Edith Purkiss wanted to tell us about her father’s war service. George Johnson Junior was a Richmond lad whose father, also called George had seen active service in Egypt with the West Yorkshire Regiment. The 1911 census shows George Jnr was working as a groom and living in Richmond at 20 Bargate along with his parents and siblings.
George Jnr enlisted into the Yorkshire Regiment on 3rd September 1914. Having survived the First Battle of the Somme unscathed he was later injured at the Second Battle of the Somme in 1918. He lay in no man’s land for a considerable amount of time, wounded, until he was carried to safety by Mr Buchanan who later became manager of Timothy Whites & Taylors chemist shop (now Boots). George was severely wounded in his right leg and left arm, and was sent to a convalescent hospital in Sheffield to recover. His wounds were so severe that he was discharged, aged 24 years on 26th June 1918.
Although he survived, George suffered from ill health due as a result of his wounds all his life. Ironically, he was finally granted a war pension of the day he died, 15th June 1959.
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Submitted by Marcia Howard, a resident of Richmond. Albert William George Clifford was my maternal Grandfather born at Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire in 1886. Prior to his medical discharge in 1916, he was serving in Malta with No.1 Coy, of the Royal Garrison Artillery as a Gunner. He was subsequently presented with the Silver War Badge which in September 1916, King George V had authorised to honour all military personnel who had served at home or overseas since 4 August 1914, and who had been discharged because of wounds or illness. Following his return home to his wife and 2 small children in Gloucestershire, he became Chauffeur to the local doctor, where he also contributed to the recruitment drive popularly known as ‘Your Country Needs You’.
Jane Metcalfe visited the museum and outlined the story of her father, John Smith. He was born in Dundee, Forfar in 1883. After working as a boilermaker, he joined the Royal Engineers on 1 September 1909 and remained in military service until 31 January 1930. He spent time at Catterick Camp one hundred years ago at the time of the garrison’s founding. During the First World War John served in Egypt, before being transferred to the British Expeditionary Force in France. He became a Lance Corporal, and was promoted to Sergeant in April 1917. His record was ‘Exemplary’, and he was described as ‘Extremely honest, sober and reliable. A good organiser and very good in charge of men.’ 1852361 Sergeant John smith was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War medal, the Victory medal, the General Service medal and the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.
Harold was born in 1894 in Well, a small hamlet to the east of Masham in North Yorkshire. He was the eldest of five children of Thomas and Elizabeth Binks. Thomas had also been born in Well, whereas Elizabeth was from Thornton Watlass near Bedale. Thomas was employed as a gamekeeper on the nearby estate of Snape Park. Harold enlisted in Leyburn in 1915 and joined the 13th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. The Battalion mobilised and arrived in France on June 6th 1916. The Battalion went into the front line near Loos and would see action at The Battle of Ancre on the Somme. In 1917 they saw action during the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line and at the Battle of Cambrai. March 21st 1918 saw the start of the German Spring Offensive. At the action between Arras and Bapaume on the 22nd March Private Harold Binks was killed. His body was never recovered. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial. He was 23 years of age.