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2LT Edward Francis “Eddie” Banks

2LT Edward Francis “Eddie” Banks

Acton, Cheshire East Unitary Authority, Cheshire, England
Death 28 Feb 1917 (aged 20)
Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France
Burial Thiepval, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France
Plot Pier and Face 8 C 9 A and 16 A.
Memorial ID 12364229 · View Source
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2nd Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers
City of London Regiment

UPDATE 6 FEBRUARY 2016: I have received verified information that while the entire Banks Family still registers in the Cornwall area during the 1901 U.K. Census, by the 1911 census, they have relocated to Glamogan, Wales. I am now researching that specific area for further information.

UPDATE, DECEMBER 14, 2015 - Please note that a splinter view of Eddie's official birth certificate is now included in his photo scroll - if you would like full copies of any of the certificates, photos and files, please request through my edit button - no charge, of course. Thank You!

Note: I am in possession of all military files for Eddie allowed to family, and through FOI U.K.; l am also in possession of letters, photos and other documentation, should you like to request information sharing.

NOTE: It has been brought to my attention that there is a separate Francis Banks, also KIA while serving with the Royal Fusiliers; his death date of August 18, 1917 will verify that these are two separate heroes, but I did want to state that I do have "my Eddie Francis Banks" information correct, all taken from newspapers and military records...I am actually researching this second Francis Banks as of this week, and will try to make certain that he is honored on this site, as well.

UPDATE, AUGUST 11th 2014: I have just received a wealth of information about Eddie and his family - and this young man's history is a prime example of how people, facts and information can simply disappear from history. I have always heard that Eddie was an only child; I now have in front of me irrefutable proof that Eddie was one of SEVEN children. Perhaps the confusion was that he was the only boy; perhaps he was the one whose details threaded through family stories through the years due to his tragic any rate, I will be tracing and/or creating pages for his family members in the immediate future.

UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 24, 2014: I found notation of Eddie and service information in the July 27, 1915 London Gazette:
"The undermentioned members of Court Officers Training Corps to be 2nd Lieutenants (on probation):" -- Numerous names, among them "BANKS, EDWARD FRANCIS". This verifies that Eddie was already in service/training by the age of 18 or 19.

Also, I found this on the 2nd Battalion:

2nd Battalion
2nd Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) were in Calcutta, India when war broke out in August 1914. As soon as a territorial unit arrived to take over the garrison, they departed for England, arriving in December and joining 86th Brigade, 29th Division at Nuneaton. They were training for France when orders arrived to prepare to depart for Gallipoli. They embarked from Avonmouth between the 16th and 22nd March 1915 sailing via Malta to Alexandria then on to Mudros in April. They landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli on the 25 April 1915 and were involved in heavy fighting until the evacuation on the nights of the 7th and 8th of January 1916 when they returned to Egypt. In March they were sent to France, sailing to Marseilles and travelling by train to concentrate in the area east of Pont Remy by the end of March. In July, they went into action in the Battles of the Somme. In 1917, they were in action in the The First, Second and Third Battle of the Scarpe during the Arras Offensive, then moved to Flanders and fought in the The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of Broodseinde and The Battle of Poelcapelle. Before moving south for The Battle of Cambrai. 1918 shows them in action in The Battle of Estaires, at Messines and The Battle of Hazebrouck including the defence of Nieppe Forest and The Battle of Bailleul. They were involved in The Action of Outtersteene Ridge, The capture of Ploegsteert and Hill 63 during the Advance in Flanders. At the Armistice the 29th Division was selected to march into Germany to occupy the Rhine bridgehead, they crossed the Belgian-German border at Malmedy on the 4th of December 1918. Demobilisation began in December.

This information would put Eddie at the correct location at the time of his loss - although I have newspaper verification of his date and place of death, I am still trying to 'pin' when exactly he arrived in France. The obituary-like memorial attached to this page states that he left Bath Academy in 1915 to join up, but I am still not certain whether that means he immediately went into service? Any thoughts or assistance would be appreciated - Thank You!

2nd Lieutenant Eddie Banks was through the British/Canadian thread of Banks; his father was Reverend Thomas Banks, and Eddie's mother's name was Margaret. Margaret was the daughter of Francis Truscott, whom I would imagine was the inspiration for Eddie's middle name -the file that I have just received details Eddie's father to some extent, but notes only a couple of facts about his mother - that she was born in 1860 in Colchester, Essex and that she married Reverend Thomas Hardy Banks in 1887, in Cornwall.

A letter of regret from his Regiment Captain and Company Chaplain memorializes Eddie as a brave young man, always willing to do all he could and more, and 'loved by all who knew him.' His Company Commander informed Eddie's parents that the young man's loss was a great blow to his platoon and company, and that their son had fought, and died nobly.

Eddie died on 28, February 1917 in the vicinity of Sailly - Saillisele, while defending trenches that had been captured from the Germans earlier that day. There is notation that he 'was buried where he fell', and that this was detailed in a letter to his parents.

Eddie was 20 years old at the time of his death; he is listed in the 1911 UK Census as a 15 year old schoolboy at Somerset Academy, and he is memorialized at Thiepval Memorial Pier And Face 8 C 9 A And 16 A.

Eddie, as well as other military members in our many family lines, seems to have been either neglected or 'lost' for many decades, and it was only when I began tracing for my own selfish reasons - medical details -, that I discovered what selfless and astonishing individuals I can proudly state that I am related is an honor to tell Eddie's story, and I hope that this page will soon have many tokens of gratitude from those who agree that our military members are a gift to us, and they can never receive enough flowers, prayers and words of respect.

"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

Please note: I continue to seek information on Eddie's sisters Agnes Marion, Doris Mary, Margaret Winifred and Annie Hardy...l do not have enough information on any of these relatives to post memorial pages as of yet, but l will do so as soon as l have an avenue to follow.

Family Members