The son of Helen Agnes and Charles P. Banks, schoolmaster and owner of Arnold House Preparatory School in Llanddulas, Denbigh, Wales, Charles Chaplin Banks served with the 5th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers before joining the Royal Flying Corps in October 1916. He scored 10 victories flying the Sopwith Camel. Serving with 44 Squadron, he scored his first victory over a Gotha bomber (938/16) in January 1918 and was awarded the Military Cross (MC). He joined 43 Squadron in France in February 1918 and was the first pilot to down a Friedrickshafen two-seater. In September 1918, Banks began flying the Sopwith Snipe, claiming three more victories by the end of the war.
Birth registered in 1st quarter of 1894 at Hampstead, Middlesex; 1901 residence at Kendal, Westmorland.
Banks' younger brother, Arthur Chaplin Banks, who served with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, was killed in action on 22 June 1916. He was 20. His name appears on a small plaque at the Llanddulas War Memorial on the A457 in a fenced enclosure opposite the Royal British Legion Club. He was buried in the Gorre British and Indian Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France - Plot II, Row A, Grave 1.
Banks' son Arthur, a fighter pilot during World War II, was shot down, captured and executed by the enemy.
Military Cross (MC)
T./Capt. George Henry Hackwill, Gen. List and R.F.C.
Lt. Charles Chaplin Banks, R. Welsh Fus., and R.F.C.
For conspicuous gallantry displayed when they engaged and shot down a Gotha raiding London.
During the engagement, which lasted a considerable time, they were continually under fire from the enemy machine.
Lieut. (A./Capt.) Charles Chaplin Banks,
A brilliant and skilful airman who has been conspicuous for his success in aerial combats. On 30th October he, single handed, engaged five enemy aeroplanes and drove one down out of control. In the fight his aileron controls were shot away, but by skilful handling and with cool presence of mind he brought his machine back and made a successful landing. In addition to the above Capt. Banks has accounted for nine other enemy machines.
(M.C. gazetted 9th February, 1918.).