|Alderman T.H.Hicks. Image: City of Botany Bay|
When Private Hector Fraser Hicks, from Mascot, embarked on the HMAT A7 Medic on 2 November 1918, the war was almost over. Hector was the 18-year-old son of Alderman Thomas Henry Hicks of Mascot, and had been working in his father’s business as a mechanic. After the armistice was signed on 11 November, the Medic was recalled, but by the time it returned to Australian waters, 205 soldiers and crew were sick with the Spanish influenza. The ship was forced into quarantine at North Head where the sick soldiers were nursed, and the Sydney newspapers carried daily lists of the sick and dying. Hector Hicks died on 30 November 1918 and was buried in the Quarantine Station’s 3rd cemetery with full military honours, along with 12 other soldiers and 9 Italian reservists from the Medic.
In 1920, when he was Mayor of Mascot once again, Alderman Hicks was determined to mark the sacrifice of the fallen soldiers of Mascot with a worthy memorial. Negotiations were made to purchase the land on the corner of Botany Road and Coward Street from the estate of the late William Parker. Mayor Hicks laid the foundation stone of the memorial on 4 December 1920. Speeches were made and certificates were presented to the mothers of the fallen soldiers. Presumably Mayor Hicks also presented a certificate to his own wife, Jessie. The names of the 63 soldiers from the Mascot district, who died during World War I, can be found on the memorial in Mascot Memorial Park, thanks largely to the perseverance of Alderman Hicks.
|Mascot Memorial Park, c1938 Image: City of Botany Bay|