Shanks, John Bassett (No. 123999)

Shanks, John Bassett (John)


No. 123999, 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion

Died of wounds on Wednesday 28 August 1918 (aged 20)


Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, France (Grave IV. D. 58)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Canadian Virtual War Memorial (CVWM)

Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance

Portaferry (Ballyphilip) Parish Church of Ireland Church (St James)


John Bassett Shanks was born on 30 April 1898 in Portaferry and he was a son of John Bassett Shanks and Elizabeth Shanks (nee Reid, born in Liverpool) who were married on 14 December 1893 in Ballyphilip Parish Church of Ireland Church.  John Bassett Shanks from Portaferry was a sailor and he was a son of Nicholas Shanks, a farmer.  Elizabeth Reid from Portaferry was a daughter of James Reid, a labourer.

The Shanks family lived in Portaferry.

John Bassett Shanks Senior worked as a farmer and shopkeeper and he and Elizabeth had at least four children:

William James (born 21 July 1895 in Portaferry)

Mary Anne (May, born 11 August 1896 in Portaferry)

John Bassett (born 30 April 1898 in Portaferry)

James Henry (born 10 February 1899 in Portaferry)

John Bassett Shanks Senior died of tuberculosis in Fort Breda, Belfast on 5 January 1903 (aged 40).

John Bassett Shanks Junior moved to Canada where he worked as a farm labourer before the outbreak of the Great War.  He enlisted on 30 September 1915 in Lucan, Ontario and in his attestation papers it was noted that he was 5 feet 3 inches tall with a dark complexion, brown eyes and dark hair.  As his next-of-kin he cited his elder brother William who was serving aboard HMS Nelson.  Later, his sister, May Shanks was named in his service papers, and her addresses were 101 Greenwell Street, Newtownards and 37 East Bread Street, Belfast.

Private John Shanks (No. 123999) served with the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion, he landed in France on 6 June 1916 and was reported wounded on 8 July 1916.

Private John Shanks (No. 123999) had sustained gunshot wounds to his hip, arms and side.  He was treated in Coombe Lodge Auxiliary Hospital in Great Wharley, Essex where he underwent an operation for the removal of shrapnel, then he was transferred to Colchester General Military Hospital and then to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital, Woodcote Park, Epsom.  He was discharged from hospital on 10 November 1916, he returned to France on 22 February 1917 and he re-joined his Unit on 4 April 1917.

Private John Shanks (No. 123999) sustained severe gunshot wounds to his back and he died in 42 Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) on 28 August 1918.  He was buried in Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, France and he is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial (CVWM); in the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance and in Portaferry (Ballyphilip) Parish Church of Ireland Church (St James).