William George Hawtry Bankes was was born on the 11 September 1836, the fifth child of George Bankes M.P. and Georgina Charlotte Nugent. Educated at Temple Grove and Westminster School. William chose a life in the Military. George Bankes died in 1856 and in the spring of 1857 William enlisted at Aldershot as Cornet Bankes of the 7th Queen’s Own Hussars.
This was the time of the Indian Mutiny and on 27th August 1857 the regiment sailed for India aboard the clipper ‘Lightning’, arriving at Calcutta on November the 25th. The troops disembarked on December 1st and moved into Fort William. The regiment first saw action in Febrarur 1858 when escorting convoys between Cownpore and Lucknow
“On 19 March 1858 at Lucknow, India during the Indian Mutiny, Cornet Bankes led three charges against a body of fanatical rebels who had rushed the guns in the vicinity of Moosa-Bagh. In the course of these charges the young officer was almost cut to pieces. He died of his wounds 18 days later.”
Following the action he was transferred to the Military Hospital where he had his right arm and right leg amputated, and the remainder of his wounds treated. His recovery was so good that whilst talking with the war correspondent, William Howard Russell, he spoke of going sailing upon his return to England. Unfortunately on April the 6th 1858 Cornet William George Hawtry Bankes died from infection to his wounds.
The award was presented personally to his mother by Queen Victoria at the family home of Kingston Lacey House, Dorset and is now on display at The Queen’s Own Hussars Museum. William was commemorated by his brother officers of the 7th Hussars with a marble monument was placed in Wimborne Minster, Dorset
to the memory of
WILLIAM GEORGE HAWTREY BANKES, V.C.
cornet 7th Hussars,
the 5th son of
the late Right Honble. GEORGE BANKES, MP
of Corfe Castle and Kingston Lacy, county of Dorset.
He fell mortally wounded
whilst charging a body of rebels near Lucknow
on the 19th March, and died on the 6th April, 1858,
aged 21 years.
is erected by his brother officers
as a token of personal regard and esteem.
There is also a stained glass window in the parish church of St. Nicholas at Studland providing a memorial to the son of deceased M.P. George Bankes.