Our People - Thomas Banister
9 November 1915
#14690 Lance Sergeant Thomas Banister
12th (Service) Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment)
61st Brigade, 20th (Light) Division
Killed in action 9 November 1915 age 23
Rue-Petillon Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix, Pas de Calais, France. Ref: I.B.63
Son of James and Elizabeth Banister, of 12, Mounsey Rd., Bamber Bridge, Preston.
INSCRIPTION: "PEACE PERFECT PEACE"
"... he has gone to a place where there are neither wars nor rumours of wars"
Thomas Banister was born on 3 August 1892 in Bamber Bridge to James and Elizabeth Banister. He was to live most of his life in Leyland with his grandmother. Before the war, Tom worked as a weaver at Berry’s mill on Leyland Lane and was one of the originators of the Scout movement in Leyland, becoming assistant scoutmaster. He was also a keen member of the Church Lads Brigade (CLB), reaching the rank of colour sergeant. It is estimated that around 50,000 Brigade Lads served in the First World War, during which many honours and distinctions were awarded.
Tom enlisted in the 12th King’s (Liverpool Regiment) on 1 September 1914 at Southport. He evidently made a capable soldier, putting his experiences in the scouts and the CLB to good use. He was promoted rapidly to Lance Corporal on 20 February 1915, Corporal on 21 July 1915 and unpaid Lance Sergeant the same day. The 12th left their training encampment the next day for embarkation at Southampton and arrived at Boulogne on 24 July 1915.
The first task for the 12th was to gain familiarisation in trench warfare. They headed to Le Becque via Wizernes and Hazebrouck where they made their camp on 29 July 1915. Tom’s first experience of trench warfare was spent in the front line for several days at Armentieres before returning to camp at Le Becque for classes in bombing and machine gunning. The 12th moved into trenches on 6 September near Fleurbaix to continue their familiarisation. It was here on the 9 September 1915 that Tom was killed by a German sniper.
In a letter to his parents Lieutenant L. Heatley wrote “His energy was infectious, and men put under his charge seemed to acquire the same keenness which was so striking a point in the sergeant's character. It will be a comfort to know that he has gone to a place where there are neither wars nor rumours of wars, and that he died at his post doing his duty.“
Tom was buried close to where he fell at Rue-Petillon Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France. A memorial service was held at St. Andrew’s, Leyland on 21 September 1915. He also appears on the Bamber Bridge St. Saviour's Board, Leyland St. Andrew's Plaque and the Leyland Civic War Memorial.
Thomas Banister as a Corporal in the uniform of the King’s (Liverpool Regiment). Photograph courtesy of South Ribble Museum and Exhibition Centre
Click on any photo to make it full screen and for the description