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1st Battalion Rhodesian Light Infantry Regimental Association ®




Dear Member / Friend

Lieutenant-General John Selwyn Varcoe Hickman MC MFC OLM CLM Served as Commanding Officer, the Rhodesian Light Infantry from 26 August 1968 to 28 June 1970 Born on 18th October 1931. Died 28th October 2011.

Born 18 October 1931 in the Police Camp, Bulawayo, eldest son of the late Col A.S. Hickman, MBE., QPM formerly Commissioner of the British South Africa Police and Mrs Mary Hickman. John was educated at St Georges College, Salisbury. He attested into the Southern Rhodesia Staff Corps on 7 Feb 1951. John passed out in first place on Assessment Course 2/51, promoted to corporal on 21 Dec 1951.

He was promoted Sgt on 25 Nov 1952.Appointed to Commissioned Rank as 2 Lt on 22 Apr 1954. Posted to 1st Battalion the Northern Rhodesia Regiment on 12 May 1954.Emplaned with the Advanced Party to Malaya on 24 Aug 1954..The primary roll was to spend time in the jungle on operations with 2nd Battalion The Kings African Rifles, then attend the course at the Far East Training Centre before training the Battalion in jungle warfare on their arrival by ship in Oct 1954.Thereafter, served as a Platoon Commanded of 8 Platoon, A Company. Three successful contacts led to the Award of the Military Cross for Gallantry and Distinguished Service between 1 Jul - 31 Oct 1955.John spent the last two months as Battalion IO Struck off strength Far East Land Forces on 8 Apr 1956. On return to Lusaka appointed Battalion Adjutant. Then he was posted to Central Africa Command Training School, Gwelo on 3 Mar1958 as Adjutant and also served as Instructor Officer Cadets Wing and OC Regimental Wing. Promoted Capt on 28 Jul 1958.Attended Victory Parade in Malaya as OIC Colour Party of the Army of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.16 Jul - 13 Aug 1960 Posted to 1NRR as a Company Commander on 1 Mar 1961.Posted to HQ 2 Bde as DAA&QMG on1 Mar 1962.Promoted Maj on 15 Sep 1962.Attended British Army Staff College, Camberley, Surrey, England for the year 1963.Awarded emblem Passed Staff College {psc}.Posted to Army HQ of the Southern Rhodesia Army as GSO2{Ops & SD] on31 Jan 1964.Amongst many duties responsible for the co-ordination and production of the new Joint Services Counter Insurgency Warfare Manuel and for the new establishment of the 1st Battalion The Rhodesian Light Infantry converting from basic infantry to a commando unit. Posted to 1RLI as 2IC.on 1 Dec 1966.Appointe A/Lt Col and CO 1RLI on 23 Aug 1968.Promoted to Lt Col on 6 Oct 1968 Commanded the Army element for the Joint Operational Committees.{JOC s} for Operations Isotope, Cauldron {at Forward Tactical HQ}, Griffin and the start of Excess as 2IC 1RLI and the latter part of Operations Excess, Birch and Pluto as CO 1 RLI and also led a number of clandestine operations in the Tete Province of Mozambique in support of Portuguese Forces. John was then posted to Army HQ as Adjutant General on 1 Jul 1970.Appointed A/Col and Col G on 2 Jan 1972. Appointed A/Comd 2 Bde on 10 Sep 1972. Assumed Comd of 2 Bde on 15 Oct 1972 Promoted to Brig on 9 Dec 1972.Shortly after the start of Operation Hurricane deployed Tactical HQ 2 Bde into the field at Centenary. Later he redeployed to Bindura. Appointed Comd 1 Bde on 7 May 1974.Posted to Army HQ on 26 Jan 1975 and appointed Chief of Staff. Promoted to Maj Gen on 26 Jan 1974.On creation of Combined Operations HQ and the appointment of Lt Gen. Walls as Comd ComOps, John was promoted to Lt. Gen and appointed Commander Rhodesian Army on 14 May 1977.

General Hickman retired on 7 Mar 1979.Thereafter, served four years with Shell and BP, Rhodesia, as General Manager of a subsidiary engineering company then purchased and operated a Swimming Pool & Outdoor Living Company for some 22 years and in 1984 purchased a small holding in Ruwa. He operated a horticultural business growing exotics such as proteas and kangaroo paws for export to Amsterdam and New York. John then "officially" retired in 2007.

Honours & Awards British GSM with clasp Malaya., Military Cross for gallant and distinguished service in Malaya during the period 1 July - 31 October 1955., Rhodesian GSM., Military Forces Commendation [Operational][cfm[ops]] on 20 July 1971.,Exemplary Service Medal on 17 March 1969 and Clasp on 17 March 1978.,Officer of the Legion of Merit on 11 November 1976.,Commander of the Legion of Merit on 11 November 1979.

General Hickman sadly passed away on the 28th October, 2011 in hospital after suffering kidney failure.

"The wall brings us together. The wall keeps us apart, a granite demarcation of our lives and of our hearts. It rises from the depths of dust and to the dust returns a focus of reflection for those who come to yearn.

At this wall of pained remembrance, we together stand alone Reflecting on the names of those etched deep within the stone Reflecting on what we've become from what we left behind, Memories etched in flesh and stone, forever intertwined.

Names set deep in granite are forever meant to last Reflections change and fade away in journeys to the past; Fleeting life and ageless death join at this sombre pall. And once more we are brothers as we gather at the wall."

(Brain Cowan)