Harry Wilfred MINNS (1894–1917)
Harry Wilfred Minns was born in Abingdon on 4 May 1894, the son of Peter William Minns and Jemima Jane Williams, known as Jane. His parents were married in Christ Church, Banbury on 11 March 1894 and had seven children:
- Harry Wilfred Minns (born in Abingdon on 4 May 1894)
- Frank Minns (born in Wootton on 26 July 1897)
- Jack Minns (born in Wootton in 1900, registered third quarter)
- William Minns (born in Wootton in 1902, registered second quarter)
- Dorothy Minns (born in Wootton on 8 November 1905 and baptised at St Peter’s Church on 11 February 1906)
- Elizabeth Vera Minns (born in Wootton on 28 August 1908 and baptised at St Peter’s Church on 22 November 1908)
- Albert George Minns (born in Wootton on 20 October 1912 and baptised at St Peter’s Church on 22 December 1912).
Harry’s father was a shoeing and general smith at Wootton, probably working at first with his own father, the blacksmith Thomas Minns. The family can be seen in Wootton at the time of the 1901 census, when Harry was six years old.
The family was still living at Wootton at the time of the 1911 census; but Harry himself was living at Grimsbury near Banbury with his mother’s unmarried brother and sister, Elizabeth Williams (44) and Joseph Williams (42): he was now aged 16 and working as a printer. His residence however was given as Wootton when he enlisted for the army at Oxford.
In the First World War Harry Wilfred Minns served as a Private in “D” Company, 5th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 202132). He was wounded in August 1916, but went back to fight again and was killed in action in France on 3 May 1917 at the age of 22.
He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Arras Memorial and the war memorial outside St Peter’s Church at Wootton.
Harry Wilfred Minns’s parents
- Peter William Minns was born in Wootton in 1865 (registered third quarter) and baptised at St Peter’s Church on 15 October 1865), and was a blacksmith in Wootton before his marriage. He died in Wootton on 24 March 1950 at the age of 84 and was buried at St Peter’s churchyard.
- (Jemima) Jane Williams (Mrs Peter William Minns) was born in Banbury in June 1869, the daughter of John Williams (a baker) and his wife Alice of Middle Cherwell, and was baptised at Christ Church, Banbury on 6 July 1870. She was living at South Street, Grimsbury at the time of her marriage. She died in Wootton on 31 October 1962 at the age of 93 and was buried with her husband. She was living at 20 Hawkins Way, Lamborough Hill at the time of her death.
- Frank Minns and his wife Mary lived at Besselsleigh Road in Wootton. Frank died on 22 August 1973 at the age of 76, and Mary on 12 August 1985 at the age of 87, and they are both buried at St Peter’s churchyard.
- Jack Minns died in Oxford at the age of 60 near the beginning of 1961.
- William Minns married Pearl Primrose Sims in 1925 and they had one son, Wilfred Minns, born 1931. William died in Oxford at the age of 86 on 3 August 1988.
- Dorothy Minns never married. She died in Oxford at the age of 92 on 1 March 1998.
- Elizabeth Vera Minns married Frederick C. Thornhill in the Abingdon registration district in the third quarter of 1933.
- Albert George Minns married Christine Avis Langsbury at Sandford-on-Thames church on 23 December 1939. Their sons, Michael P. Minns born in 1941 and Patrick J Minns born in 1943, own the Cornerhouse Garage (now the Harley Davidson Dealership) in Wootton which they ran themselves for 38 years. Albert and Christine Minns lived finally at 2 Wootton Village: Albert died at the age of 85 on 6 August 1998 and Christine on 19 November 1999: they are buried at St Peter’s churchyard.
- CWGC: Minns, Harry Wilfred
- Oxford Journal Illustrated photographs in the “Heroes of the War” section: 30 August 1916, “Pte H. W. MINNS, Wootton, Berks, Oxf. and Bucks Lt. Infy.—Wounded” and 6 March 1918, p. 6: “Pte H. W. MINNS, OBLI, Wootton, Berks—Killed” (both shown above with kind permission of Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire History Centre)
- Wikipedia: Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
- War Memorial to the soldiers of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry at Rose Hill, Oxford