Christopher Hickey was born on Christmas Eve 1891, in Wicklow, Southern Ireland. Full details of his early life are not available, but his mother was called Mary and he had at least one sibling, a sister called Catherine.
When he left school, he worked as a gardener but, when the war broke out, he enlisted, joining the Royal Navy on 5th November 1915. His enlistment records show that he stood 5ft 6ins (1.67m) tall, had brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion.
Stoker 2nd Class Hickey received his initial training at HMS Pembroke, the shore establishment at the Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent. In February 1916, he was assigned to HMS Champion, a cruiser that, during his time on board, served as a flagship during the Battle of Jutland that summer.
Christopher returned to HMS Pembroke in November 1916, having been promoted to Stoker 1st Class. He served there until the following March, when he was admitted to the local Naval hospital with pyaemia (or sepsis). Sadly, this proved too much for his body to take and he died on 20th March 1917 at the age of 25 years old.
Christopher’s body was laid to rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham, Kent, not far from the base at which he had served.
Interestingly, the Irish Memorial Records for the Great War confirm Christopher’s passing, but give the cause of death as ‘died of wounds’, although I have been unable to find anything else to corroborate this. It may be that sepsis set after he was wounded, but it is reasonable to assume that full details will remain lost to time.