Skip to main content

Charles Binyon's diary: January - December 1916

Diary Entry


Time very much occupied with LBG business which necessitated frequent journeys to London, and the Bench, District Council, Guardians and all sorts of activities caused by the war.  One was attending the Tribunals to decide cases of exemption from war service.  This was not a very satisfactory body.  We were five in number with a military representative present with no vote.  He was very able and very eager to get recruits.  I remember one sitting when we had been sent the latest instructions, tightening up recruiting.  These were put in a leaflet with 5 sections.  The military representative read out the first 4 sections and then stopped.  I asked the Chairman to read the last section.  Neither he or any member had read the instruction and so had no idea what it contained.  It said, “the above do not apply to men employed in agriculture”.  No wonder the Government decided to abolish this method.  I also was appointed on the local Food Production Committee.  I had to visit farmers and growers and tell them what to grow, not at all a pleasant job.  One farmer threatened to shoot me and got out his gun.  It meant frequent attendance at conferences often addressed by a member of the Government – such as Prothero and Lord Selbourne, who spoke most gravely of another year of war.

Very cold March.  A blizzard on April 1.  Later we had 30o of frost.

On May 18 I was introduced to Mr George Cadbury who proved very helpful to LBG.

Drying of the belladonna crop caused much anxiety, as it had to be done as soon as possible after picking.  We hired hop kilns at Aldington, and later others at Harvington.  Some of us often stayed all night at the kilns.

Serious news.  June 3, Jutland.  June 6, Kitchener drowned.

One day I had to go to see notices put on the front door of a large house, to say the landlords would resume occupation, the premises being derelict.

June 14 – went on bicycle with F Bubb to produce customer at Stoke-on-Trent.  Slept at Wolverhampton where we parted.  I came on through Uttoxeter to Melbourne, where I slept.  72½ miles.

June 15 – On to Leicester to visit F E Amos who had been seriously wounded at the Somme.  Came home by way of Coventry.

June 23 – With J E Knight to Birmingham University Hospital where another Badsey man was.

Aug 25 – We fixed the steam engine for the drying plant.

Oct 16 – I went to Worcester Quarter Sessions where I heard a most interesting case in which two men were charged with conspiring to defraud the Midland Railway.  One was employed in Norton Barracks and was described as a civil subordinate, and in consequence denied a concession ticket when going on leave.  But he had a friend, an old time sergeant who obtained the ticket.  The Sergeant undertook the defence and did it admirably.  He made all the witnesses for the prosecution look foolish and obtained a triumphant acquittal.

Nov 3Mr Cadbury offered to show me round Bournville works, where they had various kinds of drying stoves.

Nov 4 – Cycled with F Bubb to visit some kilns fitted with large fan.  We stayed in the kilns all night.

Nov 8 – Went to see A Wyles motor plough at work.  A real pioneer.

Nov 23 – London to attend Poor Law Conference and see the firm about drying apparatus.  Also saw Dr McCleary (National Health Minister) about getting permission to erect shed for drying.  Very helpful.

Dec 6 – Another visit to London to see a drying apparatus – no good for large quantity.  Government crisis, Asquith resigned, Lloyd George Prime Minister.

Dec 15 – Interview with Major Belcher and Bond with proposal to set apart so many acres for war office needs – adopted, fairly successful, only War Office wanted them at their convenience and of course we couldn’t always arrange that.

Dec 19 – Had another consultation at Bournville about drying shed.

Dec 20 – Went to see medical examination of recruits at Norton Barracks.

Christmas at Oxford.

Diary Images
Type of Document
Three pages in a hard-covered notebook containing diary entries 1916-1919
Location of Document
In private ownership