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Harry was born in Wolverhampton on 10 August 1878, the son of Samuel Banks and Jane Preston. In 1881 they were living at 159 Hickman Street, together with Harry’s brothers Samuel and Joseph, and sisters Margaret, Elizabeth, Ann and Clara. By 1891 they were living at 87 New Street, Wolverhampton, and Harry had an additional five siblings – Arthur, John, Ethel, Sarah and Matilda. Harry’s father, Samuel, died on 24 December 1897.

Harry married Edith Christina Cox on 19 February 1905 at the church of St Mary Magdalene, Paddington, London, and by 1911 they were living at 56 Rookery Street. By this date, Harry was a Keysmith. The couple had ten children – Charlotte Jane, John Samuel, Harold, Francis, Harry, Frederick George, Charles William, Eva Matilda and Sarah (Sally) Elizabeth -, although three children unfortunately did not survive beyond the age of two.

His military attestation to the Grenadier Guards (service number 10149 but on some records 10169) dates from 14 February 1902, when his trade is given as “Key Maker”. He had previously enlisted with the 4th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment on 5 December 1899. He left the Army in 1905, but joined up again in 1914. On 20 June 1918 he was discharged from the Grenadier Guards, due to “DAH” (disordered actions of the heart) and Sciatica, and granted a Silver War Badge excusing him from military service. Harry died on 17 March 1947 at the age of 68. His great-grandson has got a more complete family tree with more details online.

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