Fred Everest Banbury

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Fred Everest Banbury
Born (1893-10-27)27 October 1893
Wolseley, Saskatchewan, Canada
Died 1 April 1918(1918-04-01) (aged 24)
Denain, France
Buried at Hazebrouck Communal Cemetery, Nord, France (50°42′59″N 2°31′53″E / 50.71639°N 2.53139°E / 50.71639; 2.53139Coordinates: 50°42′59″N 2°31′53″E / 50.71639°N 2.53139°E / 50.71639; 2.53139)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Navy
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1916–1918
Rank Captain
Unit No. 9 (Naval) Squadron RNAS/No. 209 Squadron RAF
Battles/wars World War I
 • Western Front
Awards Distinguished Service Cross

Captain Fred Everest Banbury DSC (27 October 1893 – 1 April 1918) was a Canadian First World War flying ace, officially credited with eleven aerial victories while serving in the British Royal Naval Air Service.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Banbury was born in Wolseley, Saskatchewan, the only son of Robert Samuel Banbury and Susannah Beatrice (née March).[1][2] He was educated at schools in Wolseley and Regina before attending Victoria College in 1911–12 and University College in 1912–14. After graduating he attended Regina Normal School, and also worked as a teacher at Bredenbury, before becoming a law student at Regina.[3] Banbury travelled to the United States to enrol at the Curtiss Flying School at Newport News, Virginia, in March 1916, qualifying with the highest marks ever gained at the school, and was awarded Aero Club of America pilot's license No. 507 on 5 June after soloing a Curtiss biplane.[1]

Military service[edit]

Banbury then travelled to England to join the Royal Naval Air Service,[1] being commissioned as a temporary flight sub-lieutenant on probation on 28 June 1916.[4] After additional training he was eventually posted to France in March 1917 to serve in No. 9 (Naval) Squadron based at St. Pol. Flying a Sopwith Pup single-seat fighter Banbury gained his first aerial victory on 31 May 1917, sharing in the driving down out of control of a German two-seater reconnaissance aircraft over Ostend. The following day he drove down a Halberstadt reconnaissance aircraft solo. His squadron were then re-equipped with the Sopwith Camel fighter, and in one of these Banbury shared in the driving down of another reconnaissance aircraft off Westende on 25 July. Banbury gained three more aerial victories in September, accounting for an Albatros reconnaissance aircraft and two Albatros D.V fighters.[1] On 1 October 1917 he was promoted to flight lieutenant,[5] going on to gain three more victories over enemy aircraft that month. He was granted the acting rank of flight commander on 9 November,[6] and gained his tenth victory on the 23rd.[1]

Banbury returned to Canada on leave in December 1917, before returning to England in February 1918, and then to his unit in France in March.[7] He gained his eleventh and final victory, sharing in the capture of a reconnaissance aircraft near Becelaere, on 26 March.[1]

On 1 April 1918 the Royal Naval Air Service was merged with the Army's Royal Flying Corps to form the Royal Air Force, and Flight Commander Banbury of No. 9 (Naval) Squadron became Captain Banbury of No. 209 Squadron RAF. However, the same day Banbury took off in Camel "B7247" on a practice flight, but suffered a fatal heart attack in flight and crashed.[7][8]

Banbury's award of the Distinguished Service Cross "in recognition of services at Dunkirk" was gazetted posthumously on 23 April 1918.[9]

Banbury is buried in grave "III.E.5." in Hazebrouck Communal Cemetery, Nord, France.[10]

List of aerial victories[edit]

Combat record[1]
No. Date/Time Aircraft/
Serial No.
Opponent Result Location Notes
1 31 May 1917
@ 1615
Sopwith Pup
C Out of control Ostend Shared with Flight Sub-Lieutenants A. Shearer & Harold Stackard.
2 1 June 1917
@ 0915
Sopwith Pup
Halberstadt C Out of control WestendeGhistelles
3 25 July 1917
@ 1730
Sopwith Camel
C Out of control Off Westende Shared with Flight Sub-Lieutenants John Pinder, Oliver Redgate, Harold Mott, & Snell.
4 5 September 1917
@ 0800
Sopwith Camel
Albatros C Out of control MiddelkerkeNieuport Shared with Flight Commander Stearne Edwards, and Flight Sub-Lieutenants Roy Brown, Oliver Redgate, & Arthur Wood.
5 13 September 1917
@ c.1430
Sopwith Camel
Albatros D.V Out of control East of Leke Shared with Flight Commander Stearne Edwards and Flight Sub-Lieutenants John Hales, Oakley, & Ingleson.
6 28 September 1917
@ 1610
Sopwith Camel
Albatros D.V Destroyed Dixmude Shared with Flight Sub-Lieutenants Oliver Redgate, John Hales, Merrill Taylor, & Cedric Edwards.
7 2 October 1917
@ 1450
Sopwith Camel
C Out of control Ostend—Slype Shared with Flight Sub-Lieutenant Oliver Redgate.
8 27 October 1917
@ 1040
Sopwith Camel
Albatros D.V Out of control Slype Shared with Flight Commanders Stearne Edwards & Harold Stackard, and Flight Sub-Lieutenants Francis Mellersh, John Hales, John Paynter, C. A. Narbeth, Arthur Wood, & Merrill Taylor.
9 28 October 1917
@ 1230
Sopwith Camel
Albatros D.V Destroyed Schoore
10 23 November 1917
@ 1220
Sopwith Camel
Albatros D.V Out of control South of Dixmude Shared with Flight Sub-Lieutenant John Hales.
11 26 March 1918
@ 0725
Sopwith Camel
C Captured 1 mi (1.6 km) South of Becelaere Shared with Flight Sub-Lieutenants Oliver Redgate, Merrill Taylor, & Squire.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Fred Banbury". The Aerodrome. 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  2. ^ "Fred Everest Banbury". Canadian Virtual War Memorial. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  3. ^ "Fred Everest Banbury". University of Toronto Roll of Service 1914–1918. 1921. Retrieved 15 August 2016 – via Canadian Virtual War Memorial. 
  4. ^ "No. 29967". The London Gazette. 2 March 1917. p. 2120. 
  5. ^ "No. 30324". The London Gazette. 5 October 1917. pp. 10296–10297. 
  6. ^ "Royal Naval Air Service: Appointments". Flight. IX (467): 1292. 6 December 1917. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "Honored after Death". Toronto Evening Telegram. 4 July 1918. Retrieved 15 August 2016 – via Canadian Virtual War Memorial. 
  8. ^ Barrass, M. B. (2016). "Casualties – April 1918". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  9. ^ "No. 30654". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 April 1918. p. 5059. 
  10. ^ "Casualty Details: Banbury, Fred Everest". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 15 August 2016.