George William Binley

Name George William Binley
Corps Royal Horse Artillery
Rank Sergeant
Service No. 1025947,formerly108397
Date/Place of entry 4th October 1915 Kettering
Date of death 1978

George William Binley was born in February 1898 in Blind Lane, Cottingham, the second son of farm worker George Binley and his wife Elizabeth Ann nee Bradshaw. For more information on the extended Binley family see the page on his uncle, Charles Stephen Binley.  Elizabeth Ann Bradshaw grew up in Barrack Yard off Blind Lane (for further information on Barrack Yard see with her widowed grandfather. After the marriage George and Elizabeth lived in Blind Lane for several years. They had four more children John Charles Binley born in 1895, Robert and Olive who both died in infancy, and Frederick born in 1908 after they had moved to Coldermeadow Lodge in Great Oakley parish.

George William enlisted at Kettering on 4 October 1915, giving his age as nineteen though in fact he was seventeen. At that stage of the war, eighteen was the minimum age for enlistment unless you had previously joined the territorial force. On 12th January 1916 he joined the Royal Horse Artillery (RHA). Transfer documents give his rank as driver but there is no mention of which battery he was assigned to, or any further remarks. The RHA was responsible for light guns in support of the cavalry while the Royal Field Artillery dealt with heavier weapons. In 1914 each battery served one cavalry brigade. A battery comprised five officers, two hundred men, six guns and two hundred and twenty eight horses. 

George William entered hospital in June of that year; the record is difficult to read but it looks as if he was suffering from grippe, i.e. influenza.  George recovered quickly and was hospitalised for only twelve days. Influenza was very common in the trenches and the deadly 1918 global pandemic known as Spanish Flu was in part inadvertently spread through military operations.

At some point in his career he was promoted to bombardier, the artillery equivalent to a corporal, and went to Mesopotamia. Other men from Cottingham and Middleton who served in Mesopotamia included John Alfred Dunkley, Fred Jackson who was in the RFA 14th Battery, and Harry Beecroft.

On 6th February 1919 George William’s service with the RHA ended but he appears to have re-enlisted.  His Royal Artillery Attestation documents state he was discharged on 31st March 1922 at Catterick, having served in Mesopotamia from 1917 including a stint in Baghdad. He held the rank of sergeant and his conduct was described as very good.

Four months later George William was on his way to Australia. On the 1st of August 1922 he embarked on an unassisted third class passage on the ship Esperance Bay from London to Sydney. He probably left Sydney quite quickly and headed three hundred miles south west to the small but splendidly named town of Tumbarumba. He got married there on 30th May 1925 to Gwendoline Yates. Tumbarumba developed after gold was discovered in the area in the 1850s but agriculture and timber production were the dominant features in the local economy after 1930.
George and Gwendoline had children and moved to Sydney. They were on the electoral register for Parramatta in the northern suburbs of Sydney in 1930 and 1963. Parramatta was founded in 1788 and is the second oldest city in Australia. It was chosen by the British governor to be the site of a farm settlement to support the recently arrived First Fleet settlers, i.e. convicts, soldiers and civil servants. The sandy soils around Sydney were very poor and could not supply enough food. Nowadays it is one of the largest districts of Sydney and an important transport hub. (We travelled through Parramatta to the Blue Mountains some years ago but I’d no idea one of my grandmother’s classmates was buried there. Small world.)

George William died in 1978 aged eighty.

Other servicemen to whom he was related are his uncle Charles Stephen Binley, his brother John Charles Binley, and his second cousins Sidney and Percy Binley all of Cottingham, John, George and Willis Panter of Cottingham, Ernest Beeby and Albert Gear descended from Binleys of Cottingham; Percy Augustine Binley, Wilfred, Bernard and George Frederick Binley, and William and Herbert Roddis all descended from the Corby Binleys.