Lee Andrew Banks (1894-1956)

by Ti’Aja Russell

Lee Andrew Banks was born March 12, 1894 in Yorktown, Virginia. He was raised by his parents John and Mary Banks along with his eight other siblings. Lee was the sixth child. Lee married Mattie Banks, the only child of Henry and Ada Gilliam, on November 28, 1932 in Norfolk Virginia. She was born November 10, 1902 in North Carolina. Lee and Mattie did not have any children.

In his early life before joining the military Lee Andrew Banks’ occupation was a Longshoreman. A longshoreman was a person who loads and unloads cargo onto ships at a dock or port. Also called dockers or dock workers, longshoremen made up an integral part of the workforce in the shipping and receiving industry. Lee Banks’ highest education was public school.

Lee enlisted in the Army on August 8, 1918 in Norfolk, Virginia as a private engineer. On July 25, 1919 Lee Andrew Banks was sent to Camp Humphreys, New York for training then transferred to Camp Merrit, New Jersey, assigned to the 540 Company.

Banks was a young private when he had his first deployment, he left from Hoboken, NJ on the USS Levorland and arrived at London, England on November 3, then proceeded to Evansville, France to Marseilles to Mermias, to the United States in 1919.

On May 14, 1954 at the age of 62 Lee passed away. His cause of death was by Epidermis carcinoma of the esophagus with metastases to lungs, mediastinal, and cervical lymph nodes. He spent 15 days in the VA Hospital before he passed away in Hampton, Virginia. Nine years later, on November 4, 1965 his wife passed away also at the age of 62.


“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYY2-336W?cc=1968530&wc=9F4Y-RMS%3A928355001%2C928674101 : 24 August 2019), Virginia > Norfolk City no 3; B-Watson, Samuel > image 83 of 5790; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

“Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C95D-7X85?cc=2377565&wc=H94Z-PD1%3A1529115497%2C1529678002 : 20 August 2018), Hampton (Ind. City) > 1956 > image 400 of 498; from “Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.

“Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVYG-M86T : 16 August 2019), Mattie Banks, 04 Nov 1965; from “Virginia, Marriage Records, 1700-1850,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia, United States, entry #, Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.


Ti’Aja Russell is an ROTC cadet at Norfolk State University.