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Thomas Banister (sometimes the family name is spelled Bannister) was born in 1892 in Bamber Bridge.  His father was James Banister (b. 1864 in Longton), a calico dyer.  His mother was Elizabeth Johnson (b. 1870 in Preston).  James and Elizabeth were married in Bamber Bridge in 1891 and Thomas was born the following year.  James and Elizabeth had two more sons, Frederick James (b. 1894) and Frank Leslie (b. 1909), but it seems Tom was living separately from the others: in 1901 and 1911 he was living with his grandmother in Leyland whereas James, Elizabeth and the other two boys lived at Mounsey Road in Bamber Bridge.  So in 1911, Tom was living at 25 Water Street, Leyland and working as a weaver.


Tom enlisted at Southport on 1 September 1914.  He joined the King’s (Liverpool Regiment).  He was assigned service number 14690 and posted to 12th Battalion.  He was 5’ 8¼” tall, weighed 129lbs and had a 35” chest.  12th (Service) Battalion was formed at Seaforth in September 1914 as part of K2 and attached as Army Troops to 20th (Light) Division.  In January 1915 they transferred to 61st Brigade in the same Division.  Tom landed in France on 24 July 1915 and the remainder of the Division arrived there over the next few days.  Whilst in training, Tom was promoted first to Lance Corporal, on 20 February 1915, then to Corporal and Lance Sergeant on 21 July, just before they left for France.


In September 1915, 12Bn were in the trenches near Laventie, initially engaged in trench and mining work, before moving into front line trenches on the night of 6 September.  Both sides are engaged in mining and shelling and snipers were active, especially at night.


From the War Diary:


Near Fleurbaix.  6.9.15.  Enemy mine suspected and counter-mining carried out.  Enemy rather active.  Pte. Charlesworth killed.  End of tramway very unhealthy, enfiladed by enemy fire.

Fleurbaix. 7.9.15.  Enemy snipers very active during previous night.  3 shells fired into “A” Coy between front and support trenches.  Weather fine.  Owing to suspected mine, two platoons “A” Coy withdrawn to support the line.  Enemy aeroplane over Hdqs turned back by our own gunfire.  Snipers very active.


They have only been at the front for just over a month so the War Diarist is still recording the names of casualties and he notes that on 8 September Lance Sergeant Banister and Private Elmer are killed by snipers (CWGC records the date of death as 9 September).  Two days later a new draft of 30 men arrives and the Diarist notes that this just balances the battalion’s losses to date.


Tom Banister was 23 years old.


Rank:  Lance Serjeant

Service Number: 14690

Date of death:  09/09/1915

Aged:  23

Regiment/Service:  The King's (Liverpool Regiment), 12th Bn. 
Cemetery/memorial reference: I. B. 63.


Additional Information:  Son of James and Elizabeth Banister, of 12 Mounsey Road, Bamber Bridge, Preston.


According to the St Saviour’s Roll of Honour, Tom’s brother Frederick James also served but I have no details.

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