Pvt. David Clifford Hickey
Clifford Hickey Buried in
Hickey, of this city, has just received word that the body of his son,
Clifford David, who lost his life in the sinking of the transport Otranto, Oct.
6, 1918, off the Scottish coast, was recovered and buried along with a number
of his comrades in
Mr. Hickey had been unable to learn anything concerning the body of his son, until a few days ago, when he was informed that it was picked up shortly after the fatal accident.
Young Hickey was the first Sweetwater boy to make the supreme sacrifice, and was only 19 years of age. The father has not yet decided whether he will bring the body home, but states that he feels that he should rest beside his comrades who died with him.
Clifford Hickey Body Returned
been received by Mr. R.L. Hickey that the body of his son Clifford has
Hickey will be remembered as the first Sweetwater boy to lose his life in the
late war, having been drowned when the transport Otranto was sunk of the
Ben. F. Sands Writes of Clifford Hickey’s Death
Dear Mr. Hickey and Family:
Tonight, the same as almost every night, my thoughts turn backward and I think of home, my friends, and everything I left—gave up—in order to do what so many American sons did, to help with the war.
Now that it is over, we feel proud of what we have accomplished. We want to get home and take up the peaceful pursuits of happiness and contentment. In so doing there is going to be a little feeling down deep in our hearts we will always try to cover, to hide. Why? It is too sacred to speak, or write about. This is a longing for our comrades who went away—and never returned.
I suppose you think that I have acted very out of the ordinary in not writing you before about Clifford’s death. I never knew anything about it until about six weeks ago, and it was such a shock I was afraid to write then.
To write and speak of such occurrences is something that we seldom do over here. Some things you can express as well by mouth as by pen but the memory of a pal who has lot his life in this war is far beyond that.
How shall I continue this letter? I can’t realize that Clifford will not be there with his smile and word of cheer when I return. He was so jolly and had some good word every time I met him.
last time I saw him, I have carried a secret that I have divulged to no
living being—the last word he said to me.
It was as he was getting on the train at
God knows, Mr. Hickey, it is hard enough for me to write this letter, so if I make some of my sentences sound queer it is because I can’t find words to express my feelings.
After you carry a heavy pack along a muddy road all night long and see your comrades doing the same thing, almost ready to go to sleep while they walk—and I have spoken to more than one unconscious man on his feet—you begin to have a different feeling about friendship. You never speak of it—just think, that’s all.
My only regret is that your boy—my friend—did not die while going over the top instead of being caught in a trap, without a fighting chance.
Your golden star will shine in his memory, and its rays will be the light that guides you in on to the source of all comfort.
May God comfort you and bless you in all your days, for the son you gave for your country, is my prayer.
Can’t tell just when I am coming home, but hope to be there sometime in August.
Feeling fine, while attending the University at this place. Have no work to do at all.
Write when you can. Do hope you are all well.
Sgt. Ben F. Sands, Toulouse University, Toulouse, France, Co. A, Bar. 1
September 25th saw the Otranto leaving
Just after breakfast on Sunday morning 6 October 1918 there was a great
jarring and the ship trembled severely. The men on the Otranto were
instructed to remain calm and 15-20 minutes later were again instructed to
get on deck as quickly as possible. Once on deck the men were faced with very
strong winds. Strong enough that one had to hold on to something to keep from
being blown over. Soon the word was passed the another ship the
Researcher and Designer