- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Royal Air Force, Desert Air Force, No. 112 Squadron
- Awarded on:
- November 5th, 1946
"On 29th August, 1944, this airman took part in an armed reconnaissance of the Ravenna and Ferrara areas in Italy. During the sortie, his aircraft was damaged by anti-aircraft fire and he was compelled to make a forced landing. After the aircraft had been destroyed, Sergeant Banks decided to try to reach the Allied lines. He made contact with a group of Italian partizans, amongst whom, during the following months, be became an outstanding figure, advising and encouraging them in action against the enemy.
Early in December, 1944, an attempt at crossing into allied territory by boat was planed. Sergeant Banks and a number of partizans assembled at the allotted place, but the whole party was surrounded and captured. Sergeant Banks was handed over to the German commander of the district, who presided at his interrogation. During the questioning, Sergeant Banks was cruelly tortured and finally he was taken to several other prisons.
He was transferred to another prison at Ariano Polesine. Here, in the presence of Italian Fascists, he was stripped of his clothing and again tortured. Sergeant Banks was eventually bound and thrown into the River Po. Despite his wounds, even at this stage, he succeeded in reaching the river bank. The Fascists then took him back to the prison, where he was shot through the head. At the time of his capture, Sergeant Banks was endeavouring to return to the Allied lines, so that he might arrange for further supplies to the partizans. He endured much suffering with stoicism, withholding information which would have been of vital interest to the enemy. His courage and endurance were such that they impressed even his captors. Sergeant Banks' conduct was, at all times, in keeping with the highest traditions of the Service, even in the face of most brutal and inhuman treatment."
Sgt Arthur Banks' George Cross was presented to his father by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on the 3rd December 1946.
Sergeant Banks was buried in Argenta Gap War Cemetery, grave reference III.A.7.
Date of Gazette: 5th November 1946.