Gregory Thornton Hicks

hms invincible cap tallyK10086(Po) Leading Stoker, HMS Invincible, drowned as result of enemy action, 31st May 1916, aged 25

Born 17th April 1891 in Ealand, Gregory was the eldest of eight children of William and Emily Jane Hicks (nee Thornton). The family lived at 17 Trent Terrace, where his father, from Thorne was a monumental stonemason. His mother from was Crowle.

Gregory joined the navy in the early 1900’s and was one of the inaugural crew of HMS Invincible. Built at Elswick at a cost of £1,767,515 HMS Invincible was an Invincible Class Battlecruiser, the first battlecruiser to be built anywhere in the world, and the pride of the Royal Navy when she was launched in March 1909. In 1914, she had participated in the Battle of Heligoland Bight, and in the South Atlantic with the hunt for the Admiral Graf Spee and the Battle of the Falkland Islands.

On 31st May 1916 HMS Invincible was the flagship of Vice-Admiral Hood, in command of the 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron, when sailing with the Grand Fleet they met the German Fleet at the Battle of Jutland. Engaging with the German battleships, SMS Derfflinger and SMS Lützow, she had already hit the Lützow so that the German ship was sinking, when one of the two enemy battleships fired a shell that hit Invincible directly in Q Turret Magazine. The shell penetrated the front the Q’ turret, blew off the roof and detonated the midships magazines in a huge explosion that blew debris four hundred feet into the air. The ship broke in half and sank in a matter of 10 or 15 seconds killing all but six of the crew.

Gregory Hicks was among the 1,026 men lost when HMS Invincible sank at Jutland. He is commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

HMS Invincible sinking at the Battle of Jutland

A huge explosion blows HMS Invincible apart at the Battle of Jutland