The Hickmotts in Western Australian

3. Alfred Hickmott (1869-1956) and
Alice McLeod (1871-1913)

(last updated 8 July 2020)

annie foleyBorn at Clunes in Victoria in 1869, Alfred lived and worked at Charlton and later Bairnsdale before moving to Western Australia where he married Alice McLeod (1871-1913) in Perth in 1898. We think Alice was born at York in Western Australia in 1871, the daughter of Scottish-born George McLeod (1836-1917) and Irish-born Annie Foley or Folley (1843-1914). Annie, pictured on the right with her granddaughter Mabel Toms, married George in Perth in 1863 and had seven children in addition to Alice: George (born in 1865), James (1873), David (1879), Janet (1881), Marrian (1882), Christina (1884) and Isabella Agnes McLeod (1887). The family moved to Katanning in the Western Australian wheat belt in the early 1880s. George died there in 1917 and Annie in 1914. Her death notice, published in Perth's Western Mail, read: 'Mrs George McLeod, senr, who came to Katanning with her husband and family 23 years ago, passed away on Friday night, in her 74th year, leaving a husband, four daughters, and three sons. The funeral on Sunday in the Roman Catholic portion of the Katanning Cemetery was largely attended. Rev. Father Reidy read the service' (13 March 1914).

The Australian electoral rolls show that, at the time of the 1903 and 1906 elections, Alfred and Alice were at Kookynie in the Coolgardie District of Western Australia where Alfred was working as a miner. Some time after this they moved to Perth where Alice died on 4 December 1913 following a long and painful illness. Her funeral notice, published in the Perth Daily News, read: 'The funeral of the late Mrs Alice Hickmott, wife of Mr Alfred Hickmott of 33 Charles Street West Perth, took place on Friday afternoon last in the Methodist portion of the Karrakatta cemetery and was very largely attended by many relatives and friends of deceased. The chief mourners were: Mr Alfred Hickmott (husband), Master George Hickmott (son), Misses Marion and Louisa Hickmott (daughters), George McLeod and James McLeod (brothers), Mrs H. Budd, Mrs G. Seth and Mrs G. Rogers (sisters), Mr H. Budd and Mr G. Seth (brothers-in-law)' (8 December 1913). Alice was buried in the Wesleyan section of the Karrakatta Cemetery (section DA, gravesite 0186A).

Alfred and Alice's great grandson, Peter (Pete) Fennell, tells us that when Alice died, 'Alfred was faced with the prospect of raising his six children by himself. Marion was the eldest at 14. The Mcleod family offered to take two of the children but Alfred resisted the breaking up of his family. We believe arrangements were made with The Salvation Army in East Perth to allow the children to stay in their home while Alfred worked in the mines in the east towards Kalgoorlie. Nana [Marion] essentially was in charge of her siblings for two years and with the oversight and assistance of the Salvation Army the family remained whole and under one roof. She was a remarkable young girl'. Alfred returned to Perth in 1915. The 1916 electoral roll has him working as a horse driver and living on Queensberry Street in West Perth. Until her marriage to Fred Laney in 1920, Marion continued to care for her younger siblings. During a visit to Perth with his mother, Marion's eldest daughter Margaret Fennell nee Laney, in 1963, Pete learned 'how Nana had kept that family together and I could easily see the familial cohesion that they all shared. At the centre of it all was a quiet and elegant lady. She was the glue that kept them together. If I were asked to describe her', Pete concluded. 'I would say this about her, "still waters ran very deep in my grandmother"'.

By the time of the 1925 election Alfred was registered as living at 492 Newcastle Street in Balkatta (along with his son George Henry Hickmott). The 1931 roll has him at 214 Park Street in Subiaco along with an Alfred David 'Hickmore', shop assistant, and Janet Harriot Hickmott, factory hand. Only Alfred and Alfred David were registered there in 1936 and Alfred only in 1937 and 1943. Alfred Hickmott died at Subiaco on 13 September 1956 and is buried with his wife in the Karakatta Cemetery. They had six children we know of: Marion Alice, George Henry, Annie Louisa, Christina May, Janet Harriet and Alfred David Hickmott.

1. Marion Alice Hickmott (1899-1982)

marion and fred laneyBorn at Canning in Western Australia, Marion married Fred Laney (1898-1957) in Perth in 1920 (she and Fred are pictured on the left). Fred was born in the Melbourne suburb of Braybrook in 1898. His parents were Glamorgan-born John Laney (1855-1931) and Mary Ann Andrews (1859-1934) who was born near Castlemaine in Victoria. They were married in Victoria in 1887 and, according to the 'My Laney Tree' on Ancestry, had eight children in addition to Fred: John William (born and died in Melbourne in 1888), Millie (1890-1952), Alice (1892-1990), John known as 'Jack' (1894-1943), Mary (1896-7), Mary (1897- ), Ethel (1900-89) and Florence Laney (1904-4). John's death notice, published in the Perth Sunday Times on 15 March 1931, informs us that before emigrating to Australia, he had served in the Royal Navy including on the ironclad HMS Sultan during the Egyptian campaign: 'LANEY - The Friends of the late Mr. John Laney, of 227 Oxford Street, Leederville, formerly of the W.A.G.R. Perth, and A.B. of H.M.S. Sultan, bombardment of Alexandria, 1882, are respectfully requested to follow his remains to the place of interment, the Methodist portion of the Karrakatta Cemetery. The Funeral is appointed to leave his late residence 227 Oxford Street, Leederville, at 11 am TOMORROW (Monday) AFTERNOON. Friends wishing to attend the Funeral may proceed by the train leaving Perth at 11.5 am'. A second notice, published in The West Australian two days later, informs us of John and Mary Ann's then surviving children: 'LANEY - On March 14, 1931, at the Perth Hospital, John, the dearly beloved husband of Mary Ann Laney, fond father of Millie (Mrs. Mullane), Alice (Mrs. Stanton), Jack, Fred, and Ethel (Mrs. Evenis); aged 77 years'.

fred laneyHis military record in the National Archives in Canberra tells us that the 18 year-old Fred Laney, a hairdresser by trade, enlisted in the First AIF at Perth on 23 February 1916. His NOK was his father, John Laney, of 17 Oxford Street Leederville. He was allocated to the 28th Battalion and left Australia on the MILTIADES on 7 August 1916. After undergoing training at Etaples, he joined his battalion in France on 9 January 1917 and was wounded in action (a GSW to the face) on 23 March of the same year. After spending time recuperating at Dartford in England, he returned to France in November 1917 and was wounded in action again on 10 June 1918 (GSW to the chest) and invalided to the Bath War Hospital. Fred was wounded for a a third time (GSW to the foot) on 11 August 1918 and again invalided to England. He returned to Australia on the TAKADA on 24 December 1918 and was discharged at 5 MD on 1 January 1920. Fred's older brother, Jack Laney who was then working as a law clerk, had enlisted in Perth a week before Fred. Allocated to the Australian Medical Corps he also sailed on the MILTIADES. He went to France on 22 August 1917 where he served as a corporal in the 3rd Australian General Hospital. After spending time in hospital in England recovering from a bout of pneumonia he returned to Australia on the YPERINGA in November 1919 and was discharged from the Army in Perth on 21 February 1920. Jack married Bertha Marjorie Abrahams (1897-1983) there later that year and died in Perth in 1943. He and Bertha had at least two children: Betty and Bertha Merle Laney (who served in the Royal Australian Air Force during the Second World War).

The Australian electoral rolls show Marion and Fred, who was still working as a hairdresser, were living at 17 Oxford Street in Leederville in 1922 (along with an Ethel and Mary Ann Laney) and 492 Newcastle Street in Balkatta in 1925. From the early 1930s until Fred's death in 1957 they lived at 214 Park Street in Subiaco. Registered with them in 1943 was their daughter, Margaret Helen Laney, who was working as a shorthand typist. As reported in Perth's Sunday Times Margaret had turned 21 two years earlier where: 'One of the jolly parties of the 'celebration' type was given in honour of Miss Margaret Laney, attractive socialite, who is a member of the Younger Set of Subiaco. The occasion was her twenty-first birthday. Guests were invited to dinner at her home in Subiaco, and afterwards went on to the Dutch Mill, where a party evening was held. Among the guests present to offer congratulations were Mr. and Mrs. F. Laney, Mesdames T. Higgins, G. Hickmott, R. Roy; Misses Michele Simpson, Marion Cowan, Muriel de Marchi, Norma Murphy, Edna Laney, Joan McLaren, Shirley Laney, Beryl Burlinson, Beryl Laney; Messrs T. Higgins, A. Hickmott, T. McDonough, G. Hickmott, F. Laney, J. Walkerden and T. Martin' (22 June 1941). The photo on the right shows a younger Margaret and her brother, Frederick George Laney, setting off for a hit of tennis at King's Park.

margaret and fred juniorThree years after her coming-of-age, Margaret married Roger Casement Fennell, an American serviceman who was stationed in Perth. Her sister, Edna Marion Laney, married another US serviceman, William Edward Horton the same year. By War's end, the two brides had moved to the United States and, as detailed in the Perth Western Mail, it would be five years before Marion would get to see them again:

Bound for America. The war brought much happiness to many Australian girls who met and fell in love with servicemen from overseas, but for their parents it often brought sorrow because they had to be separated from children who left their homes to live in other countries. Mrs. Fred Laney, of Park-road, Subiaco, knows just how it feels to have two young daughters thousands of miles across the seas, for her two eldest married American servicemen and have been living in the United States for five years. In that time they have had children and learnt to live the American way of life, while their family at home in W.A. have had to be content with photographs and "snaps" to keep visually in touch with them. Getting to America is no easy job these days and it has taken much organisation, both in the United States and here, for a passage on the Aorangi, which will soon take Mrs. Laney to her daughters. She has been waiting for more than 12 months for accommodation on the ship. She will fly from Perth to Melbourne on Saturday and after a few days in that city will go on to Sydney, where she will embark on her long voyage. Her first stop will be Vancouver and she will then travel to Los Angeles, where her eldest daughter, Marjory (now Mrs. Michael Fennell) and her husband, will meet her and introduce her grandson Michael junior, and then take her overland to Phoenix, where Mrs. Laney will stay with the Fennells for a number of months. After this visit she will journey to the other side of the continent and stay with her daughter Edna (now Mrs. Bill Horton), who lives in Rochester, New York. Edna has two young children - Barbara and Judson - to introduce to their grandmother. After Mrs. Laney has stayed there for several months she will travel back to Vancouver, and then home. The two Laney girls left Australia together in December, 1944 - they were married in Perth while their husbands were stationed with the U.S. forces here - but, because of the great distance between their homes, have not seen each other since they landed in America. Both are fortunate in having modern houses with ample accommodation for their welcome visitor (Western Mail, 21 April 1949).

The 1949 electoral roll shows Marion back at Subiaco with Fred and a younger daughter, Beryl Mavis Laney, who worked as a journalist for the The Daily News. Fred died at Subiaco in December 1957. He was cremated and his ashes 'scattered to the winds at Karrakatta cemetery' where he is memorialised in the crematorium rose gardens. After Fred's death, Marion moved away from Subiaco and lived first at Salter Hill in South Perth - where she worked as a 'spotter' - and then with her son, Frederick George Laney and his family, at Kallaroo. The Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust website shows that a Marion Alice Laney was cremated at the Springvale Botanical Crematorium in Melbourne on 16 March 1982 (no other details provided). We don't know whether she had moved to Melbourne or died there during a visit. Marion and Fred had five children: Margaret Helen, Frederick George, Edna Marion, Beryl Mavis and Shirley Ruth Laney.

As we have seen, their two eldest daughters, Margaret and Edna, went to live in the United States after their respective marriages to Roger Casement Fennell (1918-96) and William Edward Horton (1917-2014) in Perth in 1944. Born in Phoenix Arizona, Roger was the only son of an Irishman, Michael Francis Fennell (1885-1956), and an American, Vera McDermit/McDirmitt who were married there on 1 October 1913. Vera was born at Blackford in Indiana in 1892, the eldest daughter of Walter and Clara McDermit both of whom came from Ohio. Michael, or 'Bumpa' as he was called by his grandchildren, was the youngest son of John and Katherine Fennell who ran a dairy farm on the Loophead Peninsular in County Clare in the west of Ireland. According to his grandson, Pete Fennell, Michael emigrated to the United States in 1903. After working as a journeyman butcher at Butte in Montana, he spent time with his older brother, Patrick James Fennell, at Eureka in Utah's gold and silver mining region before moving to Arizona where he and Vera were married and had three children: Mary Theresa (born in 1917), edna laney weddingRoger Casement (1918) and Katherine Fennell (1921). Pete adds that Roger, who was known to his friends and acquaintances as Michael or 'young Mike' because of his close resemblance to his father, was named after Sir Roger Casement (1864-1916), an Anglo-Irish diplomat, humanitarian activist and republican nationalist who was arrested, stripped of his knighthood and executed by the British for his role in the 1916 Easter uprising. Pete tells us Margaret and Roger - who are pictured below - had three sons: 1) Michael Laney Fennell who was born in Alameda and is now living at Napa in California. He and his wife Ann have three daughters - Katherine, Laney and Molly; 2) Pete who grew up in Arizona and lived and worked in San Francisco and Ardmore Oklahoma. After retiring he and his wife Cindy moved to Santa Rosa Beach in Florida. They have twin sons, Andrew and Patrick; and 3) Paul Fennell who was born in Phoenix Arizona and, Pete tells us, 'remains a single bachelor (smartest of the bunch)'. Roger Casement Fennell died in Phoenix Arizona in 1996. Margaret continued to live at Phoenix after her husband's death and achieved the grand age of 100 years in June 2020.

According to the 'James Family Tree' on Ancestry, Bill Horton was born at St Louis Missouri in 1917 and died at Dallas Texas in 2014. It adds that Bill and Edna - pictured in the photo on the right which was taken during a visit to Bill's parents at Rochester New York State in 1945 - were divorced in Dallas in 1972 and Edna married Clifford Osborn there two years later. She died from cancer at Pine Top in Arizona in 2008. A copy of her obituary, also contained on the 'James Family Tree', tells us Edna was 'known for her ready smile and warm personality. She was a consummate homemaker and an avid and accomplished painter, golfer and bridge player . . . a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother . . . Edna is survived by her husband, Clifford, two daughters, Barbara Vaughan of Huston, Texas and Debbie Self of Dallas, Texas and a son, Edward Horton of San Antonio, Texas; two step daughters, Diann Bennett of Phoenix, Arizona and Celia Holmsten of LaPorte, Texas; a stepson, Robert Osborn of Corpus Christie, Texas . . . Edna's life was further enriched by 19 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren'.

beryl laneThe WA Reverse Marriages index tells us that Marion and Fred's theird daughter, Beryl Mavis Laney - who was then working as a journalist at Perth's Western Mail (see the photo on the left) - married Donald Ernest Mack in Perth in 1951. The Australian electoral roll has Beryl and Donald, a bookmaker, living at Mount Hawthorn in Western Australia in 1954. The 1958 roll shows Beryl, who was still working as a journalist, living by herself in the Melbourne suburb of South Yarra. Not long after this she divorced Mack and married a fellow journalist and two times widower, Neil Armstrong Town (1909-2004).

The Department of Veterans' Affairs nominal roll for the Second World War shows that 20551 Neil Armstrong Town enlisted in the RAAF at Cambden in NSW on 16 December 1940. He had been born at Bendigo in Victoria on 3 February 1909 and gave as his NOK his then wife Meryla Town (Meryla Iris Jaques who he married in 1939 and who died ten years later). Neil was discharged from the Air Force on 1 July 1947 while serving as a Flight Lieutenant with the Central Flying School. He had been awarded the Air Force Cross at Admiralty House in Sydney on 23 June 1944. According to a report in the Melbourne Argus, 'Pilot-Officer Town, who enlisted in the RAAF in 1940, was posted to No 8 Elementary Flying Training School as instructor. Despite the monotonous nature of his duties, his record is one of conspicuous and unremitting service, and he has set an example of diligence and efficiency to all pilots. Pilot-Officer Town was keenly interested in aviation for several years before the war, and obtained his civil pilot's licence. Before enlisting he was a member of The Argus photographic staff, and was a brilliant press photographer. Many of the most spectacular photographs of bush fires and floods published in The Argus were taken by Town' (22 January 1943). The Australian electoral rolls has them living at Montrose between 1963 and 1980. The Melbourne General Cemetery listing shows that Beryl was cremated at the Springvale Botanical Cemetery on 1 November 1984 (no further details given). The Ryerson Index tells us Neil died on 16 September 2004. He and beryl had one child, a son, Jay Raisbeck Town, who was born in 1963 and, like his father before him, works as a photographer for Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper.

Born in Perth, Frederick George Laney (1923-92) served as an Able Seaman in the Royal Australian Navy between 1941 and 1946 and married Olive Lorna May (1925-2012) soon after he was discharged from the Navy. The Australian electoral rolls show that Fred worked as a commercial traveller, store manager and company director and he and Olive lived at Bunbury, Albany, Kalgoorlie and Perth. Fred died at Albany in 1992, was cremated and his ashes collected by the administrator of the Karrakatta Cemetery. The Perth Metropolitan Cemeteries Board shows that Olive, aged 87 years, died at Mullaloo (a northern Perth suburb) on 22 September 2012. She was cremated and her ashes were also 'taken by administrator at Karrakatta cemetery'. Her obituary, published in the West Australian on 24 September 2012 reads in part: Wife of Frederick (dec), loving mother of Gail, Bev and John. Proud Nana of Heath, Adrian, Kelly, Danae and Laney. Great grandmother of 9 and also loving friend of George'.

margaret and roger fennell

Sent to us by their son Pete Fennell, this photo, taken in around 1945, is of his parents Roger and Margaret Fennell nee Laney
at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley California. Roger had just returned from active duty in the Pacific.

fred and olive laney

Also provided by Pete Fennell, this photo is of Margaret's younger brother,
Frederick George Laney and his wife Olive.

shirley laney weddingMarion and Fred's youngest daughter, Shirley Ruth Laney (1930-2014), married Andrew Mervyn (Drew) Colgate (1924-2011) at Christ Church in Claremont on 19 May 1950. A report of their wedding in Perth's Sunday Times, which included the photo shown on the right, tells us the wedding dress Shirley was wearing had been 'worn by her sister Margaret, now Mrs Michael Fennell of Phoenix, Arizona at her wedding. It was brought back from the [United] States by Shirley's mother who has been visiting her daughters in America'. The report added that Shirley's bridesmaid was Elaine Kent and her flower girl Ruth Hickmott (Shirley's cousin - see below). Drew's best man was Bob Day.

Drew Colgate was born at Perth on 24 June 1924, the younger son of Englishman, George Hamilton Colgate (1895-1950), and Scottish-born Annie Jamieson, who were married at Perth in 1920. At the time of the UK 1901 census, George Hamilton, then aged six years, and his eight year-old sister, Dorothy Nora Colgate (1893-1983), were living at Lambeth in London with their parents, George Colgate snr (1868-1950) and Maria Hamilton (1868-1941), who were married at Gypsey Hill in Lambeth on 4 June 1891. George was a native of Cowden in Kent while Maria came from Middlesex. Sometime between 1901 and 1911, George and George Hamilton travelled to Australia. Maria and Dorothy, who at the time of the 1911 census were living at Thornton Heath in Surrey, remained in England until 12 May 1911 when they sailed from London on the ORSOVA bound for Fremantle.

The Australian electoral rolls show George, who was working as a carter, and Maria Colgate lived at 36 Padbury Street in North Perth from 1911 until after the First World War. During this time their daughter, Dorothy, married George Frederick (Fred) Pike (1888-1945) in Perth in 1915. Fred, who was born at Chesterfield in Derbyshire, enlisted in the First AIF at Perth on 11 May 1915 and was allocated to the 8/10th Light Horse Regiment. He served in Egypt and the Sinai where he was wounded in action in April 1917. In July 1919 he sailed from Port Said to England and thence to Australia on the PAKEHA in October the same year. George was discharged from the Army at Perth on 24 April 1920 and died at Victoria Park in Perth in 1945. Dorothy, aged 90 years, died at Leederville in 1983. We believe they had four children. His military file in the Australian Archives shows that George Hamilton Colgate also enlisted in the 1st AIF (at Perth on 10 October 1916). Allocated to the 18th reinforcements for the 27th Battalion, he sailed from Fremantle on the BERRIMA on 23 December 1916 and disembarked at Devonport in England on 16 February 1917. On 22 May he proceeded to France where he joined the 28th Battalion. After falling ill and being hospitalised in France and then England, he returned to France where he was wounded in action (a GSW to the left forearm) on 10 June 1918. He was again invalided back to England and spent time in hospital at Leytonstone in Chester before returning to Australia on the MORVADA on 4 January 1919.

Discharged from the Army at Perth on 13 June 1920, George married Annie Jamieson (1893- 1980) later in the same year. According to the 'Carroll(1)' family tree on Ancestry, Annie was born at Eaglesham in Renfrewshire in Scotland, the eldest daughter of Andrew Stevenson Jamieson (1871-1954) and his first wife, Mary Aiken (1865-1936), who he married at Newton Mearns in Renfrewshire in 1892. It adds they had five children in addition to Annie all of whom were born in Refrewshire: William James (1892-1970), Mary Stevenson (1894-5), Mary (1895-1967), Maggie (1899-1974) and Andrew Stevenson Jamieson (born in 1905). Although still to be confirmed, we think the family sailed from Bristol to Australia on the steam ship AJANA, disembarking at Fremantle on 12 July 1912 (the Australian electoral roll show Andrew, Mary and William James Jamieson living at North Perth in 1914). Mary Jamieson nee Aiken died in Perth in 1936 and Andrew married Catherine Philp (1876-1960) two years later. He died at Bayswater in Perth in 1954 and is memorialised in Karrakatta's Crematorium Rose Garden (Garden A, Position 98).

The Australian electoral rolls show that George and Annie Colgate nee Jamieson lived all there married lives in South Perth where George worked as a taxi driver. He died on 30 December 1949 and is also memorialised in the Karrakatta Crematorium Rose Garden (Garden 8a, Position 15). Annie died at Leederville aged 87 years and is memorialised with George at Karrakatta. Their eldest son, George Hamilton (Dord) Colgate (1921-43), enlisted in the Australian Army at Perth on 27 October 1941, and served as a Private soldier with the 2/32 Australian Infantry Battalion. He was killed in action on 17 October 1943 during the battle of Finschhafen in Papua New Guinea's Huon Peninsular and is buried in the Lae War Cemetery in the Morobe Province.

2/32 battalion in cairns

From the Australian War Memorial's archives, this photo, taken at Cairns in Queensland in August 1943, is of
the troops of A Company 2/32nd Infantry Battalion awaiting orders for embarkation for Papua New Guinea.
The group is said to include WX17455 Pte G. H. Colgate.

George and Annie's younger son, Andrew Mervyn (Drew) Colgate (1924-2011) enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy at Fremantle on the day he turned 18. He was then living with his parents at South Perth and nominated his father, George Colgate, as his NOK. The Department of Veterans Affairs' WW2 nominal roll informs us he was discharged from the Navy on 18 March 1946 at which time he was serving as an Able Seaman at HMAS Leeuwin. It provides no details of where or with which unit(s) Drew served during the War although we believe he spent a good deal of his time with Z Special Unit (more commonly known as Z Force), a joint Australian and allied intelligence and special operations unit that operated behind Japanese lines throughout South East Asia following the fall of Singapore in February 1942. Drew's eldest daughter, Anni Barnett, tells us she thinks he trained in either Sydney or Brisbane (probably Camp Z in Refuge Bay, an offshoot of Broken Bay located to the north of Sydney, or possibly Fraser Island). It is likely he also underwent training at the Special Boat Section at Careening Bay Camp on Western Australia's Garden Island. After completing his training, Anni continues, Drew:

. . . spent the entire time during the war living on a junk (boat) out of Borneo. They lived like the natives (Dad said they lived like coolies) . . . and used one-man subs to put bombs under Japanese ships . . . their main job was to look like fishermen and send reports on what war ships and Japanese activities they saw going on. I spent my whole life going to ANZAC day services and remembrance day services at Garden Island [in Western Australia] where there is a Memorial. Every Sunday closest to November 11 all the families would go to Garden Island and have a ceremony and lay wreaths. Some of the families still do this but sadly all the original serviceman have now passed. I have lots of fond memories of being with those brave men and they very rarely spoke of the war . . . My Mum used to say that the only time my Dad wore his uniform was going into the Navy and coming out. His time was spent wearing a sarong as the Malays did at that time. He tanned up like a native so they all looked like the locals from a distance anyway. Like a lot of ex servicemen he told some stories but not a lot.

Anni adds she thinks her father served as a crew member of the MV Krait, a coastal fishing boat formerly known as the Kofuko Maru, which had been used to evacuate refugees from Singapore and was requisitioned by Allied intelligence and brought to Australia to be used to support Z Force operations. It is likely he would have participated in Operation Jaywick in which the Krait and its crew of eleven Australians and four British personnel sailed from Exmouth Gulf in Western Australia on 2 September 1943 and laid off Singapore harbour while six of its members paddled into the harbour and placed limpet mines onto a number of Japanese ships. After picking up those who took part in the mining operation, the Krait and its crew then sailed back to Australia arriving at Exmouth on 19 October.

The Australian electoral rolls show that after the War Drew and Shirley Colgate continued living in Perth where Drew worked as a clerk and later a manager. According to the Perth Metropolitan Cemeteries Board website, Drew was living at South Lake when he died, aged 87 years, on 1 December 2011. He was cremated and his ashes taken by the Director at the Fremantle Cemetery. The same source tells us Shirley died on 12 May 2014. The tribute to her, published in The West Australian on 14 May 2014, reads: 'COLGATE (Shirley Ruth): Passed away peacefully at Canning Lodge, Willetton on Monday 12th May 2014. Dearly beloved wife of Drew (dec), much loved mother of Ann, Lee and Peter. Mother-in-law to Dale and Mandy. Adored Nan of 9 and Great Nana of 17 and a half'. She was also cremated and her ashes taken by the Director at the Fremantle Cemetery. Their daughter, Anni, tells us their three children, all of whom are still living, are: Ann Shirley, born in 1951; Lee Marion (1953) and Peter Hamilton Colgate (1954).

2. George Henry Hickmott (1901-80)

Born at Tampa in Western Australia in 1901, George was living at Fremantle and working as a saddler at the time of the 1925 election. As announced in The West Australian on 22 February 1929 he married a local girl, Ruth Manderson Pearce Davies (1905-99): 'HICKMOTT-DAVIES. On January 23, at St Alban's Church Highgate, by Rev. Archdeacon Hudleston, George Henry, eldest son of Mr and the late Mrs A. Hickmott, of 214 Park Street Subiaco, to Ruth Manderson, younger daughter of Mr and Mrs Cyrus Davies, of 93 Second Avenue Mt Lawley'. Cyrus' death notice indicates Ruth had five siblings: 'DAVIES. In loving memory of our dear husband and father. Cyrus. who died April 29 1946. Beloved husband of Ruth. fond father of Stella (deceased), Charles. Edna. Ruth, Aubrey and Jim: father-in-law of Chappie Menagh and George Hickmott and Violet Davies. Dear Dadda of Cyrus. Stells and Norma Menaegh Marion and Edna Davies and Ruth Alice Hickmott' (The West Australian, Tuesday 29 April 1947).

The Australian electoral rolls show that after their marriage George, who now worked for the Western Australian railways, and Ruth lived at 76 Second Avenue in the Perth suburb of Maylands until at least the 1980s. The 1963 roll has a Ruth Alice Hickmott, secretary, also living at 76 Second Avenue. The WA Metropolitan Cemeteries' Board website records that both George and his wife Ruth died at Mount Lawley in Western Australia, he in 1980 and she, aged 94 years, in 1999. George and Ruth had at least one child we are aware of, Ruth Alice Hickmott who was born in Perth on 2 May 1942. The Western Australia Marriage Index contained on the'findmypast' website tells us she married Raymond Donald Yates in Perth in 1963. The Australian electoral rolls show that Ruth and Raymond, who worked as a fitter, lived in the Perth suburb of Dianella until at least the 1980s. The Perth Metropolitan Cemeteries index tells us a Raymond Donald Yates of Dianella died in 1998 aged 59 years. He was cremated at the Karakatta cemetery and is memorialised in the cemetery's gardens.

george henry hickmott

Sent to us by Travis Yates, this photo is of George and Ruth Hickmott nee Davies and their daughter Ruth Alice Hickmott.

ruth alice hickmott

Also sent to us by Travis Yates, this photo is of his parents, Raymond Donald Yates and Ruth Alice Hickmott,
around the time of their wedding at Highgate in Perth in 1963.

3. Annie Louisa Hickmott (1903-93)

Born at Kookynie in Western Australia in 1903, Louisa married Robert Charles Roy (1903-68) in Perth in 1926. Robert was born at Mannum on the Murray River in South Australia. His parents were James Watt Roy (1868-1940) and Bertha Alvina or Alwine Kuhn (1878-1950) who were married at Wellington in South Australia in 1901 and divorced in 1930. The Australian electoral rolls show that Louisa and Robert moved to Melbourne sometime after their marriage. They were living at Preston in 1937 and Footscray in 1940 when Robert enlisted in the 2nd AIF at Caulfield. He served as a private soldier in the 2/9 Field Ambulance and was discharged in August 1942. They continued to live in Melbourne after the war initially in Richmond, then Hawthorn and then in Kew (during this time Robert worked as a newsagent and shopkeeper). In the 1960s they returned to Hawthorn where Robert died in 1968. He was cremated at the Springvale Botanical Cemetery and is commemorated on their Banksia Wall (AB/60). Louisa continued to live for a time in Melbourne before returning to Western Australia where she died, aged 90 years, at Nedlands on 9 September 1993. She was cremated and her ashes dispersed at Karrakatta Cemetery. We don't think she and Robert had any children although that has not been confirmed.

4. Christina May Hickmott (1905-95).

Born at Kookynie, Christina moved to Melbourne sometime before 1933 when she married Bruce Ray Overbeck (1914-1967). Bruce was born in the Melbourne suburb of Prahran, the son of Charles Augustus Overbeck (1973-1953) and Caroline Sophie Louise Helena Hoffmann (1888-1976), who were married at Toowoomba in Queensland in 1910 and had at least two other children in addition to Bruce. The Australian electoral rolls show a Christina May Overbeck, waitress, living at 7 Porter Street in Prahran in 1934, 1935 and 1936 (when she and Bruce were also registered at his parents' residence at 20 Porter Street Prahran). They were both still at 20 Porter Street in 1937. The Department of Veterans Affairs' website shows VX53597 Signalman Bruce Ray Overbeck enlisted in the Australian Army at Royal Park in Melbourne on 18 April 1941. He was then living in the Melbourne suburb of Windsor and gave as his NOK Charles Overbeck. He was discharged on 20 February 1946 while serving with the 2/12 Field Regiment. By this time he and Christina were divorced and living apart. The 1949 electoral roll shows Christina at 178 Victoria Parade in Melbourne while Bruce was at Bondi in Sydney where he was working as a baker. He remained in Sydney until his death there in 1967.

The Victorian index of BDMs shows that Christina married Mervyn George Fleischer in Victoria in 1952. Born in 1916, Mervyn was the son of George Charles and Eliza Fleischer nee Rosendale. After their marriage he and Christina lived in Melbourne until Mervyn's sudden death there in 1981 (Christina's nephew, Travis Yates, tells us he died of a heart attack at a Melbourne shopping centre while 'Aunty Tinie' was waiting for him in the car park). He was cremated at the Springvale Botanical Cemetery. Travis adds that Christina then moved back to Perth and lived with her sister Janet until Janet's death in 1993. The Perth Metropolitan Cemeteries Board website shows that Christina died, aged 90 years, at Nedlands on 13 January 1995. She was cremated at the Karrakatta Cemetery where her 'ashes were scattered to the winds'. Travis tells us Christina had no children.

5. Janet Harriet Hickmott (1907-93).

Born in 1907 Janet was living with her father and was employed as a factory worker at the time of the 1931 election. Two years later she married a tobacconist, and sometime s p bookie, Thomas Higgins (1904-80). Thomas was the son of Ballarat-born Robert Colquhuon Higgins (1867-1939) and Elizabeth Harwood (1870-1959) who were married in the inner Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy in 1889 and later moved to Perth. The Australian electoral rolls show that Thomas and Janet lived in Perth all their married lives. He died in the suburb of Bayswater in 1980, she in Maylands in 1993. Both are buried in the Higgins family plot in the Karrakatta Cemetery in Perth. We don't know if they had any children.

6. Alfred David Hickmott (1909-78).

Alfred was born in 1909 and married Oriel Ethel Walkington (1912-88) on 22 September 1934 at St George's Cathedral in Perth. Oriel was said in the newspaper announcement of the wedding to be the twin daughter of Mrs Alma Whitewood of Aberdeen Street Perth. The 'Walkington Family Tree' on the internet states that Oriel was born at Manly in NSW on 1 July 1912, the daughter of Arthur Ernest Walkington (1878-1912) and Susan Alma McCaffrey. It adds that she had three siblings: Audrey, Raymond and Thurley Margaret Walkington. Oriel's brother, Raymond (who was born as Cairns Raymond Walkington) was killed in an accident in Egypt during the Second World War. Born at Cairns in 1908, he enlisted at Claremont in WA on 10 August 1940 and died on 14 May 1941 while serving as a signalman with the 7 Div Signals Company. He is buried in the El Alamein War Cemetery. An article in Perth's Daily News tells us Raymond 'was educated at Perth Boys' School . . . [and] for the two years before enlisting, helped his mother . . . in business at Margaret River. He was not married and his main hobby was fishing'.

After their marriage the couple lived initially at Kalgoorlie where they had two children we are aware of: Maureen Thurley Hickmott (1935-37) and Keith Alfred Arthur Hickmott (born in 1937). Alfred, or 'Alf' as he was called, was then working as a commercial traveller. The Second World War nominal roll shows WX21512 LCpl Alfred David Hickmott, who was born at Merridin in Western Australia on 16 October 1908, enlisted in the Army at Claremont on 8 April 1942. His NOK was Oriel Hickmott. He was discharged from the Army on 6 September 1945 while serving with 6 Aust Inf TPS Wksp. The electoral rolls have them registered as living at Kalgoorlie in 1949, Wembley near Leederville in 1954, Boddington in 1958, Nollamara in 1963 and 1968 and then Mandurah. During this time Alfred worked as a traveller, storekeeper and salesman. The Perth Metropolitan Cemeteries Board shows that Alfred died at Mandurah in 1978 and Oriel in 1988. They are buried in the family grave in the Wesleyan section of Karrakatta Cemetery along with their son, Keith, who died in Greenwich in NSW in 1963.

Image sources:
'Annie Foley nursing Mabel Toms', taken from the 'Johnson Family Tree' on Ancestry.

Hickmott family Rootsweb site Henry Edward Hickmott and Elizabeth Owen in Western Australia
Henry Hickmott and Harriet Waters Samuel Hickmott

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