Name:Rank:Service:Date of Birth:Place of Birth:Date of Enlistment:Place of Enlistment:Address at Enlistment:Age at Enlistment:Height:Complexion:Eyes:Hair:Trade:Religion:Marital Status:Next of Kin:Date of Death:Age at Death;Memorial:Memorial Reference:Additional Information:
Merle Alexander Banks Able SeamanHMCS Louisburg (K143)Royal Canadian Navy ReserveApril 16, 1904Torbrook Mines, Annapolis Co., NSDecember 11, 1939 (Canadian Army)Regimental Number: K 37244August 20, 1941(Royal Canadian Naval Reserve; Toronto)Vancouver, BCVancouver, BC355 feet, 10 inchesdarkbluedarkSeamanChurch of EnglandMarriedDoris Edith Banks (Wife) Vancouver, BCFebruary 6, 1943 38Halifax MemorialPanel 7Commemorated on Page 134 of of the Second World War Book of RemembranceDisplayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on March 21(In official military records “Merl Alexander”) Merle was the son of Joseph Domock Banks and Amy Demont Banks (d. October 1934) of Torbrook Mines, Annapolis Co., NS. He was the brother of Jack Standish Banks, Leon Demont Banks, Claude Wilson Banks and Chester Langley Banks. Jack Standish Banks served in the RCAF and was killed in an air crash while serving in England on June 3, 1943. Claude Wilson Banks served with the Canadian Army overseas during WWII.Merle lived in Nova Scotia during his early childhood, and for ten years in the United States while employed as a seaman. He lived in British Columbia between 1934 and 1941. On April 9, 1935 he married Doris Francis Edith Banks in Vancouver. He was the father of Joan Estelle, born June 19, 1937.Merle first enlisted with the Duke of Connaught’s Own Rifles (28th Armoured Regiment in Vancouver, BC in December 1939 and served with the Canadian Army until August 4, 1941. He applied for a transfer to the Royal Canadian Navy in Toronto on July 28, 1941 stating that “I can be infinitely more valuable in some capacity in the Naval Service, than I can ever be in the army.” Merle held a Certificate of Able Seaman (No. 153567) and Certificate of Efficiency to Life boat man (No. 156110) and held certificates of Honourable Discharge from ships he had been employed on since 1922. He was given that transfer to the Royal Canadian Volunteer Reserve on August 5, 1941. He joined HMCS Louisburg as Able Seaman on October 2, 1941.HMCS Louisburg left Glasgow for Algeria with convoy KMS-8 in mid January 1943. The day after leaving Gibraltar, on the afternoon of February 6, 1943 near Cape Tenes, Louisburg was attacked by two separate formations of German planes. Hit by bombs and torpedoes Louisburg sank. From a crew of 109 there were thirty-seven fatalities, many caused when the Louisburg’s depth charges detonated as she sank. The Commander of the ship, Lt. Cdr. William Franklin Campbell, RCNVR was last seen entering the mess decks to check for survivors who had not yet followed his order to abandon ship. The Louisburg was the only Canadian naval vessel lost through enemy aircraft action during the war. Six Nova Scotians, including Merle Alexander Banks, lost their lives on February 6, 1943.