Willie John Banson and his twin brother, Stanley Arthur Banson (1890-1982), were born on 13 November 1890, the youngest of the five children of Arthur John Banson (1853-1933) and Mary Harriet Banson née Robson (1860-1950). Their births were registered in the 4th quarter of 1890 in the Paddington registration district. On 25 January 1891 they were both baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Paddington, where the baptismal registers show the family were living at 140 Queen's Road, Paddington, (later renamed as Queensway) and that their father was a silk mercer.
The 1891 census confirms he was still residing at 140 Queens Road, Paddington, with his parents, four siblings: Ellie Mary Banson (1887-1976), two elder twins Daisy Banson (1888-1938) and Harry Banson (1888-1907) and his own twin brother Stanley Arthur Banson, together with a nurse, a nursemaid and a female general domestic servant. His father was still listed as a silk mercer.
In the 1901 census he was shown as living at 42 Haverstock Hill, St Pancras, London, with his parents and four siblings. His father was described as a draper's assistant (superintendent) and his mother as a dressmaker working from home.
When his father completed the 1911 census return form he was described as a 'draughtsman (furniture) at Mr Walker's studio', living in a seven roomed property at 'Holmer', 17 Elm Road, Wembley, Middlesex, with his parents, his three surviving siblings and a female domestic servant. His father described himself as a warehouseman in drapery business (silk department branch) of Dickens & Jones Ltd, his sister Ellie was a clerk in the Post Office's Savings Bank Department, Sister Daisy was a milliner's assistant for Madame Travelli and brother Stanley was an assistant in furnishing house Waring & Gillow.
When World War One was declared he enlisted as a Private in the Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment), service number 2084. He was serving in their 2nd/10th Battalion when on 8 December 1915 he disembarked in the Balkans Theatre of War but was serving in their 3rd/9th Battalion when, suffering from sickness in Gallipoli, Turkey, he was returned to England. He died from pneumonia, aged 25 years, on 20 August 1916 at Purfleet Military Hospital, Essex and his death was registered in the 3rd quarter of 1916 in the Orsett registration district, Essex. His body was buried on 24 August 1916 in Section G, Row H, Grave 987 in the Wembley Old Burial Ground, adjacent to St John the Evangelist Church, 1 Crawford Avenue, Wembley, HA0 2HX.
On 11 December 1916 his army effects totalling £3-7s-0d were sent to his father who was also sent his £9-0s-0d war gratuity on 24 September 1919. He was posthumously awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal 1914-1918 and the Victory Medal.
He is shown as BANSON W.J. PTE. 19TH.MIDLX.REG.T.F. on the Quebec Chapel War Memorial at the Church of the Annunciation, Bryanston Street, London W1H 7AH and as Private W J Banson Middlesex Regiment in the World War One memorial chapel at St John the Evangelist Church, Wembley. He is also commemorated on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website, as John Banson on the Imperial War Museum's Lives of the First World War website and as Willie John Banson on their War Memorial Register.
Credit for this entry to: Andrew Behan.