|Colonel William John Hicks
|44th N.I. (late 22nd N.I. and
Barrow’s Volunteer Cavalry)
W. J. Hicks, 22nd
N.I. Supt. of
2 clasps, Bhootan,
Looshai (Lt. Col.
W. J. Hicks, 44th
William John Hicks, the son of Lieutenant-General George Hicks, Bengal Army, was born on 30 June 1822, and was baptised
at Agra on 21 July 1823. He was nominated for the Bengal Infantry ‘when abroad’ at the recommendation of Sir David
Commissioned Ensign on 1 September 1838, he reported to the Town Major at Fort William on 21 December of that year,
and in January 1839 was directed to do duty with the 8th N.I. at Bareilly, prior to joining the 22nd N.I. at Nusserabad. He
was promoted Lieutenant on 27 June 1842, and in 1846 took charge of the recruit depot at Futtehghur. He served
throughout the Punjab campaign, including the affair of Ramnuggur, passage of the Chenab, and pursuit of the Sikhs and
Afghans. He became Captain on 29 July 1853, and appears to have returned to Fort William from furlough on 23 April
His regiment mutinied at Faizabad on 7 June 1857, whereupon he was directed to do duty with the 1st Madras Fusiliers in
Sir James Outram’s Oude Field Force, ‘with a view to being appointed to the charge of the Bazaar’from 15 December 1857.
On 16 September, Hicks was appointed Baggage Master to the Oude Field Force, and reached Lucknow with First Relief
Force nine days later.
In addition to his other services Hicks is recorded in Hart’s Army List as having served ‘in the Volunteer Cavalry [under
Capt. Barrow] with Havelock’s Column from its first taking the field in July 1857, including the actions of Aoung, Pandoo
Nuddee, Cawnpore, Oonao, Buseerutgunge, Mungarwar, and Alumbagh, relief of the Garrison of Lucknow, subsequent defence
of the Alumbagh, and repulse of the various attacks thereon.’ Hicks also had charge of the State prisoners until the final
capture of Lucknow, and, in June 1858 he was appointed Commandant of the Police Battalion in the district of Etawah.
Hicks became Major in June 1866, and Lieutenant-Colonel three months later. He served in the Bhootan expedition in 1865-
66, in command of the 44th Bengal N.I. until the surrender of the guns at Dewangiri, and was appointed Colonel Commandant
of that Corps in 1868. Promoted to full Colonel on 1 September 1869, Hicks commanded his regiment in the Looshai
Expedition of 1871-72. Colonel Hicks retired in February 1873 and died in December of that year.
Refs: Hodson Index (NAM); IOL L/MIL/10/32; IOL L/MIL/10/66; IOL L/MIL/10/41; IOL L/MIL/10/64.
Provenance: Ex Ritchie Collection, DNW Auction 17 September 2004, Lot 103.