Our Patrons

Sir Thomas MacDonald “Donald” Banks KCB DSO MC TD (1891-1975)

2019 sees the 10th Essex aquiring two new patrons, Melanie Dodd and Miranda Banks. They are both decendants of Major General Sir Donald Banks KCB, DSO, MC and TD.

Here are some words from Melanie Dodd, daughter of Sir Donald Banks:

It is an honour to be invited to become a patron of the 10th Essex Living History Group and it is with much pleasure I have accepted.

My father served with the 10th Essex Battalion in France during the First World War and somehow survived the carnage of the fighting when so many of his fellow soldiers were killed in action beside him. At the outset of war he was a private with the London Yeomanry but was soon transferred to the 10th Essex . By the time hostilities came to an end in 1918 he had risen up through the ranks to become Lieutenant-Colonel T.M.Banks DSO MC and was in command.

In the aftermath of the war ‘With the 10th Essex in France’ was co-written by my father and a fellow officer. Their story of the battalion, with its many triumphs and tragedies, has become the principal source of inspiration for the 10th Essex Living History Group and is referred to as their ‘bible’. An original copy of the book, which once belonged to my father, is now a treasured possession of mine.

I first met with the 10th Essex Living History Group when my husband, niece and I travelled to East Sussex to see them stage a re-enactment at the home of Rudyard Kipling. The second meeting took place in Preux-au-Bois, a village situated in northern France not far from the Belgian border. This was on the occasion to commemorate the Centenary of the Armistice as well as inaugurate a memorial plaque dedicated to the 10th Essex Battalion which had liberated the village on the 4th November 1918. It was a great pleasure to see the 10th Essex LHG again and have them in official attendance at this very special event.

On each occasion I have been hugely impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication shown by the 10th Essex LHG. As someone who, when they were young, knew very little about the First World War, I wholeheartedly endorse their educational ethos as well as their aim to perpetuate the memory of the brave British Tommy.

Sincerely

Melanie Dodd


Here are a few words from Miranda Banks, Grand-daughter of Sir Donald Banks:

‘It is with great pleasure and a feeling of privilege to accept the invitation from the 10th Essex LHG to be their patron.

Major General Sir Donald Banks KCB, DSO, MC, TD was a legend to us, the little family of Banks.  He was also ‘Grandpa’, whose post continued to arrive at home for him long after he died, thus perpetuating a fascination for me with the life of a man whom I had only met through envelope labels and old family photographs.  He was an extraordinary person who had lived through horrifying times and yet had done extraordinary things with other extraordinary people.  He was Commanding Officer of the 10th Essex in France during WW1, a group of men who would never have described themselves as anything other than ordinary, but who endured and achieved on a scale that those of us who live their legacy can only wonder.

I first had the delight of meeting the 10th Essex Living History Group (LHG) when they performed re-enactments at Bateman’s, Rudyard Kipling’s home for a public demonstration and exhibition.  It was evident in their enthusiasm and professionalism that they had found a way to honour the lads from the 10th Essex; educate and entertain their current-day audience and, really rather wonderfully, re-create in no small part that feeling of camaraderie and team that the original 10th Essex battalion truly embodied.  When my aunt and I were invited to the 100 year anniversary of Armistice Day and commemoration of the 10th Essex’ achievements in Preux-au-Bois this year, it was brilliant to see the 10th Essex LHG in full regalia and presence.  The past truly did come alive.

I look forward to learning more of the 10th Essex LHG and supporting their endeavours as joint patron.

Sincerely

Miranda Banks


Many thanks to both Melanie and Miranda for becoming our new patrons.

If you would like to read more about this remarkable man then please follow the link below:

Click here to read more about Major General Sir Donald Banks