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Charles Edgar Binns

Charles Edgar BinnsSapper Charles E. Binns, 184469, Royal Engineers, 'G' Depot Company

In 1901, six year-old Wakefield-born Charles Edgar Binns was living with his parents, Charles Henry and Lily Binns at Bishopsgate in Wakefield, where his father worked as a labourer in a bottling store. In 1912 he was living with his parents at Dearden Street, Ossett where he was working as an apprentice plumber for J. A. Fawcett in 1912 with two years of his apprenticeship still to be completed.

The 19 year-old Charles E. Binns signed up for the Territorial Army in 1912 and his attestation form is dated the 2nd December 1912 when he signed up and was declared fit for duty in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, service number 1764, for a period of four years. He underwent annual training as a part-time Territorial Army recruit until the 5th August 1914 (a day after the outbreak of WW1) when he was discharged as being medically unfit on mobilisation of the Territorials for WW1 duty. About twelve months later he was subjected to another medical examination, but he was again rejected. In 1916, however, he was called up again, and very much to the surprise of his parents, he was passed fit for active service.

Charles married 23 year-old Edith Lydia Ibbotson on the 31st July 1915 at the Weslyean Methodist Chapel in Wesley Street, Ossett. Before he was called up for service in 1916 Charles Binns worked for J.A. Fawcett, plumber, The Green, Ossett. His wife Edith Ibbotson had lived at 22, Wesley Street and worked as a rag sorter. The couple lived near to Edith's parents at 26, Wesley St., Ossett, but there were no children. After Charles Binns lost his life in WW1, his widow Edith went on to marry 27-year-old Dewsbury widower Ernest Scargill at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Ossett on the 23rd October 1920. The couple went on to have two children.

Charles E. Binns, having been passed fit for service in 1916 became a sapper in the Royal Engineers. Sadly his service record hasn't survived.

The "Ossett Observer" 1 had this report of the death of Sapper Charles Binns:

"The death took place at a military hospital in Leeds, on Sunday, following wounds received in action in March 1918 of Sapper Charles Edgar Binns (24), Royal Engineers, a married man, whose widow resides at 26, Wesley Street, Ossett. From his admittance into hospital his recovery was regarded as hopeless. Deceased was one of four brothers, sons of Mr. C.H. Binns of Dearden Street, Ossett, who have served in the war, and he is the second to lose his life, his brother William, a Lance-Corporal in the K.O.Y.L.I. being killed in July last year. As a member of the local Territorials, deceased was mobilised at the outbreak of the war, but was rejected. He was called up and rejected a second time, twelve months later, but in June 1916, he was accepted for service. It was in the fighting around Cambrai that he received his fatal wounds. He was well-known locally as a member of the Temperance Hall choir, and several of his vocalist friends, and others, attended the funeral, which took place at the South Ossett Wesleyan Burial Ground on Wednesday afternoon. His brother Harold is serving in France, with the Royal Air Force, but his brother Arthur Henry, after service on the western front, has been discharged from the army."

Sapper Charles Edgar Binns was unfortunate enough to die eight days before the signing of the Armistice on November 3rd 1918 aged 24 years, in East Leeds Military Hospital. He is buried at St. John's Methodist Graveyard 2 in South Parade, Ossett.

Private Wiliam Binns, 1/4 K.O.Y.L.I. and the elder brother of Sapper Charles Binns, died at the age of 26 years in a Candadian Hospital in France on the 28th July 1917 from wounds.

The eldest brother, Arthur Henry Binns, who served in the West Yorkshire Regiment after enlisting in February 1916, was discharged in 1918 after being in a Red Cross Hospital for ten months suffering from neuritis.

The youngest brother, Harold Binns, enlisted in March 1917 and serverd as a mechanic with the Royal Air Service in France and survived WW1.


1. "Ossett Observer" 9th November 1918

2. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site