Robert Hichens


Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Good stuff, Phil!

Sounds like you're into the final chapters of the epic journey. I'm looking forward to the resulting research paper.

~ Inger
 

Phillip Gowan

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Apr 10, 2001
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Thanks Beverly. I assure you this one is exciting for me too. I'll hopefully get enough information in the next month to prepare an article on the old guy and his descendants and maybe the ADB will see fit to publish it for me. Brian Meister and I are planning to take the Hichens granddaughter to dinner next week--also, she asked me yesterday to call her back at 2:30 today (my time) and that would give her time to "get some things together." Needless to say, I'm watching the clock!

Phil
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Great job Phil! I'm looking forward to reading the results.

Best regards,

Jason
happy.gif
 
Dec 2, 2000
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This is wonderful news Phil!

We have our X-files and you have your Phil-files. It was great to meet you. And I am looking forward to seeing the results as well.

Maureen.
 

Phillip Gowan

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Have had a couple of private requests wanting to know what I found out from Hichens' granddaughter. So here's a small update. Brian Meister and I got to meet with her extensively and got to visit the family cemetery in the Southampton area. The bad news is that his granddaughter never met him and doesn't have a date of death for him. The good news is that we did get an approximate date of death--and maybe more importantly we know where he died. Brenda gave me some good insight into the lives of all the Hichens children and I have the names and present residences of several of her first cousins who I will be contacting. This will take a bit longer as my plan now is to contact all the living first-generation cousins and try to put together a mosaic of the information they can offer. This was not a close family and Brenda has not been in touch with many of them since her Uncle Bob Hichens died (he was the amputee). Bob left his estate to Brenda's mother but as she had predeceased him, Brenda and her sister came in for his estate. Some of the other branches of the family only came around when they needed to borrow money and she isn't sorry they lost touch. But who knows--if I can track them all down, Brenda said she would arrange a family reunion (and that would be a great excuse for me to take another trip to England :)). Maybe later in the year I will have gathered enough definitive information to put together a good article for the Atlantic Daily Bulletin on the Hichens clan. Again, stay tuned. This one isn't easy to put together, but I can say that more pieces now fit the puzzle than those that are still missing.

It was fun to watch Brenda surfing through the convention crowd at the Hilton--I heard her tell Millvina that "my grandfather was the one who steered Titanic into the iceberg." Eighty-nine years do make a difference in perception! :)
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
Should be interesting to see where this all leads. It strikes me as rather odd that Hichen's should become so obscure that there isn't even a death certificate on file somewhere. I'll be looking forward to whatever this research produces.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Dec 12, 1999
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Phil,

I'm very curious (though I hate to dig up old wounds and battles)-- has your research been able to shed any light on this postulation that Hichens got some sort of cush job in connection with keeping his mouth shut about the Titanic? You don't have to say what you've found out yet, but I'd be very interested to know if there may be any factual basis for that.
 

Phillip Gowan

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Hi Jan,
Believe me I asked the question--but Brenda knows nothing about a Cape Town connection. I will pose the same question to the other descendants as I find them. By the way, Cape Town is not where he died and so far I haven't found anything to indicate he was there.

Phil
 
G

Graham Pickles

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congradulations Mr Gowen.
I whish you luck in your forthcoming battles in the never ending saga of Hichens.

I will now bow out as only a pawn in this game and let the king carry on as always.

Good evening to one and all
graham
 
Sep 20, 2000
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"Immediately prior to Titanic he worked on the troop ship Dongola sailing back and forth to Bombay, India" (Robert Hichins' ET Biography) -- an extremely misleading bit of wording?

From the description below -- extracted from The ShipsList.com -- it seems pretty likely that Hichens did *not* work on the TROOPSHIP Dongola prior to his service on Titanic, because it doesn't appear to have actually been made a troopship until the Great War! (Dongola was only completed in 1905, a year before her sister.)

I could be wrong. But if NOT, Hichens actually worked on a passenger liner ("... accommodation for 160-1st and 80-2nd class passengers"), at least nominally:

"DEVANHA 1906 was built in 1905-6 by Caird & Co, Greenock for Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co (P&O Line). She was a 8,092 gross ton ship, length 470ft x beam 56.5ft, one funnel, two masts, twin screw and a speed of 15 knots. There was accommodation for 160-1st and 80-2nd class passengers. Newly registered on 31st Jan.1906, she was placed on the UK to India and the Far East intermediate service. Used as a troop and hospital ship in the Great War, she landed the 12th Australian Battalion at Anzac Beach, Gallipoli, and remained there as a hospital ship with her sister ship DONGOLA. She was the last vessel to leave the beach area. On Apr.5th 1916 she picked up survivors fom the torpedoed British India Line ship CHANTALA and landed them at Malta. From 1919 she returned to the Far East run with occasional voyages to Australia, and in March 1928 was sold for scrap and broken up in Japan.
(Merchant Fleets by Duncan Haws, vol.1, P&O, Orient and Blue Anchor Lines)"

Better to say it later *became* a troopship than imply that Hichens only worked on mail and "human cattle" boats.

Cheers!
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Hi, all!

I've just had the distinct privilege of previewing a copy of Phil Gowan's upcoming biographical article about Robert Hichens. Oh man! Wonderful stuff! Phil's article is absolute dynamite and is an example of original Titanic research at its very finest.

Phil intends to debut his most important articles (like the Hichens article) in the Atlantic Daily Bulletin, so I urge everyone here who is not already a member of the British Titanic Society to immediately join up; serious researchers cannot afford to *not* be BTS members -- especially when the best work of researchers like Phil Gowan, Geoff Whitfield and so many other folks appears in the ADB on a regular basis.

Congratulations on a fine article, Phil!!

All my best,

George
 

Kyrila Scully

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Apr 15, 2001
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Hey, Geoff! If you're listening, I still haven't received my LAST issue of the Atlantic Daily Bulletin, which was supposed to be my first. George's post above just reminded me that I hadn't told you about it yet.

Kyrila
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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I've just re-read the entry for Mertha Mulvihill in "The Irish Aboard Titanic", and she mentions that sailor that she got to know, called Robert Hickens of Southampton calmed her down when she became hysterical; he led her by the arm, presumably to safely.
There was no Hickens on board, so she must refer to Hichens. However, this doesn't sound like the hysterical head of lifeboat 6 to me....

Any comments/discussion anyone?

Cheers

Paul

 

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