Recently, we were saddened to learn that our dear friend Cyril Banks, a veteran of the Second World War who celebrated his 97th birthday in January, sadly passed away on 6 May 2022.
Mr Banks was born in January 1925. Cyril enlisted in the Royal Navy on 1 February 1943, aged 18, and joined the minesweeper HMS Ready. His first months at sea were spent in the harsh Arctic Сonvoys and in the North Sea patrolling for German U-Boats. HMS Ready was then deployed to the Channel to help with the minesweeping efforts leading up to the D-Day Landings. On D-Day itself HMS Ready led the mine-clearing flotilla off Gold Beach. Under constant threat of being hit by coastal guns or German aircraft, it was a gruelling task, both physically and mentally. Cyril later served on LST (Landing Ship, Tank) craft in the Channel before sailing to the Far East, where he took part in operations against the Japanese and assisted in the repatriation of Australian POWs.
In 1999 Cyril first encountered The Not Forgotten, found a community and has become a great ambassador for The Not Forgotten, fundraising for them at Stansted Airport, abseiling 110ft off a water tower at the tender age of 88 and wing-walking for 12 minutes on a bi-plane that reached speeds of 90mph.
We were fortunate to meet with Cyril for the first time in Duxford in May 2016 when a group of Russian veterans came to visit Cambridge. Later, we met every year in London at the annual VE Day ceremonies at the Soviet War Memorial. Cyril was well known to the veteran community; with a constant smile on his face and a story to tell, he was very proud of his part in the Arctic Convoys.
Mr Banks was featured in the first part of our publication “Remembering the Second World War”, which appeared in 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Please see page 8 of the PDF document here (page 6 in the printed booklet).
Cyril Banks’ biography on the website of The Not Forgotten can be found here.
A private family service will be taking place. Donations if desired may be made payable to “The Not Forgotten Association” & “The Salvation Army” and sent c/o Daniel Robinson & Sons, 79/81 South Street, Bishop’s Stortford, Herts CM23 3AL. Telephone: 01279 655477.