JOHN LILLEY BINNER
The Binner surname is not common in Wirral. In 1881 its main concentration was in Leeds. Jack’s parents were Hart (1859-1945) and Sarah Hoyland (née Smith, 1850-1940) Binner. Hart came from Birkenhead and his father from Irby. Jack’s middle name was his paternal grandmother’s maiden name. He attended Hoylake National School. In 1911 Jack, his parents and his siblings Marian, Ted and Walter were living in their nine-roomed house, a butcher’s shop at 35 Market Street, Hoylake along with Elizabeth Ann Smith, the “deaf and dumb” sister of Sarah (born in Wallasey in about 1845) and Sarah Broadhurst, a servant from Lancashire. Jack was employed as an assistant butcher to his father.
Jack joined the Denbighshire Hussars, a yeomanry reserve regiment on 20th February 1914. He was described as being 5’ 9” tall, having a 36” chest with a 3½” expansion and as being of good physical development. He was “posted and embodied” (in other words, he became a regular soldier) on 20th November 1914 and remained in the UK until 2nd March 1916. His battalion became a dismounted unit in November 1915. At some point, his elder brother, Ted, had joined the same regiment because, by December 1915, the Deeside Advertiser reported that Ted was in training at Wrexham (probably at Hightown Barracks) while Jack was “somewhere on the East Coast”. Indeed, his medical records say that he spent six days in hospital in Great Yarmouth in February 1915, suffering from scabies. He arrived in Alexandria, Egypt on 15 March 1916 having sailed from Devonport on the HMT Haverford twelve days earlier. On 23rd June 1916 Jack was deprived of ten days’ pay for breaking censorship rules in his private correspondence. On 16th December 1916, he was transferred to the 24th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, the regiment which absorbed the rest of the Denbighshire Hussars later on.
He stayed in a place which is more famously associated with the Second World War – El Alamein, where he was promoted, and spent ten days in hospital at Sherika in January 1917, suffering from diarrhoea. On 25th February 1917 he wrote a letter to the Hoylake and Meols Yuletide Gift Fund Committee, thanking them for sending him a parcel, which was printed in The Deeside Advertiser. In it, he said that he was 150 miles into the desert and was living solely off army rations which were “not all that could be desired” and made the parcel “worth its weight in gold”. He also reported that a Lieutenant Davidson, whose family lived off Barton Road in Hoylake had been awarded the Military Cross. On 6th December 1917 he died from wounds received whilst fighting in Palestine, presumably at the Battle of Beersheba on 31st October, when British, Australian and New Zealand soldiers defeated the Turks. Jack’s possessions were sent home to his father on 20th March 1918. They comprised an identity disc, letters, photos, a wrist watch and strap, a pouch, a notebook, a prayer book, some views of Alexandria, a Black Watch badge, a whistle and a canvas wallet. The Deeside Advertiser of 16th November 1917 reported that Jack’s death “caused poignant grief in the neighbourhood, where he and his parents are well known.”
Birth: c.1893 in Hoylake
Death: 6th November 1917, died of wounds, aged 24
Address: 35 Market Street, Hoylake (01 – 14)
Occupation: Butcher (11-14)
Units: Denbighshire Hussars (Yeomanry), 24th Bn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Numbers and Rank: 1034 and 345259 Lance Corporal
Medals: Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: GH, H, Israel: Beersheba War Cemetery K.84.
Sources BR, SDGW, CWGC, MC, SR, GB, DA, BN, Census: 01, 11