680909 GNR/SIG. J. BANKS. R.F.A.
Joseph Banks was born on 22 May 1887 in Bamber Bridge. I think his father was Robert Banks (b. 1865?) but Robert appears to have deserted the family and Joe and his sisters were brought up by their mother and grandmother. His mother was Catherine Hannan (b. 1867 in Walton Le Dale). His sisters were Mary (b. 1889) and Margaret Ann (b. 1891). According to the 1901 Census, Robert was alive but not living with the family. The 1911 Census says that his whereabouts are not known. Catherine is a rover in a cotton mill, Joe is a spinner and the two girls are ring spinners. They are living at 94 Stone Row, School Lane.
Joe enlisted with the other Briggers in the Royal Field Artillery in May 1915 and landed with them in France in February 1917. He served with “C” Battery of 286 Brigade. Unusually, a citation for his Military Medal was published in the Preston Guardian in 1918. During the period covered by the citation (August – September 1918), C/286 were supporting the Canadian Infantry as they advanced towards Cambrai, the town falling to the Allies on 10 October. A flavour of the action can be gained from the following extract from the War Diary:
September 11, an attack was carried out by 170 and 171 infantry brigades with object Canal du Nord. This was supported by creeping barrage and box barrage on the right. Moeuvres was captured and our line established east of the village. On the left, the (Infantry) Battalion reached its objective but had to withdraw to the original line owing to heavy enfilade machine gun fire from the canal bank on the left.
Joe survived the War and died in 1954.