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Robert Banks was born in Freckleton in 1882 and he was the son of John and Alice Banks (nee Hall).

Robert`s parents were married in 1880, his father John was originally from Hesketh Bank and his mother Alice was from Kirkham. Robert had six brothers and two sisters but sadly two of his brothers died, Thomas (1881), Jane (1884), John (1886-1886), John 1889), Ernest (1890-1910), Mary Ann (1892), William (1894) and Edwin (1897).

In 1901 Robert was living at 10 Clitheroes Lane in Freckleton with his parents and brothers and sisters. His father John was in business as a coal merchant and as Robert was working as a coal carter at the time he was probably working in his father`s business.

On the 16th December, 1903 Robert married local girl Elizabeth Allanson in Freckleton and by 1911 Robert and Elizabeth had three daughters, Alice (1904), Elizabeth (1905) and Edith (1911).  Robert was with his wife and daughters at 6 School Lane, Freckleton in 1911 and he was still working as a coal carter. In 1913 Robert and Elizabeth had another child, a son they named Ernest.

Robert enlisted on 10 December, 1915 at the age of 33 years and 7 months and was posted to the army reserve. He was finally mobilised on 24 July, 1916 and had his medical examination. It was noted that Robert was 5`6” tall and weighed 112lbs but he was said to be of poor physical development and had a slight curvature of the spine. At the time he was employed by the County Council as a road maker.

After a few months of training Robert embarked at Folkestone on 13 November, 1916 bound for France and he had been allocated the service number 27639. On the 23 November, 1916 in Etaples he was transferred to “D” Coy, 10th Battalion and joined them in the field on the 25th November.

Robert was wounded in action on 11 April, 1917 following an unsuccessful raid on the German trenches at Arras. He received multiple gunshot wounds probably as a result of machine gun fire. The medics eventually got him safely back to 7 Canadian General Hospital in Etaples but unfortunately his condition never improved and he died of his wounds on 27 April, 1917.

The following report appeared in the Preston Guardian not long after Robert died.


The Authorities returned some of Robert`s personal possessions to his widow Elizabeth who was living at 11 School Lane in Freckleton.

  • 1 Pipe
  • 1 Wristwatch and strap
  • 1 Tobacco pouch
  • 1 Belt
  • 1 Notebook
  • 1 Purse and 1 coin (USA half cent)
  • 1 Small key
  • 2 Cap badges (1 broken)
  • 1 Wallet
  • 1 Letter, 1 photo and card
  • 1 Bag

Elizabeth Banks was awarded 28s/9d per week for herself and her four children from 29 October, 1917.

Robert was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and he was buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, France. He is also remembered on the war memorial in Freckleton.


Freckleton War Memorial

Photo taken April 2018

Rank: Private
Service No: 27639
Date of Death: 27/04/1917
Age: 34
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 10th Bn.

Janet Davis
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