Jack Banks (soldier)

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Jack Banks
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Darwen, Lancashire, UK
Died21 July 1944
Resting placeJerusalem War Cemetery, Chouain
Notable awards1939-45 Medal, France and Germany Star, War Medal

Private Jack Banks (1928 - 21 July 1944) Is believed to be Britains youngest infantry solider killed in World War 2, when he was struck by shrapnel in the thigh attacking a German machine gun at Hottot in July 1944.

Jack Banks was born in Darwen, Lancashire, in 1928, the son of Jack Banks Snr, and Fanny Banks. Banks enlisted at the age of 15, putting his date of birth back 3 years in a desperate bid to be part of the Allied Forces D-Day operation. He joined the Durham Light Infantry before D-Day and managed to convince everyone in his regiment he was 18. Banks' family wasn't aware he was even abroad until hearing the unfortunate news of his death.

Banks landed on Gold Beach at 11:30am with the 8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry on D-Day, June 6th 1944. Banks' regiment had survived the initial onslaught and had advanced 20 miles into mainland France. After six weeks of fighting Banks and two of his comrades volunteered to storm a farmhouse near Caen, in the village of Hottot, to capture some high ground after the platoon sergeant spotted a group of German soldiers hiding in a hedge, armed with grenades the three were about to give chase before an enemy mortar round hit the floor severely wounding Banks in the femoral artery, he reportedly told his Sergeant on the stretcher "I've had it Sir. I'm finished", and died on the way to the field ambulance.

Banks had been smiling all the while, but his injuries were more serious than initially thought.

Banks is buried in the Jerusalem War Cemetary at Row B. Grave 15. in Normandy, France, next to the two comrades who fell beside him.


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