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Oakworth man Arthur throws back a hand grenade
10:21am Thursday 17th July 2014 in News
THE KEIGHLEY News is publishing a weekly tribute to the bravery of district residents during the First World War.
Stories of courageous members of the Armed Forces have been unearthed through research by Keighley’s Men of Worth Project.
These will be highlighted each week in the run-up to next month's centenary of the outbreak of conflict.
The Men of Worth Project invites readers to contact them with stories about their heroic ancestors during the First World War. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, contact him on 07792 665336 or write to 21 Providence Crescent, Oakworth, West Yorkshire BD22 7QU.
Alternatively, e-mail email@example.com or write to the Keighley News, 80-86 North Street, Keighley BD21 3AG.
ARTHUR Binns knew what to do when a German hand grenade landed in his trench.
The Oakworth-born private picked up the grenade and threw it back!
Arthur, who survived four years of fighting in the First World War, was awarded a Military Medal for his bravery.
He didn’t receive the medal until 1919 – the year after the war ended – when he returned home from a German prison camp.
Arthur, born in 1894, grew up in Oldfield and by the age of 17 was a trainee teacher in the hamlet’s school.
At the age of 21, while living in Commercial Street, Oakworth, he joined his brother Thomas in the army.
Arthur served first at Gallipoli, heading out at the end of 1915, and four months later was sent to France.
After the incident with the hand grenade Arthur wrote a letter home to say he was sporting “a little bit of ribbon” above his left pocket to signify he would later be receiving the Military Medal.
He wrote: “We have been into old Fritz’s trench once again.
“It was a pretty exciting time, but here we are still merry and bright and looking forward to the time when we can be civilised again.
“When we went over the lid and got into the trenches one of those nice people, the Germans, threw a hand grenade into the trench.
“I grabbed it and pitched it out before it exploded. It went off in the air, but did not hurt anyone.
“If I had left it alone, it would have laid three or four of us out.”
In March 28, 1918, Arthur was posted missing, and it was later discovered he was a prisoner of war at camp 1952 Friedrichfield near Webel in Germany.
When the war finished Arthur was classed as an ‘approved immobiliser’, also known as a Pivotal Man, meaning he could be released from the army immediately because he had been a prisoner of war.
Late in 1919 Arthur married Alice Maude Annie Ingham. He died in 1956 at the age of 62.