WWI: Private John F. Hickey

On this day one hundred years ago, Private John Francis Hickey of Mill Lane was killed in an accident. He is one of only two WWI soldiers killed during wartime that is buried in St.Patrick’s Church Cemetery in Millstreet:

Deep regret was felt in Millstreet and locality when the sad news of the death under tragic circumstances of Private John F. Hickey, 2nd Royal Irish Regiment, at the Cork Railway Station, became known. The deceased joined the colours at the outbreak of the war, and had been on active service at the front, and was wounded on two occasions. The deceased was a general favourite in Millstreet, and his untimely end has evoked deep regret. At Christmas he was at home on leave for a few weeks, and was then in the best of health. On Tuesday a large and representative concourse of people assembled at the Millstreet Railway Station, awaiting the remains off the 2.50 train from Cork, and accompanied the remains to the family burial ground at Millstreet churchyard. Deep regret is extended to his family in their sad affliction. The prayers at the graveside were recited by the Rev. J. Breen, CC, Millstreet. A beautiful wreath from his comrades was placed on his grave. The chief mourners were: Mr. Timothy Hickey (brother), Mrs. Ellen Hickey, and Master Frank Hickey of Mill Lane.  (Cork Examiner 1/2/1918)

The headstone for John F. Hickey is the original headstone, placed there by the British Legion. The headstone is not in its original position as it was removed and cleaned to make way for a new headstone. John F. is in actual fact buried up at the front part of the grave. (see the comments below)

“The plaque (above) laid on his grave is a replica of a CWGC headstone, that has been placed on it by his descendants. It is similar to an official headstone.” – [Historic Graves] [Find a Grave]


John Francis was born at Mill Lane, Millstreet on November 22nd  1867 (baptised 24th Nov 1867 by C Scully) at Millstreet R.C Church. The Son of Francis Hickey (a shoemaker), and Mary Hickey (née O’Riordan).[civil registration]


Before the war in 1911, he was a shoemaker, living at home at Mill Lane with his mother and brother.

Please note (2017-01-27): A relative of Private Hickey has contacted us to say that he was not in fact killed at Glanmire Station as mentioned in his death register, but in an accident in Millstreet. we shall endeavour to verify this.

His Death Register reads:

1918 Twenty Sixth January at Military Road
John Hickey of Portobello Barracks Dublin
Male Bachelor about 40 years
Shock and Laceration of the brain the result of being run down by a railway engine accidentally at Glanmire Station.
Information received from James J McCabe Coroner for the Borough of Cork Inquest held 28.1.1918
J Sullivan, Assistant Registrar [original document]

He was actually aged 51, at the time of his death.


SOLDIER KILLED BY TRAIN:  Private J. Hickey, Royal Irish Regt., a native of Millstreet, Co. Cork, was accidentally killed by a goods train at the Glanmire Station, Cork, on Saturday night. Private Kidd, a comrade of his, who was with him at the time, was knocked down and suffered severe injuries. [Freeman’s Journal – Monday 28 January 1918]


Military Details

  • HICKEY JOHN F. 1918-01-26
  • Place of birth: Millstreet 22nd Nov 1867 (baptised 24th Nov 1867 by C Scully) Son of Francis and Mary (née O’Riordan). A brother of Timothy Hickey. A brother of Denis Hickey who also died in WWI
  • Rank: PRIVATE
  • Service No.: 2998
  • Mil. Unit: Royal Irish Regiment, Private, #2998, 2ND GARRISON BATT. / Royal Munster Fusiliers, Private, #5712
  • Commemoration –
  • Reference –
  • Date of death: Sat Jan 26 1918
  • Formally Royal Munster Fusiliers, No 5712. Born and Resided in Millstreet, brother of Timothy Hickey, died in Ireland, 20th January 1918, aged 51 Years, buried in Millstreet Churchyard, Co Cork, South East part, adjoining path. [2] [CWGC]
    He was accidentally killed by an evening goods train at Glamire Station. A Private Kidd who was with him received severe injuries but seems to have survived. [2]


His Family

* Francis Hickey 1835 – 14th December 1903
* Mary O’Riordan Hickey 1839 – 9th August 1917 [grave]

* Francis 6th April 1872 – ( ?  died as in infant)
* Timothy Hickey 18th March 187314th June 1946
* Denis Hickey 1875 – ? (1915 we think died in WWI)
* ++ TODO, complete sibling search

In the 1901 census, the Hickey family were living at Upper Mill Lane, Millstreet:
* Francis Hickey, aged 66, a Shoemaker, married, born in Co. Cork,
* Mary, his wife, aged 62, married, born in Co. Cork,
* Timothy, son, aged 27, a Shoemaker, single, born in Co. Cork,

Timothy (brother) married Ellen O’Connor, a dressmaker and daughter of Maurice O’Connor, a farmer, on November 15th 1902. Officiated by Rev Charles O’Sullivan, and in the presence of Julia Radley and Denis O’Connor, at Millstreet Church.

Master Frank Hickey (mentioned in the Examiner report above was John Francis’ nephew, the son of Timothy and Ellen, and was born on November 3rd 1903.

His father Francis  passed away on 14th December 1903

In the 1911 census, the Hickey family were living at Upper Mill Lane, Millstreet. John F. was back living with his mother and younger brother.

Present were,
Mary Hickey, aged 76, a Widow, born in Co. Cork,
John Hickey, son, aged 43, a Shoemaker, single, born in Co. Cork,
Denis Hickey, son, aged 36, a Shoemaker, single, born in Co. Cork,

In the 1911 census Timothy, his wife Ellie, and their now four children (Frank, Abbey, Molly, and Maurice) were living at #1 Mill Lane.

His Mother Mary passed away on August 9th 1917

Timothy and Ellen had another child Denis, born on November 6th 1913 (there may have been more children). Many would remember him as the last shoemaker on Mill Lane, affectionately known as “Den Tiger”, who passed away on May 3rd 1991.


Below: Military Graves Report [C.W.G.C]: There is a small wooden cross on this grave and on it in joined white letters the following:- “In memory of the Hickey family, Millstreet” which letters are almost obliterated. N/K: Mr T. Hickey, Mill Lane, Millstreet

The other man mentioned in this report is Captain Eugene John McSwiney, whom we featured a year ago on millstreet.ie.

Below: Roll of Individuals entitled to the Victory Medal and/or British War Medal granted under army Orders (1920)

Below is his Medals Rolls Index card [1]


We would be delighted if anyone would like to add to this article.

With thanks to Jean of @Cork1914to1924 for some help with this article

Some of my own ancestors are buried adjacent to this grave, but it was only a few years ago that I realised that someone from WWI was buried here.

2 thoughts on “WWI: Private John F. Hickey”

  1. The headstone for John F. Hickey is the original headstone, not a replica as stated in the article. The headstone is not in its original position as it was removed and cleaned to make way for a new headstone. John F. is in actual fact buried up at the front part of the grave.
    Sheila Hickey O’Leary

  2. My father’s family were Ted , Maurice, Frank, Abby, Molly, Gobnait, Sheila, Eileen & Denis. I’m not sure if there was one more or not.

    Sheila Hickey O’Leary

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.