Story from Harry Binks, via Val Slater of Coverdale. Harry was named after his father, whose story is outlined below.
My father, Harry Binks, was born at Highfield in Carlton on 11 September 1893, a short while before his twin brother Thomas. The 1901 Census recorded the family still at Highfield where my grandfather Thomas was farming, but shortly afterwards they moved to Lane House on the edge of the village. Harry went to Horsehouse school. In 1911 the family was living at Lilac Farm (House) – now Abbots Thorn – but Harry was not at home. He would have been working away as a farm labourer in Kettlewell; however he has not been found on the Census.
On 11 December 1915 Harry enlisted at Leyburn. His address was Lilac House, Carlton and next of kin his mother Elizabeth Binks – his father having died in 1912. Harry’s occupation was farm hand. He was assigned to the Yorkshire Regiment – “The Green Howards” – and posted to France in October 1916, fighting at the Western Front until April 1917.
Harry returned to France in September 1917 where the main focus was the Third Battle of Ypres, including the infamous Battle of Passchendaele. In December Harry was injured by gun shot wounds to his right thigh. After treatment he was deemed no longer physically fit for war service and discharged to the reserve in June 1918.
At the end of the war Harry was in the Slough area where a number of Leyland trucks were surplus to requirements. They were basic vehicles, prone to mechanical problems, but Harry managed to drive one back to Carlton. This was the start of his career in the road haulage business.
In those days there was no petrol pump in Carlton. At first Harry had to arrange for fuel to be brought from Leyburn in two gallon tins by horse and cart! He soon installed a pump in the village, also stocked paraffin, and delivered coal around the area. Harry married Ethel Calvert at Coverham church on 12 January 1924. They were both residents of Carlton, aged 30 and Harry’s occupation was “motor proprietor.” They had two sons – myself, Harry, and my younger brother Norman. An important weekly trip for Harry was on Fridays when he travelled to Leyburn. Having fixed a frame and canvas top over the back of the wagon he was loaded up with rabbits, hens and eggs for the market. He always parked near the Bolton Arms where buyers from towns such as Darlington were eager to purchase.
On Saturdays benches were installed as Harry took football teams to their fixtures. In the evening he drove the young folk of Coverdale to the pictures or local dances.
Much of Harry’s business developed around the transportation of animal feed. Lorries loaded the feed at factories near Hull and brought it back to the Dales and into Cumbria. The company moved to its present site at Harmby in 1963. Norman and myself both joined the business which is now managed by Norman’s son.
In semi retirement Harry still enjoyed keeping in touch with his farming roots. He bought young bullocks at Leyburn mart, raising them in a field near his house until they were ready to sell on. On more than one occasion we had to round them up when they managed to escape!
Harry’s contribution in the war was important to him. He kept his discharge papers and character certificate which are treasured possessions in the family. He saw an opportunity at the end of the war, took his chance and through hard work built a successful and respected business.
My father Harry died on 20th September 1975 aged 82. Ethel, my mother, died on 14th February 1984 aged 90.
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Submitted by Robert Amis. Captain Henry Amis (Robert’s grandfather) was commissioned into the 5th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant on 12 March 1915, Henry Amis transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. Family legend has it that 2Lt Amis was prone to crashing, which may account for his transfer back to the Yorkshire Regiment. The then Captain Amis was again serving with the 5th Battalion when on 28 October 1917 he was wounded and evacuated, suffering from the effects of mustard gas. Once he had recovered, he returned to the front line where he faced Germany’s final throw of the dice, the so called ‘Kaiser’s battle’ which was unleashed on 21 March 1918. Henry and the 5th battalion were in the thick of the fighting; trying to hold back the German advance. On 27 May 1918 he, along with 24 other officers and 638 Other Ranks, was declared missing. Amongst the papers donated to the museum by Robert is the diary of Captain Amis’ girlfriend, Dorothy Beckton. On 10 June 1918 she wrote… ‘Telegram saying my H G missing. I felt a sort of stunned at first…A horrible time of despondency, but there is really no need. I think my darling boy is almost sure to be a prisoner in Germany. It is rather heavy waiting but as soon as I can hear that he is safe, will be alright. And we shall be able to make up afterwards. I hope they will treat the dear old…
William was the son of William and Mary Rutley of 8 Mabal Street, Middlesbrough. He enlisted in late 1914 and was posted to the 8th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. The 8th Battalion left for France in late August 1915 and occupied trenches in the La Rolanderie and Bois-Greniers districts throughout October, November and December. William is reported to have died of wounds on December 16th. He was 22 years of age. He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He was buried at Sailly-sur-la Lys Canadian Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais.
John Malcolm Osborne, submitter Jackie Wilson’s father, was born on 14th October 1888 to Frederick Osborne and Lydia Lindridge in Goudhurst Kent, having 7 siblings. In 1911 he was living at home in Goudhurst, Kent working as a motor mechanic. During the First World War he joined the Royal Naval Air Service on the 22nd October 1915 with the service numbers of 208815 and F 8815, before the creation of the Royal Air Force by the merger of the RNAS and the Royal Flying Corps on 1 April 1918. His papers record that he was five feet seven and a half inches tall, had brown hair and grey eyes, with a fresh complexion. He was stationed at President II, a shore based depot at White City, London. When called to a Zeppelin crash site, John removed the propeller as a souvenir. At a later date the propeller was fashioned into a walking stick. A clock was also made from the remains of the propeller, owned by Jackie’s Godfather. John Osborne was transferred to the reserve in April 1919 and discharged April 1920. John married Florence Huddlestone in Shepherd’s Bush, London, 3rd March 1918. In the 1930s he lived in Hammersmith with his wife before they moved to Cambridge. He died on the 4th February 1953 at Chesterton Hospital, Cambridge, leaving effects of £224 14s 6d to his widow Florence Maud Osborne.