George Binney

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Sir George Binney (DSO) (1900–1972) was a noted arctic explorer and Royal Naval Reserve commander. During World War II, he led or was involved in efforts, including Operation Rubble, to procure supplies of Swedish ball bearings for Britain.[1][2][3][4]

Arctic exploration[edit]

Whilst still an undergraduate (Merton College, Oxford) Binney organized and was secretary to the 1921 Oxford University Spitsbergen expedition, subsequently leading both the 1923 Merton College Arctic Expedition, and the 1924 Oxford University Arctic Expedition. He was a pioneer in the use of seaplanes for Arctic survey work and wrote up this experience in his 1925 book With Seaplane and Sledge in the Arctic. The Avro 504 seaplane used was supplied by A. V. Roe and Co., Ltd. and its 180-h.p. Lynx air-cooled engine provided by Armstrong-Siddeley. (For The Avro Arctic see The Avro 504O). Subsequent to these expeditions he worked in the arctic for the Hudson's Bay Company (1926–1930). During this time he wrote The Eskimo Book of Knowledge (published by the Hudson's Bay Company), a book explaining a rather colonial view of the wider world to the Inuit.[5]

Sweden[edit]

In 1939 Binney took up a post as the Swedish representative of the UK Ministry of Supply (Iron and Steel Control). He was to assist in the acquisition of steel, machine tools, and most notably ball-bearings for the UK's armament programme. Following the outbreak of war and the isolation of Sweden after the German invasions of Norway and Denmark, Binney organised a series of blockade-running operations. This included Operation Rubble, Operation Performance, Operation Bridford, and Operation Moonshine.[5]

Honours[edit]

Binney was knighted in 1941 and awarded a Distinguished Service Order in 1944. He was awarded the Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1957 ("For contributions to Arctic exploration ... the pioneer use of the air survey technique … and to the development of the university exploring expedition").[6]

Private life[edit]

Binney acquired Horham Hall,Essex as his residence.

Selected publications[edit]

Binney, George (1925) With Seaplane and Sledge in the Arctic - The account of the 1924 Oxford Arctic Expedition, London, Hutchinson & Co[7][8]

Binney, George (1929) Hudson Bay in 1928. Geographical Journal, Vol 74, No 1, pp. 1–27

Binney, George (1931) The Eskimo Book of Knowledge, London, Hudson's Bay Co.[9][10][note 1]

Other sources[edit]

The Papers of Sir George Binney,University of Cambridge (Accessed July 2011)

While, H. (1972) Sir George Binney. The Times, 13 September.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The book is mentioned in Helen DeWitt's novel The Last Samurai.(p 242)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Obituary: Sir George Binney, DSO,The Geographical Journal Vol. 139, No. 1 (Feb., 1973), pp. 199–201
  2. ^ Barker, Ralph (2005) The Blockade Busters: Cheating Hitler’s Reich Of Vital War Supplies, Pen & Sword Books Ltd
  3. ^ Coastal Forces Heritage Trust (2010) The Coastal Forces Heritage Trust: Incorporating The Coastal Forces Veterans, Newsletter issue 6, May 2010 (Accessed July 2011)
  4. ^ Polar Record (1973) Obituary: Sir George Binney, Kt, DSO, Polar Record, Vol 16, No 104, p 753–58
  5. ^ a b The Papers of Sir George Binney,University of Cambridge (Accessed July 2011)
  6. ^ Royal Geographical Society, Medals and Awards - Gold Medal Recipients (Accessed July 2011)
  7. ^ W., J. M., and George Binney. 1926. "Review of With Seaplane and Sledge in the Arctic". Geographical Journal. 67, no. 3: 268.
  8. ^ Flight (1926) Review of With Seaplane and Sledge in the Arctic,Flight, 7 January pp. 11–12
  9. ^ The Argus (1931)Review of The Eskimo Book of Knowledge (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Saturday 1 August 1931 p4. (Accessed July 2011)
  10. ^ Crowe, Keith J. (1991) A history of the original peoples of northern Canada, McGill-Queen's Press pp. 169–170 (Accessed July 2011)