James Ross Binkley

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

General information


Army information

Canadian Expeditionary Force
Lance Corporal
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Valcartier Camp, Quebec, Canada
 —  Canadian Infantry, 3rd Bn. (Toronto Regiment)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Cross Roads Farm, Sint-Jan, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
Panel: Panel 18 - 24 - 26 - 30.

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death or original burial place

My story

At the beginning of April 1915, the Canadians were deployed at Ypres for the first time. Soldiers from three continents defended the town. It was at this crossroads of different languages and cultures that the Germans launched a deadly offensive. In the first few days of the Second Battle of Ypres, St Julien found itself at the eye of the storm. In 1915 the small village became the scene of terrible fighting.

To the right of the French were the Canadians. With the remnants of the French colonial forces, they organized a defence in St Julien, facing the Germans to the north. The hastily constructed defence held, despite heavy losses.

True to their orders, the Germans dig in at dusk. There are insufficient reserves to advance further. Hoping to still monopolise success, they send reinforcements in the following days.

In the early hours of 24 April, a cloud of gas opened a breach in the Canadian lines east of the centre of the village. The troops could protect themselves only by tying wet cloths over their mouths and noses, and handkerchiefs are no use against concentrated poison gas. Only a few managed to get themselves to safety. German troops advanced on St Julien.

The Canadian positions became untenable. There was too little artillery support. Virtually all the lines of communication were down and to make matters worse, the Canadian Ross rifles failed when rapid and frequent firing was attempted.

The 3rd Battalion (Toronto Regiment) was sent forward on 22nd April. Around midnight the men dug in at Mouse Trap Farm, which functioned as a dressing station and headquarters. Suddenly a grenade exploded and five men were killed: Lieutenant Mado MacDonald, Sergeant Edwin Mulloy, Lance Corporal James Ross Binkley, Private Deric Broughall and Private Everard Bickerstaff.

All five served with the machine gun section of the battalion. Mado MacDonald was their commanding officer. James Ross Binkley was their close friend. The news of their deaths was widely reported in the Canadian media, since Ross Binkley, the captain of the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League, was a celebrity.

When the heavy shell exploded, Binkley and MacDonald were killed instantly. They were buried along with a third fatality, Sergeant Edwin Harold Mulloy, a 26-year-old bank clerk from Aurora, Ontario. Deric Broughall, the fifth casualty, died at the dressing station at Mouse Trap Farm.

Sources 4

Personnel Records of the First World War (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 737 - 10).
Sources used
War diaries: 3rd Battalion Canadian Infantry (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG9-III-D-3, Volume number: 4913, Microfilm reel number: T-10705, T-10705, File number: 353).
Sources used
War Graves Registers: Circumstances of Death (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG 150, 1992-93/314; Volume Number: 153).
Sources used
War Graves Registry: Commonwealth War Graves (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC): RG150, 1992-1993/314, Box 39-244; Box: 46).
Sources used