recruiting at Ashfield. We note that one (Bert Kilduff) had paperwork dating only from 12th November 1915 in his service record, so perhaps the ”official” count of 22 recruits was taken the night before at Ashfield, and he was not included.  Although two others also completed their medical examination and signed their attestation paper at Ashfield on the 12th November 1915 (Thomas Edward Bow and Charles Seal), they had both signed the bottom of the first page in their ‘Attestation paper of persons enlisted for service abroad’ on the 11th November 1915.

Attested 11th November 1915 at Ashfield

Robert AYRES (service no. 4729)

Richard John CROCKER (no service no.)

Edward Lewis CUDDEFORD (service no. 5352)

Harold Brooks DAVIS (service no. 4759)

Edgar DAWSON (no service no.)

Thomas DELANEY (service no. 4764)

William ELLERY (service no. 4769)

Richard EVANS (service no. 5368)

Joseph Jacob John HERRINGE (service no. 5700)

Robert Michael HICKEY (service no. 5099)

Albert HULBERT (no service no.)

Hector LEE (service no. Depot)

Thomas LIPSCOMBE (service no. 4826)

Sam LUKE (service no. 4830)

Joseph Raymond MCGUIRE (service no. 4857)

Selby George MEGARRITY (service no. 4841)

William Allen Luther PHILPOT/PHILPOTT (service no. 5164)

William WEBBER (service no. 4917)

Jack Graham WIGGINS (service no. 4918)

Joseph John WILLIAMS (service no. 4912)

Attested 12th November 1915 at Ashfield the (the day the Coo-ees left Ashfield and the last day of the Coo-ee March)

Charles Edward BOW (service no. 4735)

Bert KILDUFF (service no. 4818)

Thomas SEAL (service no. 4895)

Not all of these men were local to the Ashfield area. Some were men who had joined the Coo-ees earlier in the march, or caught up with them at Ashfield, who signed their attestation paper to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force at Ashfield.

William Ellery was reported to be a long term resident of the Dunedoo area before he left to join the Coo-ees.  Edgar Dawson started filling out his paperwork in his service record in Bathurst.  Jack Wiggins was known as a Springwood recruit. Sam Luke joined the Coo-ees at St Marys. Selby Megarrity undertook his medical at Penrith, the day before the Coo-ees arrived at Ashfield.

Fourteen of the Ashfield recruits embarked overseas with the majority of the Coo-ees on the transport  HMAT A15 Star of England on the 8th March 1916.  Five more embarked on other ships soon after.

An individual blog entry will be added to this website for each of the above named Coo-ees.