William Banford was born in Hanley Castle in 1899, the third son of Joseph Banford, a jobbing gardner, later postman, and his wife Maria. The 1901 Census found that family in Poolbrook and in 1911 the family were living at Warners Farm, Barnards Green.
The Great War
William Banford joined the Worcestershire Regiment in early 1917, landed in France and was posted to the 3rd Battalion. The 3rd Worcesters were heavily engaged at the beginning of August in the opening phase of the Passchendaele offensive.
The battalion held a position on a ridge of higher ground at Westhoek outside Ypres on the Menin Road. They were to relieve units the 8th Division when ordered. From the 1st August to the 5th they held firm through heavy rainfall and continuous enemy shell fire. The regimental history records:
“All night the front of the ridge was plastered with gas-shells of a new type which caused many casualties. the removal of the wounded was most difficult through the deep slime into which the sodden clay was fast being converted.”
When the Battalion was finally relieved after dark on the 5th, they had lost 22 men killed and 106 wounded (including three officers). Although it is not clear exactly when Banford received his fatal wounds, he died of a gun shot wound to the back at No 3 Casualty Clearing Station in the early hours of Friday, 3rd August 1917.
The Malvern News reported the following on the 11th August 1917:
“Mr J Banford, of Holland House, Malvern has received intimation that his youngest son, a private in the Worcestershire Regiment has been killed in action, aged 19.”
Banford was buried at Lijessenthoek Military Cemetery, the location of No 3 CCS.
After the war, in applying for a war pension, his mother gave her address as 2 Lorne Villas, Upper Chase Road, Malvern.
Malvern News 11/8/17
Stacke, Capt H FitzM The Worcestershire Regiment in the Great War Kidderminster 1921