Fred Lakeman Banks (1874 – 1915) of Holborn, London

Fred Lakeman Banks was born on 20 January 1874, the twin of Maud Mary, at 32 Doughty Street, Mecklenburgh Square, London, and baptised 24 April 1874 at St Andrew Holborn. He was a son of Frederick Seymour Banks and Elizabeth formerly Belsham. He was named Lakeman after Sir Stephen Lakeman who was a family friend and was F.L. Banks's godfather.

Fred Lakeman attended Mr Shepherd’s School at Addiscombe for 3 years before admission to Whitgift School, Croydon, in the second form (lower school) on 19 September 1887.  He left from 4a in August 1891.  He was stated to be a son of Frederick Seymour Banks of Leslie Lodge, Lower Addiscombe Road, Croydon.


After leaving school he joined his father’s business.


In 1891, at 4 John Street, he (Fred) was at home with his parents, aged 17, an assistant horse commission agent and born at St Pancras.


At the Public Schools Meeting at Bisley in that year, Fred was a member of the Whitgift VIII that shot in the Ashburton Shield Competition, when Whitgift were l5th out of 21 schools competing.  He won the Spencer Cup, however, which was competed for by individual competitors, nominated by each school to fire 7 shots at 500 yards.  Banks won with a total of 33 out of 35, shooting with a Martini, thus emulating the previous Whitgift winner of the Cup, J. Hayne, who in 1881 won with a score of 28, but shooting with a Snider.  Banks was awarded the gift of a pair of field-glasses by Lt. Col. Freeland (of the Queen's, perhaps?).  To commemorate this achievement, Frederick Seymour Banks presented the Banks Cup to Whitgift School.


Fred served with the City of London Imperial Volunteers and with the City of London Rifles in the Second Boer War (1899 – 1902) and was awarded clasps to the Queen’s South Aftrica Medal for Cape Colony (11 October 1899), Paardeberg (18-27 February 1900), Dreifontein (10 March 1900) and Johannesberg (29 May 1900).


On 12 January 1900 he was admitted to the Freedom of the City of London.


In 1901, at home with his parents, Fred L. was aged 27, an assistant commission agent, born in London.


In 1911 he (Fred. L.) was living with his parents, aged 37, an assistant to a horse commission agent and born in St Pancras.


Corporal Fred Lakeman Banks was killed 13 May 1915 at Ypres, aged 41.  London Rifle Brigade.  ('87-91') P.  Son of Mr. and Mrs. F. S. Banks, 4, John Street, Bedford Row, W.C., formerly of Leslie Lodge, Addiscombe.   XV.,  Sergt. in Corps, VIII.  Trophy 1890  Spencer cup 1891 winner of mile 1889, '90, ’91. and O.W. [Old Whitgiftian?] mile- 1893.  Joined L.R.B. [London Rifle Brigade] in 1891, in 1892 received Royal Humane Society's medal for recovering the body of a boy after repeatedly diving for him in a pond at Rainham.  He was shooting at the time, resumed his shooting and was beaten by one point only; he won 2 Challenge Cups of “D” Co. outright and shot 3 years in L.R.B. team for Daily Graphic cup which was secured in 1897 and 1898; served all through the South African War [1899 - 1902] in the C.I.V. [City Imperial Volunteers], won Silver Medal and 4 Bars.  Received Volunteer Long Service Medal; rejoined L.R.B. at outbreak of War, went to France in Nov. 1914, fought round Ypres and Armentieres and was shot (through the head by a German sniper) at second Battle of Ypres.  His C.O. (Lieut. Trevelyan), writing of him and his great friend, John Latham Hampton (who had died ten days before), said:  “It is almost impossible to write any sort of appreciation of what these two men were to their Company, their platoon, and to me personally.  It was the spirit and experience of these two that made the platoon what it was, and many a time they have given me comfort and courage in difficult times.  Their memory will long be kept green in the Regiment.  When we get into tight places again I know that many of us, who have been taught by him will think of Freddy Banks and his cheery confidence, and take courage.  More than this, I think, one could not say of any man.”


His obituary notice in a newspaper records that he was the second son.  He joined the C.I.V. Mounted Infantry and fought in the Boer War and rejoined the regiment at the outbreak of World War 1.  He was a liveryman of the Butchers’ Company (of 4 John Street) and was admitted to the Freedom 6 February 1908, by patrimony.


He is commemorated on the Menin Memorial Gate at Ypres (now Ieper), Corporal (370) Fred Lakeman Banks 1st/5th London Regt (London Rifle Brigade) who died on Thursday 13 May 1915 age 43 (sic).  His entry in the WW1 Campaign Medals Index records him as first private (370) and then acting corporal (370) of 1/5th London Regiment (card in image 219522/47224).

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Posted March 2017