Cheshire West and Chester Unitary Authority
|Death: ||May 13, 1943|
RECIPIENT OF THE DISTINGUISHED FLYING MEDAL
RECIPIENT OF DEFENSE AND WAR MEDALS
AIR CREW EUROPE STAR
1939 - 1945 STAR
Squadron 142: Joined 17, August 1942; left 18, September 1942
Squadron 156: Serving with at time of death
Squadron 160?: Some possibly incorrect paperwork to suggest with Squadron 160 briefly, but I have been unable to find any documentation of this
Squadron 156/Pathfinder's Force - The Warboys Motto: "WE LIGHT THE WAY"
UPDATE, 4, March 2015: I have now verified through Eddie's records on file with Forces War Records that Eddie was born in Cheshire...a family site has him born in Germany, but this has now been proven incorrect, and I think that it was a simple clerical error, listing his place of death as his birthplace.
UPDATE, OCTOBER 6th, 2014: I am so grateful to Tommy for the new photo that is possibly of Eddie - please click on the photo of the gentleman in full dress for thoughts and comments regarding this latest discovery. =)
UPDATE, September 16th, 2014: I received verification today that eighteen aircraft were sent out in the later hours of May 12th, 1943; beside Eddie's aircraft casualty, a second aircraft was reported a complete loss. Only 16 of the crafts, therefore, would return from this mission.
From official military correspondence and files:
“This NCO has carried out 34 operations against Germany, Italy and enemy occupied territory, 27 of which have been with this Squadron. Flight Sergeant Banks has displayed great efficiency as a bomb aimer and it is entirely due to his knowledge that he has brought back photographic evidence of his good work which has materially contributed to the success of many operations carried out by this crew. At all times he has displayed skill and courage to a high degree and devotion to duty in all his work”. Remarks by Station Commander – “This NCO has proved himself to be a most skillful and determined Air Bomber. Award recommended.”. Edward William Banks enlisted for WW2 service with the RAFVR from Rhodesia (a small village near Nottinghamshire), as suggested by his service number. He served for a time with 142 squadron, before being transferred to 156 Squadron in October 1942, which became part of No. 8 (Pathfinder Force) Group. The Group initially used Wellington Bombers prior to converting to Lancasters in 1943, and as Air Bomber, Edward William Banks took part in a large number of bombing raid over important strategic and industrial targets such as Torino, Genova, Hamburg, Koln, Munich, St Nazaire, Lorient, Berlin, Hamburg, Essen, Kiel, Dortmund, and latterly Duisberg. It was during a raid on Duisburg that Flight Sergeant Banks was killed in action 12-13 May 1943 aboard aircraft ED857, under the command of pilot Lighton Verdon-Roe DFC (son of the aeronautical pioneer Sir Edwin Alliott Verdon-Roe, founder of the Avro Company). He was posthumously awarded the DFM for his WW2 service and is buried with other members of his crew in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.
An image of Eddie's actual medals has been added to the photograph scroll of this memorial; they were sold through private auction in 2014, without my knowledge...I had no idea that they still existed.
There has always been confusion and different opinions as to whether 'Forest' may have mistakenly been added to Eddie's family history as a second middle name, when in reality it was simply where he was memorialized, but there seems to have been enough paperwork and personal recollection to solidify the fact that Eddie did in fact come from a family that used the uncommon name 'Forest' (also spelled as 'Forrest' - We presently have a family member with the middle name 'Forest', for instance). I have had no success whatsoever tracking down his birth certificate, nor the facts behind what became of his parents (he is listed in all official paperwork as single at the time of his death); I will keep trying to find out more about one of our family's great, great heroes. Regarding his assumed second middle name, I find this almost poetic, in that a Forest returned to a forest.
Squadron Leader Lighton Verdon - Roe
Sergeant John Cameron Stewart
Flight Sergeant/Bomb Aimer Edward William "Eddie/Forest" Banks
Flight Sergeant Thomas James Pritchard
Officer Frank Giles
Pilot Officer Herbert Francis Jolley
Sergeant Kenneth Cecil Harrison
"These heroes are dead. They died for liberty - they died for us. They are at rest. They may or may not sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars - they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead." ~Robert G. Ingersoll
Note: Flight Sergeant (Nav./Bomber), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Reichswald Forest War Cemetery
Plot: 5. B. 7.
Maintained by: Rhonda C. Poynter & Frie...
Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
Record added: Aug 06, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 56032367