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William Bryce Binnie was born in Linlithgow in 1886, the son of Helen Bryce and William Binnie. He studied architecture at The Glasgow School of Art from 1905/06 to 1910/11, during which time he undertook an apprenticeship at John Burnet and Son. In the final year of his studies he won a travelling scholarship, and spent a year in Italy. Thereafter he went to New York to work as a designer for Warren & Wetmore architects, for whom he designed the detailing of Grand Central Station. In 1913 he returned to the U.K. and took up a position as chief draughtsman for a practice in London. At the outbreak of the First World War he entlisted in the Royal Highlanders, where he was promoted to the rank of temporary captain and awarded the Military Cross with bar. In 1919 he was appointed by the Imperial War Graves Commission as an assistant architect, and in 1920, deputy director. In these roles he was responsible for supervising the erection of war cemeteries and memorials across the former Western Front, as well as designing the memorial to the Ministry at Nieuport in Belgium. Binnie is listed in the School's World War One Roll of Honour.
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