On Sunday 13th October 1929, the Rev. Thomas Shanks, minister of Queen Street Arbroath Congregational Church, intimated to his congregation that he had agreed to accept the call to Blantyre Congregational Church.
Mr Shanks had been minister of the Congregational Church in Arbroath since 1924. Born in Airdrie in 1890, Mr Shanks’ early education was received at Airdrie Academy. On leaving school he entered the drapery trade, and for twelve years followed that occupation in Airdrie.
Thereafter he proceeded to Glasgow University, where his studies were interrupted by the outbreak the Great War. Enlisting as an infantryman in the Royal Scots, Mr Shanks commenced his training at Barry under that distinguished soldier, Sir Robert Cranston.
Later, Mr Shanks was transferred to the R.A.M.C., and with that corps saw service in North Russia. On his return from Russia after the war, he was demobilised, and resumed his studies with the Congregational College. While he was still pursuing his training there he received a call from the members of the Forres Congregational Church, and for three years he faithfully carried out the duties of the pastorate there. Mr Shanks was a member of a family of distinguished ministerial personages, being a nephew of the Rev. Thomas Shanks, B.D., Mallaig Presbyterian Church, and who was at one time Moderator of the South Australian Presbytery; and also a grand-nephew of the Rev. William Watt, who succeeded Mr John G. Paton, the famous New Hebrides missionary.
He commenced at Blantyre Congregational Church in November 1929 and was there into the 1930’s.