Paul Whicker

Bank: Union of London & Smiths Bank

Place of work: London Princes Street office

Died: 12 April 1918

 

Frederick Paul Whicker (known as Paul) was born in Sydenham on 2 May 1898, the son of Josiah Whicker, a banker, and his wife Maud. He was educated at Sydenham High School and St Dunstan's College, Catford, where he was a prefect, a corporal in the school's Officers Training Corps, and a boy scout.

 

After leaving school in 1914 Whicker went to work for his father's bank, Union of London & Smiths Bank, starting at its London Princes Street office. A keen sportsman, he also joined the bank's staff sports club.

 

In September 1915, still only 17 years old, Whicker left the bank to join the Inns of Court Officers Training Corps. He was commissioned into The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) in July 1916, and spent the next 16 months stationed in Winchester where, having been recognised as a good shot, he served as Musketry Officer. In November 1917 he was drafted to the Western Front. That Christmas Eve Whicker, a devout Roman Catholic, walked several miles through snow so that he could attend midnight mass.

 

Whicker was promoted to Lieutenant in January 1918. He was wounded and captured while leading his men at Aveluy Wood, north of Albert, on 5 April 1918 and died of severe head wounds in a German field hospital a week later, on 12 April 1918. He was 19 years old.

 

His Captain later wrote, 'We were all very sorry to lose Paul ... A more courageous boy I have not seen during over three years out here, and he would have gone very far in the Army had he been spared'. His orderly wrote, 'He was greatly loved by officers and men alike, and though he was young, the men would follow him anywhere.'

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