Allan Minns was born in Thetford in 1891 and brought up in the town: in 1904, his father, Allan Glaisyer Minns (who had been born in the Bahamas) became mayor there, the first black and minority ethnic person to become mayor of any town in England. Allan junior went to Thetford Grammar School, winning a Junior Science Scholarship. His father and his uncle had both been doctors in Thetford, and Allan also became a doctor. He served for six years in the Royal Army Medical Corps, gaining the Military Cross for his bravery at Gallipoli in 1916. The official citation refers to:
His gallantry and devotion … when attending to the wounded under heavy shrapnel fire. Another officer who was assisting him was killed. Lieutenant Minns later returned to the dressing station, took out 12 stretcher squads and bought in 24 wounded men.
Allan went on to win the Distinguished Service Order later in the same year.
Allan survived the war with only slight wounds, but was killed in a car crash near Newmarket in 1921: he was thirty years old. He is buried in Thetford.