The Story of An Unsung Hero Thomas Mearns
1929 - 1992
6 The Story of An Unsung Hero Man Husband Father Grandfather
Upon leaving school in 1943, Thomas worked as a Filleter of fish
on St. Andrews Dock for two years until the age of sixteen.
Second from left
At the age of sixteen he enrolled to The 1st Battalion, The
Border Regiment as
part of the National Service, under the command of officer I. M.
Back row, second from right
Man Husband Father Grandfather Friend 9
Army No: 21060456Rank: PTE
Surname: MearnsForename: ThomasD.O.B: 10/09/1929
Unit, Reg or Corps: 1st Bn, The Border Regiment
Place: East Africa
Trade on enlistment: Fisherman
Any person finding this book is requested to hand it in to any
Barracks, Post Office, or Police Station, for transmission to the
Under Secretary of State, The War Office, London, S.W.I.
During his national service in Eastern Africa, he worked as a
part of the security detail for intern prisoners.
Thomas has worked well and steadily with enthusiasm and has the
will to give his very best. He is honest and of average
intelligence, cheerful and is a strong worker.
- Lt. Col Comd. I. M. F. Preston. 1st Bn. The Border
12 The Story of An Unsung Hero Man Husband Father Grandfather
I have just scrubbed my webbing. You can see it in the
14 The Story of An Unsung Hero Man Husband Father Grandfather
Can you see the bunch of bananas?
16 The Story of An Unsung Hero Man Husband Father Grandfather
I love just sun bathing.
18 The Story of An Unsung Hero Man Husband Father Grandfather
Upon finishing his National Service, he f lew back home via
Dakota running with one engine.
20 The Story of An Unsung Hero Man Husband Father Grandfather
After an uneasy journey home, Thomas resumed work on the fish
docks along with his two friends, Len and Bert Giles. At the age of
twenty-five, Thomas accompanied his parents to the Hessle Grange
Club one evening. It was there that he
was introduced to Joan, the nineteen year old daughter of a
family acquaintance. From there on, the two of them were
inseparable as they travelled to various tourist destinations
across the country during a six year courtship.
22 The Story of An Unsung Hero Man Husband Father Grandfather
On March 3rd, 1962, Joan took his hand in marriage at All Saints
24 The Story of An Unsung Hero Man Husband Father Grandfather
December 9th, 1962, his daughter, Tracey Mearns was born.
One of my earliest memories of being with my Dad was every
Saturday afternoon we used to watch the wrestling on the TV
together. I was about seven or eight years of age. Mum used to make
me sandwiches for tea and Id sit watching the TV in the living room
with my Dad.
During the Summer holidays we would have days out at the seaside
with the whole family, usually Bridlington, with Aunts, Uncles,
Cousins and my Nanna and Grandad. We would spend the whole day on
the beach, taking a packed lunch with us, it was happy times.
Sometimes when the weather was warm and sunny my Dad would tie
the garden hose to the top of the porch on the front door so that
the water would spray down onto the garden and all the children who
lived up the road would play in our garden dancing in and around
the spray from the hose. We used to have a tent that my Dad put up
in the garden and my friends and I would play there for hours on
Most Fridays Dad would come home from work with some fish off
the dock where he worked, usually large Haddock fillets. We ate a
lot of fish back then, they were plentiful and we made the most of
We had an off license around the corner from our house and
sometimes my dad would let me and my friend take the empty bottles
back to the shop because in those days you got some pennies back on
your empties and with those pennies we would buy sweets.
Many times when my Dad was doing work on his car I would be in
there with him, and in my own way helping him. Id often just sit in
the driving seat and pretend I was driving somewhere. I loved the
thought of driving one day.
My Dad was a fairly active man, always pottering around at home
or in the garden when he wasnt working. He was very family
orientated. He relished his time at home and loved his TV and
armchair. The simple things in life pleased him.
Memoriesby Tracey Wharton
28 The Story of An Unsung Hero Man Husband Father Grandfather
Later in his career at St. Andrews Dock, Thomas went on to
become a Bobber. This involved him unloading baskets of fresh fish
which was delivered from the trawlers, upon their
arrival in Hull from the North Sea.
Due to Conservative government policies there was a decline of
the fishing industry. The St. Andrews Dock closed in 1975. A year
later, Thomas then gained employment at Capper Pass Smelting Works
in Melton. In 1988 he was forced into an early retirement due to
ill health after being
diagnosed with Angina.
It was from this point that his day to day life slowed down and
he relied heavily on his family and friends.
Upon receiving a triple bypass surgery due to his condition
worsening, Thomas body slowly started to deteriorate after the
operation. After two years of being on the waiting list for a heart
transplant, a suitable donor was found in February,
1992 and he was given a new heart.
While the heart transplant was a success and the new heart
worked healthily, the rest of his body continued to deteriorate.
One month later, on March 22nd, 1992, Thomas
Mearns, passed away aged sixty-two.
My Dad, Thomas Mearns was a quiet, modest, easy going man. I
him as being a warm, loving and caring father, a man of few
words. Growing up, my memories of him
are of fun and laughter, mixed with a strong sense of love for
his family and doing his very best to provide for us.
My Dad was my hero and although hes
been gone nearly twenty-one years there isnt a day goes by that
I dont think about him with fondness and
love, he will always be missed.
We didnt have a long time together but I had a loving husband
daughter, Tracey had a doting father.
My only regret is, that Luke never got to know a good person who
have been very proud of him.
34 The Story of An Unsung Hero
Thomas Mearns 1929 - 1992