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.
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The Stansfeld family have many connections with the regiment. Both Thomas and his brother older brother ‘Jock’ served with the regiment in 1880s and 1890s. Thomas’ son and nephew also joined the regiment and both saw action in the Second World War. Thomas Wolryche Stansfeld was born in Leeds in 1877. He joined the regiment in 1897 and quickly rose to the rank of Captain. Stansfeld fought in the War in South Africa including the Battle of Paardeberg. Stansfeld was a skilled rider and joined the regiment’s Mounted Infantry Battalion. He was involved in many actions against the Boers, including the capture of the Elandsfontein railway station near Johannesburg. He narrowly escaped death when a bullet smashed into his cigarette case, leaving him unharmed. Stansfeld’s battlefield experiences were a major asset to the regiment in the First World War. During the First Battle of Ypres he ordered his company to rapidly fire at different intervals; fooling the Germans into believing that they were facing a nest of machine guns. Stansfeld survived the battle and fought throughout the First World War. After the war Stansfeld held a number of senior posts, including Commandant of the Small Arms School at Hythe. He retired from the Army in 1929 and died on the 23rd February 1935.
John O’Hern is buried in Reeth Road cemetery, Richmond. He died of his wounds after the end of the First World War on 1 February 1919. He entered into service at the age of 29 years and 9 months while living at Mill Lane in Richmond. He worked at the paper mill and had also previously served in the 4th Territorial Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. His medal card shows his original regimental number (1669) and also his later number (200238) – as the 4th Battalion issued new nubmers in 1917. He was tried by Court Martial at Baizeiux on 9 October for being drunk on parade – after 6 days confinement he paid a 10 shilling fine. The card shows that not only did he receive the three well known medals nicknamed ‘Pip, Squeak and Wilfred’ – so called after a cartoon strip in the Daily Mirror, but also a Silver War badge due to his injuries towards the end of the war. Owing to a terrible gunshot wound to the spine, John O’Hern became paralysed. A bullet was removed from his spine through surgery in April 1918, but he died as a result of this battlefield injury months later.
Submitted by Paul Elliott. My grandfather, Norton Elliott, was born in Rothwell, near Leeds, in 1890 and worked as a miner. In August 1914, at the outbreak of was, he joined the RAMC, but transferred to the RFC in July 1915. He became a mechanic and was promoted to Sergeant in August 1916 and to Flight Sergeant and Chief Mechanic in 1918. He subsequently became a specialist driver and served in the RAF until 1923. He married Evelyne Dobson in 1919. I know nothing of where he served or in which squadrons. At the outbreak of World War 2 he ran away from home to re-join the RAF at the age of 49. My grandmother was reputed to be something of a dragon. He again achieved the rank of Flight Sergeant and served until 1944. He died of cancer in 1970 at the age of 79.