Private 821979
Royal Norfolk Regiment
1st Battalion
Died 20th July 1944
Aged 31

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

In Memory of

Private 821979,
1st Bn., Royal Norfolk Regiment

who died age 31 on 20 July 1944

Son of Charles and Florence Banwell,
of Carterton, Oxfordshire.



Research by Mrs Jenny McBride - photo and
family information provided his daughter


Originally from Somerset, the Banwells moved to Pontypridd in South Wales before 1861.

Charles Banwell, born in Cardiff in 1886, a French polisher by trade, and Florence Arthur, born in Brynmawr in 1888, were married in 1908 in Pontypridd, South Wales. From 1911 to 1921 they had three daughters and three sons.

Charles then left his wife to bring up six children alone.


John Reginald Banwell was born on the 25th May 1913 in Newport, Gwent.

He enlisted in the Royal Artillery Regiment in August 1931. He served two years in England and three years in India from 1933 to 1937.

He was discharged from his unit "R" Field Battery R.A in Jubbulpore India in November 1937.


He was transferred to the Army Reserves in December 1937 until September 1939. During this time he was a steward at R.A. F Brize Norton which opened in 1937 as a Training Base for RAF personnel and pilots. He was at this time lodging with Mrs Olive Burgess who lived at The Pines, Burford Rd. Carterton.


On the 1st of September 1939 he was recalled to duty and rejoined his regiment [Royal Artillery Reg]

He was posted to France on the 15th of January 1940 and went into action during the Dunkirk Battle and disembarked in France [via a small fishing boat] on the third of June 1940.


Returning to Carterton he married Dorothy Poultney on the 30th of September 1940. During this time his home address was The Rockerie. Burford Rd. Carterton, the home of his wife and her parents who had moved there in 1936.


John and Dorothy had one daughter, who has provided much of this information. She was born late in 1941 and was three years old when her father died. She is married and still lives in Carterton.


John was transferred to the Royal Norfolk Regiment on the 14th of October 1943. This was a transfer from Artillery to an Infantry Regiment. He was sent to France on the 3rd of June 1944 for the Normandy Landings.

He died, aged thirty one, on the 20th of July 1944 as a result of wounds to the stomach.


He is buried near the town of Ranville, north east of Caen in France.

The cemetery contains 2,235 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 97 of them unidentified.


Royal Norfolk Regiment 1st Battalion The Second World War


At the outbreak of War the 1st Battalion was in India. The Battalion was brought back to England in 1940 and, much to their frustration, were allotted to home defence. Finally, they were part of the D Day invasion in June 1944.


The 2nd Battalion and 7th (Territorial) Battalion arrived in France at the beginning of the War as part of the British Expeditionary Force. The 2nd Battalion later served in Burma. The other three territorial battalions, the 4th, 5th and 6th were sent to the Far East.

Three additional battalions were formed in 1939, the 8/30th, 9th and 70th (Young Soldiers) Battalions. The first two were initially made up of 1914 -18 veterans. The 30th Bn served fora short period in North Africa and then from the end of 1942 to January 1946 in Sicily and Italy on garrison and guard duties.


With the very real threat of a German invasion, by the middle of 1943 there were 17 Norfolk Home Guard battalions.

1944 D-Day and the Normandy Landings


In June 1944 men from the Royal Norfolk Regiment were part of the largest single military operation undertaken in history - Operation Overlord. The successful landings on the Normandy coast of France began on the 6th June 1944: D-Day.


The 1st Battalion of the Royal Norfolks formed part of the initial landings on D-Day. They were part of the 185th Brigade in the 3rd Infantry Division alongside the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and the King's Shropshire Light Infantry. The battalion landed on Red Queen Beach (on the left flank of Sword Beach) at 07:25.


The 1st Battalion landed as part of the 3rd Infantry Division on D-Day. The 7th Battalion landed as part of the 59th Infantry Division on the 22nd June. The 65th (Norfolk Yeomanry) anti-tank regiment landed as part of the armoured division on D-Day.


The 7th Battalion was disbanded after two months in France having played a central role in a number of important actions and its men were absorbed into other battalions.


The 1st Battalion continued in the vanguard of the drive through Belgium and Holland and was finally part of the occupying force.




Marriages Jul qtr. 1908

BANWELL Charles Pontypridd 11a 885 ARTHUR Florence



BANWELL, Charles Head Married M 25 1886 French Polisher Glamorgan Cardiff

BANWELL, Florence Wife Married 2 years F 23 1888 Monmouthshire Brynmawr

BANWELL, Elsie Daughter Single F 2 1909 Glamorgan Treforest

BANWELL, Susannah Daughter Single F 0 (4 MONTHS) 1911 Monmouthshire Newport Parish: Newport

Address:162 Chepstow Road Newport Mon. County: Monmouthshire



Births Sep qtr. 1913

Banwell John R Arthur Newport M 11a 444



Information from the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum website at plan.html


These sites cover the ox18 area of Oxfordshire England, including  the following villages, OX18, Alvescot, Bampton, Black Bourton, Burford, Broadwell, Carterton, Clanfield, Kelmscott, Kencot, Langford, Lechlade, RAF Broadwell, Shilton, Parish Pump, Oxfordshire Events,