Private Rupert Bannister
9th Machine Gun Company, AIF
Service Number: 2036
Born: 4 July 1889, Penrith, NSW
Died: 8 June 1917, Messines, Belgium
Rupert Bannister was born in Penrith on 4 July 1889 and baptised at St Stephens Anglican Church Penrith. His parents, William and Mary Bannister had migrated from Wigan, Lancashire in 1883 and settled in Penrith. William, a fireman worked for the NSW Railway Department and his mother sold milk from her dairy to local residents. They lived in Brown Street Penrith. They also had 9 acres on the York Estate. Bannister attended Penrith Public School along with his siblings. In 1900 William and Mary divorced with William citing railway man Joseph Grundy as co-respondent. In 1905, Mary Bannister married local man David Webb (son of William and Mary Webb). Webb joined the AIF in 1915 and served overseas until 1917. During that time Mary Webb lived in Belmore Street Penrith. Webb died in 1926 and Mary in 1941. They are both buried in the Anglican section of Penrith general cemetery. Bottom of Form
At the time of his enlistment, Bannister was working for the Maunder family at Duri, south of Tamworth, where he had lived for many years. At his farewell from the district, Ada Maunder placed a wrist watch on his arm and he was presented with gifts from the Duri community. After his death, the Maunder family placed a memorial to him in their local newspaper.
Bannister enlisted on 11 April 1916 at Armidale and listed his father, who was living in Clyde Street Granville, as his next of kin. He was posted to 33rd Battalion, 3rd Reinforcements and embarked on 24 August 1916 on HMAT Anchises. He disembarked at Devonport, England on 11 October 1916. He was transferred to 9th Machine Gun Company on 18 January 1917. Bannister was killed in action on 8 June 1917 at Messines in Belgium. Around the same time, his brother Harold was in Weymouth Hospital suffering from rheumatism contracted at the front. He would remain overseas until 1918.
For many years after his death, Bannister’s mother and sister inserted an In Memoriam in the Nepean Times to his memory.
- Toronto Avenue Cemetery, Warneton, Belgium
- Honor Roll, Penrith Public School
- Honor Roll, Memory Park, Penrith
- Honor Roll, Tamworth War Memorial
National Archives of Australia: B2455, BANNISTER R T A