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Person Details
25 Jul 1892
Radford Nottingham
Alexander Banks was born 25th July 1892 at Radford and was the son of Edwin Banks a farmer and Mary Ann Banks née Wood. His father was born in 1857 in Parkfields Wolverhampton, his mother in 1864 at Selston Nottinghamshire. They were married in 1882 in the Basford Registration district. Their eight children, who were all born in Nottingham, were :- William Edwin b.1885 Stapleford , Lydia Priscilla b.1887 New Basford, Edith Elizabeth b 1890 Radford, Alexander b.1892 Radford, Winifred b.1895 Radford, Albert Henry b.1897 Radford, Ernest E b.1902 Radford and Harold b.1905 Radford. In 1901 the family lived at 3 Imperial Road Beeston Nottingham. By 1911 William Edwin had married Eva Billyeald (b.1884 Nottingham ) in 1908 in Nottingham and they were living at 5 Linden Mews Linden Gardens Bayswater London. He was a chauffeur and they had a daughter Phyllis aged two. Lydia Pricilla married in 1905 in Nottingham Herbert Johnson a fishmonger (b. 1887 Nottingham). They were living at 132 Colwick Road, Nottingham with their two children Dorothy (4) and Albert (2) who were both born at Nottingham. Edith Elizabeth married Henry Hall a journeyman house plasterer (b.1885 Hucknall ) in 1908 in Basford. In 1911 they were living at 20 Linny Lane Hucknall with their two daughters Florence (2) and Marjorie (6 months). The family emigrated to Canada, possibly in 1911/1912 and settled in Edmonton. On the 1916 Canadian Census they are listed at 10509 74th Avenue Strathcona Edmonton Alberta .
He was a labourer upon enlistment.
30 Jan 1917
51277 - CWGC Website
Canadian Infantry
42nd Bn Quebec Regiment Alexander attested in Edmonton Canada on 29th June 1915 giving his religion as C of E . He landed in France on 20th January 1916. He received a bayonet wound to his left leg on 15/16th September 1916. He rejoined his unit after a further spell in hospital on 7th January 1917. He was severely wounded following the accidental explosion of a rifle grenade on 29th January 1917 dying at No 30 Casualty Clearing Station the following day . A Court of Enquiry was organised to investigate the circumstances of his death on 13th February 1917. “FIRST WITNESS. “No. 418352 Pte. Richardson, J. being duly sworn stated: – “On January 29th at 12.05 a.m. I was with No. 466019 Pte. A. Banks, A. firing Newton Short Range rifle grenades from the grenade batter of 6 rifles left of Duffield C.T. [communication trench] I went inside the dugout to fire the rifles and Pte. Banks who had placed the grenades in the rifles went around the corner of the trench and took cover. I pulled the rope attached to the triggers and only three grenades left the rifles. Pte. Banks shouted “what the Sam Hill is the matter[?]” I replied “I don't know but look out! I am going to give it another tug.” I then pulled the rope again and [a] premature explosion followed. I went out of the dug-out and found Pte. Banks lying in the trench eight to ten feet from the battery. He was wounded in the head and right arm. There was no one else near at the time. There were no markings on the Grenade Box except a card giving instructions for the use of the grenade. On the detonator box were merely the words “Twenty seven detonators.” “We had instructions during courses in Bombing on the method of firing these grenades and the precautions to be taken. “The grenades or igniters had not been tampered with or stripped. The grenades were removed from the box and detonated just before using. “The rifle used was the Short Lee Enfield and the cartridge used was the Reinforced Blank. “There was no gas check on the rod. “The rods were not rusty and slipped into the barrel easily. We have always paid particular attention to using only grenades which were in good condition. “The cap cover was in correct position over detonator. “In my opinion the premature explosion was the result of the rod having been driven through the base of the grenade into the detonator. “Pte. Richardson, J. “SECOND WITNESS. “No. 418771 Sergt. Stein, J. L., being duly sworn states: – “I knew No. 466019 Pte. Banks and No. 418352 Pte. Richardson, J. and both were thoroughly trained bombers, and were quite familiar with the Newton Rifle Grenade. I inspected the box of grenades from which the one that exploded prematurely was taken and found them in good order before the accident. I have been in the bombing section since December 1915. “Sgt. Stein, J. L. “THIRD WITNESS. “Capt. W. Hale, M.O., 42nd Battalion, being duly sworn states: – “Regarding Pte. Banks, A. No. 466019 I have to report that on January 29th he was brought to Regimental Aid Post suffering from injuries to head and right arm. Three large contused wounds were found on right side of head, through one of which portions of brain matter were protruding. The right arm had been blown off 2” below the elbow. First aid dressings had been applied and were changed after examination had been made of the wounds. “W. Hale, Capt., C.A.M.C. The conclusion of the court was that no blame was to be attached to either Banks or Richardson. This finding was confirmed by Brigadier General A. C. Macdonnell, commanding 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade. “My opinion is that No. 466019, Pte. A. Banks, met his death through the premature explosion of a Newton Rifle Grenade, the cause of which I am at a loss to find a reason for, though possibly the opinion of the first witness in attached Court of Enquiry Proceedings is correct. “No. 466019, Pte. A. Banks and No. 418352, Pte. Richardson, J., were both thoroughly trained Bombers and familiar with the Newton Rifle Grenade; they were in the discharge of their duties at the time, and neither of them were in any way to blame for the accident.” The details of the court of inquiry are courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918.
He was buried in Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension Grave Reference I F 48 . Alexander's brother Albert Henry Banks, born 16th December 1896, also fought. He joined the Canadian Army in Edmonton on 11th January 1915 aged 18 and was given the service number 432653. He served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and survived the war. In memoriam published 10th January 1918 in the Nottingham Evening Post :- “BANKS. – Killed in action, on January 30th, Private Alec Banks, Canadian Infantry, the beloved brother of Lydia and Albert Banks.” In memoriam published 30th January 1918 in the Nottingham Evening Post :- “BANKS. – In loving memory of Alec, killed in action January 30th, 1917, Canadians. A day of remembrance sad to recall. - From his loving sister and brother, Mrs. and Mr. Johnson.” Above are courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918.
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