Across the Channel: Memoirs of Major-General Sir Donald Banks
Foreword by Sir Richard Collas, Bailiff of Guernsey.
There can be few individuals who have been at the centre of so many momentous events of the 20th century. As an officer in both world wars, Sir Donald Banks, KCB DSO MC TD (1891-1975) led his men through the Battle of the Somme and the evacuation of Dunkirk. As Director of the Petroleum Warfare Department, he developed innovative uses for the nation’s fuel stocks which contributed to the success of the liberation of Europe.
At the General Post Office, together with Postmaster General, Sir Kingsley Wood, he transformed the GPO from a Victorian public service into a more business-like 20th Century organisation; including the introduction of off-peak call rates, the speaking clock, the emergency services (‘999’), airmail, and the national roll-out of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s iconic red telephone kiosk design. At the Air Ministry, he was responsible for the rearmament of the RAF during the 1930s without which the country would have been ill-prepared for the Battle of Britain.
Sir Donald Banks wrote these memoirs during his retirement in the 1960s. They are being published for the first time to coincide with the unveiling of a blue plaque on his childhood home in St Peter Port, Guernsey.
By Major-General Sir Donald Banks