Military General Service 1794-1848, 2 bars, Nivelle, Nive, William Binns 84th Foot, a Peninsular Veteran & ‘Red Coat’ in Australia.
The roll records that two men both from Yorkshire served in the regiment at the time, but having done some research we have identified which one he is, one served in 1st Battalion who did not earn the MGS as he was overseas in Bangalore during the time period and took part in the Third Anglo-Maratha War, whereas this William Binns was in the 2nd Battalion and served in the Peninsular War at the battle of Bidassoa, Nivelle & Nive.
William Binns was born during 1793 in Kirkburton, Yorkshire, He enlisted for service on 14th January 1811 aged 20 at Stockport for the 84th York and Lancaster Regiment with the service number ‘20’ having worked as a Carder, his alternative being a lifetime in the cotton & wool mills.
He served continuously for nearly 26 years from 10th January 1811 until 10th October 1836, when he could serve no longer due to chronic rheumatism from many long years of service, he had served a total of 25 years & 275 days.
He departed for Spain with the 2nd Battalion 84th Foot during 1813 and fought in the battles of Bidassoa (also known as the Battle of Larrun), followed by Nive & Nivelle.
His papers record he “Served in the 2nd Battalion 84 Regiment in Spain in the year 1813, in the action of the Nive, and nearly two years in New South Wales.”
Once the 1st & 2nd Battalions both returned home, they were amalgamated during 1819.
During 1820 he was on either HMS Dromedary or HMS Coromandel as an escort for convicts bound for Van Diemen’s Land & New South Wales. Both of the ships continued to New Zealand to harvest Kauri trees for use as spars for first rate Royal Navy Warships.
Two officers and an unknown detachment of the regiment remained on HMS Dromedary for the 11 month expedition to the Bay of Islands and Whagaroa, the scene of the Boyd Massacre of 1809, which gave them the distinction of being the first detachment of a British Army line regiment to set foot in the country.
After his discharge his papers state he chose to reside at Staley Bridge, Cheshire for his retirement and to draw his pension.
He is also found on the 1851 Census after claiming his medal.
He was 58 and a Chelsea Pensioner married to Alice Binns, who was Irish.
They lived at 29 High Street, Staley Bridge, Dukinfield, Cheshire in a large household with 12 children.