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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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Battles and Dynasties

Battles and Dynasties

27 May - 3 September 2017

Battles and Dynasties explores the conflict for the crown from Domesday to present day through fascinating documents, paintings and artefacts each fundamental to our local and national heritage. The Exhibition runs from 27 May to 3 September 2017 at the Collection Museum.

It's an unmissable opportunity to see significant pieces on our doorstep here in Lincolnshire, including major objects and paintings that are rarely shown outside of London and some things from private collections that are never on display. Read more about the exhibition here


As part of the Battles and Dynasties the Domesday Book, the country's earliest surviving public record will be on show at Lincoln Castle this summer.

This is a rare and unmissable opportunity to see Domesday on display, in a castle built by the same king that ordered the document. The iconic document will be on display in the David P J Ross Magna Carta Vault. Read more about Domesday at Lincoln Castle here

This exhibition has been made possible as a result of the Government Indemnity Scheme. Lincolnshire County Council would like to thank HM Government for providing Government Indemnity and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for arranging the indemnity.

Battles and Dynasties has been brought together by Lincolnshire County Council and Lord Cormack in partnership with the Historic Lincoln Trust, The National Archives and the British Library.


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Last updated: 1 May 2014

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