Banks, Arthur

Date of birth:
October 6th, 1923 (Llandulas, Abergele, North Wales)
Date of death:
December 20th, 1944 (Ariano Polesine, Italy)
Buried on:
Commonwealth War Cemetery Argenta
Plot: III. Row: A. Grave: 7.
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Sergeant
Unit:
No. 112 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
November 5th, 1946
Action:
Citation:
"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."
Details:
Sgt Arthur Banks' George Cross was presented to his father by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on the 3rd December 1946.
George Cross

Sources

  • Photo: George Cross Database
  • - Second Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 37776 published on the 1 November 1946

Photo