The information displayed here is at the time of death.
Thomas Minks was born in 1889 to Robert and Elizabeth Minks of Medomsley, one of seven children. He trained as a teacher at St Bede College from September 1907 to July 1909, and then worked as a schoolmaster in Rowlands Gill in a County Education Authority school. His Short Service Attestation form, completed upon his entering the regular army on 21 September 1914, aged 25, notes that he already had two years of service in the Durham Light Infantry 8th Battalion Territorial Force; he was then transferred from this unit to the 18th Battalion (the ‘Durham Pals’). The 18th was sent to form part of the garrison of Hartlepool, where it became the first of the New Armies to come under fire, but from the German Imperial Navy – the Kaiserliche Marine – rather than its ground forces. The German raids on Hartlepool, Whitby and Scarborough occurred on 16 December 1914. In addition to causing significant destruction of housing and infrastructure in Hartlepool, the 40-minute bombardment killed 86 civilians and injured 424, while 7 soldiers were killed and 14 injured. Minks died the following day of wounds he received during the bombardment, and is buried in the churchyard of St Patrick's Church near High Spen, Tyne and Wear. His sacrifice is recorded in memorials at Shire Hall (for Durham County staff members), and at St Bede College.
Born at Medomsley, Co. Durham
Employed at: Melbourne House, Rowlands Gill, Co. Durham
Served at Hartlepool
Winlaton (St Patrick) Churchyard and Hookergate Cemetery, Co. Durham, England
Durham County Hall war memorial
Bede College 1914-1918 Cross, Plaque, and Roll of Honour
The illustration, a 1915 oil painting by James Clark (1858-1943), is entitled ‘The Bombardment of the Hartlepools’: the work is in the collections of Hartlepool Museums and Heritage Service, and is reproduced with their kind permission A fuller biography of Thomas Minks is published by Durham County Council.
Tim Brown; David Butler; Joyce Malcolm
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