RFA West Lancs Bdes
680890 GNR. S. BANKS. R.F.A.
Samuel Banks was born in Preston in the second quarter of 1894. His father was Thomas Banks (b. 1863 in Preston), a drysalter’s assistant (according to Wikpedia: drysalters were dealers in a range of chemical products, including glue, varnish, dye and colourings. They might supply salt or chemicals for preserving food and sometimes also sold pickles, dried meat or related items). Sam’s mother was Margaret Hannah Ashton (b. 1867 in Preston). Tom and Margaret were married in 1885. The 1911 Census says that Margaret had 11 children but only 4 survived; they were: Reuben (b. 1886), Sam, Charles (b. 1895) and Winifred (b. 1900). Tom died, aged 38, just after Winifred was born. So in 1911, the widowed Margaret was living with her 4 remaining children at 13 Carlisle Street, Preston. Sam was working at the time as a cotton weaver.
Sam was probably in the Territorials before the War as when he enlisted with the Royal Field Artillery he was given service number 2572. He was probably posted initially to “B” Battery of 276 Brigade and he landed in France with about 20 other men from the Brigade on 23 December 1915. His number was later changed to 680890. At some point, Sam was posted to “A” Battery of 153rd Brigade, which came under orders of 36th (Ulster) Division. This Division was posted to France in October 1915 but the Divisional Artillery joined them in December, so it’s possible that Sam was with them in France from the outset or he may have been transferred at a later date. We have no way of knowing.
In 1918, 36th Division was engaged in both early phases of the German Spring Offensive – Operation Michael and Operation Georgette. Later in the year they were engaged in the Final Advance in Flanders. It was during preparations for this final attack that Sam was wounded, though I don’t know precisely where. He was taken to a field ambulance and he died of wounds, possibly on his way back to England, at Longuenesse. He died on 19 September 1918, aged 24.
Service No: 680890
Date of Death: 19/09/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “A” Bty, 153rd Bde. Cemetery/memorial reference: V. E. 24.
Cemetery/Memorial: LONGUENESSE (ST. OMER) SOUVENIR CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Margaret Hannah Banks, of 13 Carlisle Street, Preston, and the late Thomas Banks.