Herbert Read served in the 2nd, 7th and 10th battalions of the Yorkshire Regiment from 1915 to 1918. During his time in service he was awarded the Military Cross for his actions in leading a trench raid, successfully securing a German prisoner for interrogation and a Distinguished Service Order for his role commanding the 2nd Battalion during the German Spring Offensive of March 1918. He published two volumes of war poetry during the conflict and is commemorated alongside Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.
He became a leading figure in the 20th Century, as curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum and Professor of Art at Edinburgh and Harvard Universities. He counted Picasso, Dali, Graham Greene, George Orwell, Peggy Guggenheim and Man Ray amongst his friends. A knighthood in 1953 (at the suggestion of Winston Churchill) came as a surprise to his circle of political associates. His headstone at St Gregory’s Minster near Helmsley reads ‘Knight, Poet, Anarchist’.
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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.
Submitted by Peter Marwood, a long term resident of Richmond. I was brought up on my late father’s farm in Langthorne near Bedale. Driver John Marwood 671397 of the 379th Battery, Royal Field Artillery was my father’s brother and my uncle. John Marwood was born at Gayles near Richmond on the 16th of May 1890. He was the second of four children of John and Caroline Marwood. The family initially lived at Gayles where John senior was self employed as a master carpenter. By 1901 the family had moved to a rented farm at Aske Moor and began farming. After a few years they moved to a larger and better farm which was Low Coalsgarth farm. John is listed in the 1911 census as working as a gardener at Selaby Hall near Gainford. The family were living at the farm at the time of John’s death in France. He was wounded on the Somme during the famous Kaiserschlacht offensive which began on the 21st March 1918. My father and his other brother Harry recounted that John had been badly wounded at the Front and was taken to hospital in Rouen but sadly died of his wounds on the 25th of March 1918 aged 28. He is buried in the St Sever cemetery in Rouen. During the 1950s my father would usually attend the Great Yorkshire Show, along with my Uncle Harry and one older brother and if we were lucky myself or my younger brother would get to go too….
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…