Bertram Banham was born in Marylebone, London in May 1887 and worked as a cycle makers assistant Enlisting with the Royal Army Medical Corps in London on 4 Oct 1905, Banham entered France on 17 Oct 1914 and served with at the No.8 General Hospital at Rouen. and the 14 Stat. Hosp. He was granted leave to be married in Sep 1915, as, 'At the commencement of hostilities, this N.C.O. was serving in South Africa and drafted to France in Sep 1914. He has not been in England since 1909 and is most anxious to go home for the purpose of getting married'. Discharged as no longer physically fit for service on 14 Mar 1917, Banham's papers record him as having a 'bullet wound left shoulder'.
Banham then joined the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1921, as referenced in a letter from Captain Shewick-Brealey: "Banham has served with me for a period of fourteen months during which time he acted as my chaffeur whenever necessary. He has experience with all types of cars, from Ford to Rolls Royce. Driving in Ireland under trying conditions with gaping trenches and broken bridges, Banham has never had one mishap. He is a good all 'round driver and mechanic and deserves to succeed in his quest for employment. - 15 Feb 1922."