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 Pam Reed – William was her first cousin once removed. William Billam was born Robert William Beckwith Earsdon in Jarrow on 17 September 1893. By 1906 his mother and stepfather Elizabeth and George Billam had moved to Hinderwell, 8 miles north of Whitby. In 1911 William was living with them and had taken his stepfather’s surname of Billam. In 1913 William married Ada Simpson and continued to live in the same village. On the outbreak of the First World War he enlisted on 15 August 1914 at Whitby as 12122 Private Billam in the 11th Reserve Cavalry Regiment. However on 1 November 1914 he was discharged as ‘being unlikely to make an efficient soldier’. Having failed to make the grade in the cavalry, he promptly volunteered for the infantry . At the end of 1914 he enlisted again at Whitby as 18687 Private Billam in the 2nd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. William was killed on 1st July 1916, first day of the Battle of the Somme. He was buried in the Dantzig Alley British Cemetary in Mametz along with 2052 other British soldiers. His name is on the Hinderwell War Memorial. He left a widow and 2 year old daughter. Extract from the Whitby Gazette Friday 18 August 1916 as follows:- Killed in action on July 1st. Private William Billam, aged 22 years. He was the first to enlist from Hinderwell on August 15th 1914. “His country called and he answered”
Story submitted by Mrs Drury, a resident of Richmond. Nancy Bainbridge was born in Weardale, County Durham in May 1894. She was one of eight children whose parents were hardy hill farmers. Nancy was a very practical person and joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service in 1914. Nancy served at a military hospital in East Anglia where the nurses received casualties straight from the Somme. Her upbringing on a farm had afforded her some preparation for the ensuing, distressing sights and sounds. She described how the men arrived with mud and tufts of grass in their wounds. The nurses found out the hard way that soldiers’ skin, subjected to the mustard gas attacks in the trenches, could not be washed with water as that inflicted pain. Nancy received many deathbed requests. After the war Nancy worked as a private nurse in families with disabled soldiers and patients with other conditions. She married Captain Jack (John Adam) Bell. Nancy had a brother William, also a hill farmer and ten years older. He joined the Northumberland Fusiliers, but saw little service because, when detailed to chop an officer some sticks, a splinter blinded him in one eye. Another sibling, Violet, worked in Barnard Castle’s recruiting office. Her soldier husband Harry Raine was awarded the Military Cross. The medal was presented to the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle.
Information submitted by Mark Tovey, William Buckle is Mark’s wife’s great uncle. William Buckle was born in Middlesbrough. In 1914 he was a 21-year-old clerk working for a well-known Middlesbrough steel company. The war was 4 weeks old when he, like many other young men from North Yorkshire, went to Northallerton to join their local Territorial Army Battalion – 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (4th Green Howards). On 16 April 1915, 4th Green Howards were ordered to Belgium. On 22nd April the German Fourth Army attacked the Allied front line in the North of the Ypres Salient and, using poison gas for the first time, threatened Ypres itself. This was a crisis and, despite their inexperience, 4th Green Howards went straight to the fight. For the next month the Yorkshiremen were in almost continual action, suffering many casualties. Private William Buckle was one of the Battalion’s 200 casualties. He had been shot twice, in the right shoulder and hip. He spent the next 2 months recovering before, as a corporal, training Green Howard recruits in Northallerton. Surprisingly, after his wounds healed, he volunteered for one of the most dangerous jobs in the Army – as a platoon commander. After a 4½ month course at an Officer Cadet Battalion at Denham, Buckinghamshire, Buckle was granted a commission as a Temporary Second Lieutenant in July 1916. The following month he was posted to 8th Green Howards. Buckle served on the Somme through the fierce battles of that summer and autumn until his…