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John Banks was born in June 1884, the son of John and Jane Banks (nee Rounds). In the 1901 census, the 17 year old Banks is living with his family at 57 Rookery Street, Wednesfield, and his profession is listed as a lockmaker. His mother has been widowed by this date, and the family comprises John himself, his mother, two brothers (Arthur and Joseph), three sisters (Ethel, Matilda and Sarah), and his niece, Dorothy. In September 1911, he married a Florence Hobley, and they had a daughter, Lily, born in 1913. They lived at 44 New Street, in Wednesfield.

Banks became a Lance Corporal in the 8th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment (number 43310), but had formerly been a member of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 11011). He was killed in action on 28 April 1917 aged 33, and he is commemorated at the Arras Memorial in France. His medal card can be found at the National Archives.

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