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Thankful Villages

in Lincolnshire

In the 1930s Arthur Mee wrote a series of guides to Britain called The King’s England, whilst researching for this work he realised that there were very few communities that had not suffered military fatalities in the First World War. He coined the term ‘Thankful villages’ to describe them.

Over a million British lives were lost in the 1914-18 war which amounted to about 2% of the population. Some communities suffered more casualties than others; in the patriotic fervour of 1914, work colleagues, football teams and men from the same village all volunteered, served and died as ‘pals’ together in the same battalions. It appears that there are no thankful villages at all in Scotland or Ireland. In England and Wales 52 villages have been counted as ‘thankful from the First World War and only fourteen are doubly thankful; having no casualties from the Second World War either.

Not all communities opted to have a monument as their war memorial, some chose amenities such as parks, halls, or hospitals. Others opted for a church artefact such as a pulpit or lectern, and many churches host plaques and rolls of honour. Occasionally a war sacrifice is not commemorated because the family was unwilling to accept that their son, listed as missing, was in fact dead. In some cases the only evidence is a family gravestone which remembers a lost son when the parent died. Other very small communities may have chosen to share a memorial.

In Lincolnshire it is thought that there are four thankful villages Flixborough, High Toynton, Bigby and Minting. Of those four, both Flixborough and High Toynton are counted as doubly thankful.

However, the effects of the First World War were so far reaching that even the smallest communities could hardly escape without some connection to the tragedies that visited so many families. Minting sent 10 men to war in the First World War, all of whom returned and in the Second World War there was one casualty Private Raymond Camp (died 1943). There was a soldier who had a Minting connection. Private Alfred Bushell 13th Btn. Yorkshire Regiment (29267)who was killed in action on 15th August 1916. His parents lived at Ranby and he was born at Brough on Bain but according to his obituary he worked for the waggonner Mr G Bell of Minting. He is remembered on the Arras memorial and the Horncastle memorials.

For Bigby, Private Hubert Cox (1391) 1st Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment was born in Bigby and killed in action at West Vlaanderen, Belgium in October 1917, but he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial and in Barnetby because his parents lived there.

In Flixborough - Charles Arrand a civilian was killed at Nitrogen Fertilizers Co. He was a Home Guard killed as a result of enemy action in 1941. He is commemorated on the Burringham war memorial.

Private Charles Baker of the 7th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment (202101) was killed in action and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial and the Friskney Roll of Honour, but he was born in High Toynton, his parents then moved to Boston. Private Joseph Frederick Coote (5281) of the Ist Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment was born at Toynton All Saints, and worked in Wainfleet, but his parents lived at High Toynton. He is commemorated at Bercodel Becourt and Wainfleet.

This brief survey shows that even those communities who are listed as thankful were not untouched by the tragedies resulting from conflict. It must also be remembered that those that returned were often mentally and physically scarred by the traumas they experienced.

(This article was prepared using research provided by Charles Anderson)

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Look Out For


OPEM exhibition at The Collection

28 January - 2 May 2017

Exhibition Opening Times: 10:00am - 4:00pm


OPEM 4 is the fourth biennial open exhibition hosted by The Collection and Usher Gallery, and will showcase the work of local and regional artists who were chosen by a pair of industry experts (writer/curator Elinor Morgan and artist Brian Griffiths) based on the quality and originality of their work. Hundreds of artists from around Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire and more entered into the competition, hoping to have their work featured centre-stage at a professional art exhibition.


The winning artists are:

• Reece Straw

• Jake Kent

• Stephanie Douet

• Jake Moore

• Selina Mosinski

• Matthew Chesney

• Ellen Brady

• Colette Griffin


This will be the first time some of these artists have exhibited with a professional institution. By winning the competition these artists will each receive money and supplies to fund the creation of an all-new original piece of work for this particular show. Other prizes include a £3000 purchasing/commissioning prize which has been sponsored by the Heslam Trust, while another artist will receive their own solo exhibition in The Usher Gallery.


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Last updated: 1 May 2014

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