James Albert Banister signature

James Albert Banister signed up in Belleville on this day in 1916. He was born in Prince Edward County in 1902 (he claimed 1898), the son of Alexander Banister (whose mother was Mohawk) and Mary Louisa (née Smart), a Mohawk. Alexander had left his family in 1913, according to his son. His home address was Shannonville.

Banister joined the 235th Battalion with the regimental number 1027583. He was five feet six and a half inches tall, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair. His service record shows that he arrived in England on the SS Megantic on May 14th, 1917.

Banister never served in France: he seems to have spent much of his time overseas in hospital in England with various infections. In November 1917 he was sent back to Canada. This was explained in a second service file, where it appears that his true age had been detected. He was transferred to No. 3 Special Service Company, but went absent without leave in December 1917 and was struck off as a deserter on January 8th, 1918.