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Memorable Manitobans: Cecil Charles David Hinks (1915-1942)

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Cecil Charles David Hinks
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Freshwater biologist.

Born at Selkirk on 16 January 1915, son of English immigrants Arthur Evett John Hinks (1891-1917) and Lillian Hope Caney (1891-1969), he attended the University of Manitoba, where he specialized in the study of fresh water and its associated plants and animals. His studies were interrupted in 1933-1934 by financial difficulties and illness contracted when he travelled to England in search of work.

After completing his studies, he was hired by the Fisheries Branch of the Manitoba Department of Mines and Natural Resources in May 1937, and given the task of carrying out biological surveys of a large number of Manitoba lakes, many for the first time. Over the course of the next two years, he prepared a series of reports for the provincial government, including ones on goldeye in Fisher Bay (May 1937), whitefish in Lake Winnipeg (Summer 1937), Gull Lake (August 1937), experiments at the Dauphin River Hatchery (October 1937), Lake Manitoba (Winter 1937-1938), experiments at the Egg and Flow Hatchery (May 1938), whitefish rearing experiments (June 1938), northern lakes (July 1938), speckled trout (August 1938), Killarney Lake (September 1938), goldeye (1938), and whitefish tagging (1938).

In 1939, he began to prepare a comprehensive report on the fish species occurring in Manitoba, with advice from Professor J. R. Dymond (Royal Ontario Museum of Zoology, Toronto), Ferris Neave (Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo, BC, formerly of the University of Manitoba), Robert A. Wardle (University of Manitoba), and James A. McLeod (University of Manitoba). By early 1940, a manuscript for The Fishes of Manitoba was nearly completed. In July 1940, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and trained as a navigator and observer. On 18 January 1941, before leaving for the European theatre of the Second World War, he married Elizabeth Adair “Betty” McKay (?-2000, daughter of Brice Annan Miller McKay, later remarried to Malcolm A. McNish) and they had a son, David Hinks, who he would never see.

His bomber was shot down over Hamburg, Germany on 28 July 1942 and his remains were buried in the Ohlsdorf Cemetery in Hamburg. In March 1943, The Fishes of Manitoba was published posthumously, and it became the definitive guide to Manitoba’s fish for the next several decades. He is commemorated by Hinks Lake in northern Manitoba and on Honour Rolls at St. James United Church and the University of Winnipeg.


“Hinks-McKay bridal held at evening,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 February 1941, page 9.

“Wedding solemnized at bride’s home,” Winnipeg Tribune, 29 October 1945, page 10.

Obituary [Lillian Hope Hinks], Winnipeg Free Press, 9 December 1969, page 38.

Obituary [Elizabeth A. McNish], Winnipeg Free Press, 22 June 2000, page 39.

We thank David Hinks and John Perrin for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 3 September 2021

Memorable Manitobans

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