1914 - 2023

The Marston Lads

Click here to edit subtitle


Thomas Hinks

Killed in Action 
21st September 1916

Aged 20

1st & 5th Battalion
The Cheshire Regiment

5 Cross Street

Thomas Hinks was born in Marston and had lived in Cross Street since birth.

In 1911, aged 14 years, had left school and working as an office boy. His father was William, worked at the nearby Salt Works. Thomas's mother was Elizabeth. Thomas also had a younger brother Clifford, aged 12 years. 

Thomas volunteered for service and attested at Chester with The Cheshire Regiment 19th July 1915 at the tender age of 18 years.

Thomas had been in France for 14 months when the 'Battle of Flers' started. The Battle of Flers–Courcelette (15 to 22 September 1916) was fought during the Battle of the Somme in France by the French Sixth Army and the British Fourth Army and Reserve Army and against the German 1st Army during the First World War. The Anglo-French attack of 15 September began the third period of the Battle of the Somme but by its conclusion on 22 September, the strategic objective of a decisive victory had not been achieved.

The infliction of many casualties on the German front divisions and the capture of the villages of CourceletteMartinpuich and Flers had been a considerable tactical victory but the German defensive success on the British right flank, made exploitation and the use of cavalry impossible.

Thomas would have seen tanks for the first time on The Somme.
Tanks were used in battle for the first time in history and the Canadian Corps and the New Zealand Division fought for the first time on the Somme. On 16 September, Jagdstaffel 2, a specialist fighter squadron, began operations with five new Albatros D.I fighters, which were capable of challenging British air supremacy for the first time since the beginning of the battle.
On the 20th September 1916, just one day before the Battle of Flers came to an end, Thomas Hinks was killed in action. His body was recovered, and reading the war graves records, considerable effort was made to find him, clearly noted in the records. Was this due to his young age? Due to a promise often made by friends? Maybe both.

Thomas is buried at Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, France, which is the third-largest in the Somme battlefield area. This cemetery holds 5,523 burials from the First World War,  3,593 of the burials are unidentified, Thomas was one of 1916 burials that was identified.

But Thomas was not to rest totally at peace, the area he was buried was struck by shell fire and three burials were lost, one being Thomas. Despite efforts for the second time to locate Thomas and the other two bodies, none were found. Specially dedicated memorials are now in place within the cemetery.

Tony Hayes