William Banham, the son of a Chelmsford High Street butcher, worked at Hoffmann’s, joined the army and served as a dispatch rider, was discharged on health grounds and died in Danbury from tuberculosis in 1920. He is not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. A brother was killed in the war.

William was born in Chelmsford on 21st February 1898, the third son of the butcher Daniel Youngs Banham and Alice Clara Banham (nee Harvey). William’s father had been born in 1857 in Harwich; his mother in 1870 in Chelmsford.

The couple had married on 8th February 1892 at St. John’s Church, Moulsham, when William’s father was aged 33, a butcher of Chelmsford, and the son of John Banham, also a butcher. His mother was aged 22, of Baddow Road, Chelmsford, and the daughter of Walter Joseph Harvey, a warehouseman.

William was christened at St John’s Church, Moulsham on 30th April 1898. At the time his father was a butcher of 44 High Street, Chelmsford. William’s siblings, all Chelmsford-born, included John Banham (born in 1894), Frank Banham (born in 1896) and Hubert Banham (born in 1899).

The 1901 census found William at 44 High Street, aged three, living with his parents three siblings, an uncle and two servants. His father was a butcher (slaughter-man), while his uncle and one of the servants were butchers.

William’s mother died in 1902. His father married Grace Mary Major (born in Brightlingsea in 1864) in 1909.

William was educated privately at Chelmsford College and then at King Edward VI’s Grammar School, Chelmsford from 28th June 1910 when he entered Form II as a day scholar. At the time his father remained a butcher of 44 High Street. William stayed at the Grammar School until 3rd December 1912, when at the age of 14, he left Form III to continue his education at Earl’s Colne Grammar School. His brother Hubert was there for the same period.

During that time the 1911 census had recorded 13 year-old William living with his father, step-mother, three brothers, a servant and a cousin at 44 High Street. Hubert’s father was a master butcher. His brothers john and Frank were his assistants.

William’s father died in 1917. The latter’s death was recorded in a family announcement in the Essex County Chronicle on 2nd March 1917:

“Banham. - At 44 High Street, Chelmsford, on Feb. 28th, Daniel Banham, aged 59 years, of heart failure. Funeral Monday afternoon, Borough Cemetery, 3 o’ clock. No flowers by special request.”

The same edition also reported:

“Death of Mr. D. Banham. - Mr. Daniel Banham, butcher of High Street, died on Tuesday night, at the age of 59, from heart failure. A native of Braintree, he came to Chelmsford about 40 years ago, and built up an extensive business. He was kind-hearted man, and a friend to the poor. Two of his four sons are serving at the Front. He was twice married, and his second wife survives him. The funeral will take place on Monday at the WRittle Road Cemetery at 3 p.m.”

A similar report was carried by the day’s Essex Weekly News:

“Tradesman’s death. - We regret to record the death of Mr. Daniel Banham, butcher, of High-street, which occurred on Tuesday night, The deceased. who was 59 years of age, was a native of Braintree, but had lived in Chelmsford for many years. He had been ill for about a year and had not been downstairs since Boxing-day. He leaves a widow and four sons, two of whom are in the Army. - The funeral will take place at the Borough Cemetery at three o’clock on Monday.”

William’s father left a considerable estate, valued at £12,867 6s 5d.

William joined the army on 31st May 1916 and served as Private M2/182871 in the Royal Army Service Corps, before being discharged on medical grounds on 16th September 1919. He saw service overseas and was entitled to the Victory and British War medals and war badge B311850.


Private, Royal Army Service Corps

His brother Hubert died from wounds on 20th November 1918.

William died, aged 22, on 27th September 1920 from pulmonary tuberculosis, at Rosemont in Danbury. His death certificate described him as an army pensioner, formerly an organist’s tuner of 44 High Street, Chelmsford. The death was registered by his brother Frank. William’s estate was valued at £3,463 12s 6d.

News of his death was covered by the Essex Chronicle of 1st October 1920:

"The late Mr. W. Banham. - The death took place on Monday of Mr. William Banham, third son of the late Mr. D, Banham, for many years a well-known butcher of High Street. The deceased, who was 22 years of age, enlisted early in the war in the A.S.C. (M.T.), and served in France as a dispatch rider after a very brief training in England. Following a severe illness, he was dischared as unfot last year, and he never fully recovered. Before the war he was employed by the Hoffmann Manufacturing Co. as an engineer. His two brother now carry on the business of their late father. The funeral took place yesterday at the Borough Cemetery, the Rev. T. G. Ogilvie (Baddow Road Congregational Church) officiating. The mouners were: Mrs. Banham, step-mother; Mr. Frank Banham, brother; Mr. and Mrs. John Banham, brother and sister-in-law; Mr. William Banham, cousin; Mr. Edward Banham,, uncle; Miss Queenie Fewell, Miss Wright, Nurse Leatherdale, and Mr. S. Brazier. Other sympathizers present included Messrs. E. Barnard, F. E. Blakeley, Lionel Creasy, A. S. Cutis, S. Fewell, C. Gentry, H. Jackson. T. Loveday, F. W. Spinks, and A Steele jin. (Southend), Messrs. C. Barnard, C. Gooday and H. Oliver, employees at the High Street shop, also attended."

The day’s Essex Weekly News reported:

“Young Chelmsfordian’s death - The death of Mr. William Banham, third son of the late Mr. D. Banham, butcher, of High-st., Chelmsford, occurred on Monday. Deceased, who was only 22 years of age, served through a considerable part of the war as a dispatch rider, and was discharged a year ago as being totally unfit. Prior to his joining up he was employed at Messrs. Hoffmann’s as an engineer, and was well known and popular among a large circle of friends. Since his discharge from the Army, he, had been unable to follow any occupation, and gradually became worse. - The funeral took place yesterday at the Borough Cemetery, Rev. T. G. Ogilvie officiating. The mourners were as follows: Mrs. Banham, step-mother; Mr. and Mrs. J. Banham, brother and sister-in-law; Mr. F. Banham. brother; Miss Fewell, fiancee; Miss Wright; Nurse Leatherdale; Mr. William Banham, cousin; Mr. Edward Banham,uncle; Mr. A,. Steele, Southend, a great friend of deceased; Mr. S. Brazier and Mr. W. Fincham. Among others present were Messrs. C. Barnard, C. Goodey, and W. Oliver, employees; A. S. Cutts, T. Loveday, E. Barnward, S. Fewell. C. W. Westlake, L. Creasy, F. E. Blakesly, H. Jackson, G. Fewell. C. Gentry, and F. W. Spinks. Floral tributes were received, among others, from the staff at the High-st., shop and the staff of Messrs. Cleale and Hadler, where deceased was formerly employed.”

William is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford, but is not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The 1918 register of electors listed William’s brother, John and step-mother Grace Mary Banham at 44 High Street.