John Charles Binley

Name John Charles Binley
Corps Bedfordshire Regiment 12th Battalion, Labour Corps
Rank Private
Service No. 59106
Date/Place of entry 1st January1918 Northampton
Date of death 1982

John Charles Binley was born in 1896 at Blind Lane, Cottingham, the eldest 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.  Elisabeth Ann Bradshaw grew up in Barrack Yard off Blind Lane (for further information on Barrack Yard see with her widowed grandfather. After the marriage they lived in Blind Lane for several years. They had four more children George William in 1898, Robert and Olive who both died in infancy, and Frederick born in 1908 after they had moved to Coldermeadow Lodge in Great Oakley parish.

John Charles became a farmworker like his father. In 1914 he was working for Lord Brooke of Great Oakley when he was seriously injured in an accident. A newspaper report said he was in charge of a watering cart when the horse pulling it bolted and ran over him, fracturing several ribs on his left side and perforating a lung. John Charles spent twenty six weeks in hospital and came out with his arms and legs wasted. He later worked as a cellarman.
Astonishingly, despite being partly crippled he was enlisted into the army in Northampton on 1st January1918 aged twenty two years and five months. There is some documentation suggesting he may have enlisted earlier as a service record dated May1916 contains a medical report saying his physical development was ‘fair’ and that some slight defects were ‘not sufficient to cause rejection.’ Only some service documents remain so it’s unclear what happened next. He certainly joined up in January 1918 and was sent to the 12th (TW) battalion, Bedfordshire regiment. This battalion operated as a training and administration unit.

He was transferred to the Labour Corps on 6th March but discharged from the Bedfordshires on 4 September 1918. The medical record states he was rated C3, the lowest level of fitness, and was unfit for duty because of his deformed legs, arms and feet. He’d spent eight months in the army and was discharged without any compensation as his injuries had neither arisen nor been made worse by his military service.

John Charles got married in 1919 and later lived in Corby.

There is a post script to his story. In 1940, twenty six years after he was injured, John Charles sued Lord Brooke for compensation under the Workmen’s Compensation Act. At the time he was in Leicester Infirmary with osteoarthritis of the right hip, caused according to the doctors by the 1914 accident. A newspaper account on 28th June1940 said Lord Brooke contested his claim but John Charles was victorious and was awarded his compensation. He died in 1982.

Other servicemen to whom he was related are his uncle Charles Stephen Binley, his brother George William 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, Wilfred, Bernard and George Frederick Binley, and William and Herbert Roddis all descended from the Corby Binleys.