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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Researched by John Mills. Flora Sandes was the only woman to officially fight on the front line during WW1, having joined the Serbian Army. Flora was born on the 26th January 1876 in Nether Poppleton, near York, the youngest of eight children. From an early age she exhibited an adventurous nature, a real tomboy, somewhat surprising for the daughter of a vicar! At the aged of 9 the family moved to rural Suffolk. Even her middle class upbringing didn’t dull her desire for adventure. After school she trained as a stenographer in London and scrapped together all her money, and together with the proceeds of a legacy from an uncle she went off to see the world travelling to places like Egypt, Canada and America. Flora was 38 years old when WW1 broke out and was living in London at the time. She enlisted as an Ambulance Service Volunteer and just 8 days later she was on her way to Serbia with the first volunteer unit to leave Britain. She worked in Military Hospitals and by October 1915 was fluent in the Serbian language. She eventually enlisted in the Serbian Army, one of the few countries in the world that accepted female soldiers. She soon made a name for herself, rising through the ranks to Sergeant within a year. It wasn’t just soldiering that Flora matched her male counterparts. She could hold her own racing cars, shooting, smoking and drinking. She survived the front line fighting, received a terrible shrapnel…
Joseph was born around 1897 in Aysgarth North Yorkshire. His father James was a cowman on a local farm. The 1911 census shows one other child, a son Simon. Before joining up Joseph was employed as a farm hand in West Burton. Joseph enlisted at Leyburn joining the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. By September 1916 he was at the front. Joseph would prove to be a brave soldier, twice being recommended for distinction. He was finally rewarded at the end of April 1918 when he received the Military Medal for gallantry he had shown during the action in the St. Quentin area from March 21st to the 28th. Sadly one week later he was dead. On the 6th May the Battalion was in the Ypres Salient. During heavy engagements with the enemy he was killed on the 8th May. He was 21 years of age. His body was never recovered. Private Joseph Dixon Raw MM is commemorated at the Tyne Cot Cemetery.
Born in Church Fenton, Yorkshire in 1889, Leonard Yorke’s life was to come to a tragic conclusion ten years after the First World War came to an end. In his early years, Leonard lived in Castleford, the son of a Station Master with the NER. He moved to London to become an Electrical Engineer and following the outbreak of war was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment. By May he was in Belgium where on 24th and 25th the 4th Battalion were involved in heavy fighting. 2nd Lt Yorke was pulled out of the line due to being a vicitm of the first gas attack of the war, not returning to front line duties until August 1915. In late 1916 he was promoted to Lieutenant and by June 1917 he had attained the rank of Captain. His Military Cross citation of 28th September 1918 states that he “displayed great courage in the leading of his platoon at a time of exceptional difficulty and danger…..He was seriously wounded during the action”. The Yorkshire Post of 11 October 1918 reported “Capt. Leonard James Yorke, Yorkshire Regiment, son of Mr James Yorke, 19 South End Avenue, Darlington, has been wounded and is in hospital abroad”. After two years in hospital, Yorke was invalided out of the army. Leonard Yorke returned to London after leaving the army, but couldn’t cope following the stresses of war. On May 2nd 1929, Yorke shot himself on Hampstead Heath. At the inquest his…