War Memorials

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In Remembrance of those members of our
extended family who died as a result of conflict.

'Life fought for others is a life worth living; that is a noble thing.'
From the film 'Ironclad', which is about King John's seige of Rochester Castle, Kent in 1216.

Sir Edward Grey, the wartime foreign secretary, said on the eve of war on 4th August 1914: "The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time." The Royal British Legion requested that we all use a single candle or light for an hour from 22:00 GMT on Monday 4th August 2014.

'O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day.
If I forget Thee, do not forget me. March on, boys!'
The prayer of Jacob Astley, 1st Baron Astley of Reading, at the Battle of Edgehill, Warwickshire on Sunday, 23 October 1642.

Albert Fenton Drakes
Amos Drakes
Charles Leslie Drakes
David Baron Drakes
Frank Herbert Drakes
Fred Dracass
George Harold Leopold Drakes
George William Dracass
Harry Drax
Hugh Dracass
Joseph Henry Drakes
Michael Ben Drakes
Percy William Drakes
Stewart Ian Drakes

A World War II British memorial headstone in Libya, North Africa:
'Into the mosaic of victory I lay this priceless piece. My dearest son.'

     We Will Remember Them      

The life that I have
 Is all that I have
 And the life that I have
 Is yours

 The love that I have
 Of the life that I have
 Is yours and yours and yours

 A sleep I shall have
 A rest I shall have
 Yet death will be but a pause

 For the peace of my years
 In the long green grass
 Will be yours and yours and yours

by Leo Marks

[This short poem was used as a 'poem code' during World War II]


                   photo courtesy of Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Albert Fenton Drakes, Private 22759, 2nd Bn., Lincolnshire Regiment who died on Sunday, 4th March 1917. Fins New British Cemetery, Sorel-le-Grand, Somme, France. Grave Reference/ Panel Number: VIII. D. 25.


Steam Trawlers at Grimsby, Lincs. in 1901; these would be very similar to those at Hull, Yorks.

Amos Drakes was born on 8.5.1885 at Kingston upon Hull, Yorks., the sixth of seven children of Amos Watson Drakes and Hannah Maria Revill (Revell). He died on 30.3.1915, aged 29, as a deckhand on board H.M. Trawler 'The Roman' in 1915, during WWI, probably at sea as he is not listed in the GRO death index. He was unmarried and had no issue. He is remembered at Hedon Road Cemetery, Hull, Yorks.; Reference/Panel Number: 252. 16. cwgc.org (Amos Drakes)


                  photo courtesy of Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Charles Leslie Drakes, Guardsman 2654176, 3rd Bn., Coldstream Guards who died on Thursday, 27th July 1944, aged 34. He was the son of Charles Edward and Elizabeth Drakes, and husband of Ellen Drakes, of Triangle, Yorks. Cemetery: Florence (CWGC) War Cemetery, Tuscany, Italy: Grave Reference/ Panel Number: V.B.13.


                                            photo Chris Drakes

The RAF Memorial on the Victoria Embankment of the river Thames.

                                                                             Runnymede Memorial; photos Chris Drakes (see other photos below)

The RAF War Memorial at Runnymede, Surrey - This Memorial overlooks the River Thames on Cooper’s Hill at Englefield Green between Windsor and Egham on the A308, 4 miles from Windsor. The Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede commemorates by name over 20,000 airmen who were lost in the Second World War during operations from bases in the United Kingdom and North and Western Europe, and who have no known graves. They served in Bomber, Fighter, Coastal, Transport, Flying Training and Maintenance Commands, and came from all parts of the Commonwealth. Some were from countries in continental Europe which had been overrun but whose airmen continued to fight in the ranks of the Royal Air Force. The memorial was designed by Sir Edward Maufe with sculpture by Vernon Hill. The engraved glass and painted ceilings were designed by John Hutton and the poem engraved on the gallery window was written by Paul H Scott. Number of identified casualties: 20,353.

                                            Runnymede Memorial; photo Chris Drakes

David Baron Drakes, Squadron Leader 40214, 49 Squadron, Royal Air Force.’ Son of John Baron Drakes and Doris Mary Drakes; husband of Barbara Drakes (née Beauchamp) of Teddington, Middx. Lost on air ops 1st November 1941 aged 22 and commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. He took off at 19.48 on 1.11.1941 from Scampton in Hamden I AE224 EA-Z on an anti-shipping operation, and was shot down by flak off the Frisian Islands; this was the first Hampden aircraft to be lost from a night anti-shipping operation.

photo of Memorial in Thimbleby Church, Lincolnshire, courtesy: David Coulam


    photo courtesy of Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Frank Herbert Drakes, Private 1455, 10th Bn., Lincolnshire Regiment, who died on Saturday, 1st July 1916. Memorial: Thiepval Memorial, Thiepval, Somme, France. Grave Reference/ Panel Number: Pier and Face 1 C.


                                                      Arras Memorial; photo Chris Drakes

Fred Dracass, Private 201824, 2nd/5th Bn., Lincolnshire Regiment, who died 21.3.1918, United Kingdom, Bay 3&4 Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

                                                                              photos courtesy of John Gage

Pte. F. Dracass on Boston War Memorial, Lincs.


                 photo courtesy of Commonwealth War Graves Commission

George Harold Leopold Drakes, Private 4805012, 4th Bn., Lincolnshire Regiment, who died on Monday, 17th July 1944, aged 24. He was the son of John William and Ciss Drakes; husband of Lilian Annie Drakes, of Coleby, Lincs. Cemetery: Tilly-sur-Seulles War Cemetery, Calvados, France. Grave Reference/ Panel Number: XI. H. 1.


Some of the 1942 bombsites in Norwich, Norfolk, which affected domestic and industrial locations.

George William Dracass, Civilian War Dead, died 27.4.1942, aged 64, United Kingdom. Son of Leslie Dracass, of 7, Bakers Road; husband of Emma S. Dracass, of 25, Alma Terrace. Died at 182, Waterloo Road, Norwich, Norfolk. Cemetery: County Borough of Norwich. Number of identified casualties: 339. In April 1942, during the Luftwaffe's so-called 'Baedeker Blitz' raids, several 500 kg bombs exploded in the Norwich area.


                  photo courtesy of Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Harry Drax (b.1886) Gunner (A/Bdr) No. 94243, served with the 235th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artilery Regiment. He died of wounds, as a casualty of war, on 10.7.1918 at Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, aged 32. He was buried at Hagle Dump Cemetery, Ieper, Ypres, Belgium, plot: I. J. 3.


                                                                  photo courtesy of John Gage

H. Dracass RAF, Hagworthingham Churchyard War Memorial, Lincs.

                                             Runnymede Memorial; photo Chris Drakes

Hugh Dracass, Sergeant 1112246, 61 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, died 29.3.1942, aged 21, United Kingdom, Son of Charles Ernest and Eva Dracass, of Hagworthingham, Lincolnshire. Panel 82, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey.

                                          photo Chris Drakes (see other photos above)
View over the Thames from Runnymede Memorial


                                                                       Waterloo Station Memorial; photo Chris Drakes

Joseph Henry Drakes (b.1889) is remembered on the Southern Railway Employees War Memorial at Waterloo Station, London (top left).

In Memory of Joseph Henry Drakes, Lance Corporal 8598, 2nd Bn., York and Lancaster Regiment, who died on Tuesday, 12th September 1916, aged 27. He was the son of Robert and Mary Drakes, of Belton, Lincs., and the husband of Emily Drakes, of Rochester Terrace, Buckhurst Rd., Frimley Green near Farnham, Surrey. He is buried / remembered, with honour, at the Flatiron Copse (CWGC) Cemetery, Mametz, Somme, France: Grave Reference / Panel Number: III. I. 6.


                 photo courtesy of Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Michael Ben Drakes (b.1922) was ‘killed in action’ at El Alamein, Egypt on 23.10.1942, aged 20. He was Corporal WX5954, A.I.F. 2/28 Bn., Australian Infantry who died on Friday, 23.10.1942, aged 20. He is remembered on the War Memorial at El Alamein War Cemetery, Alamein, Egypt. Grave Reference/ Panel Number: XVI. A. 17. (see his brother 'Stewart Ian Drakes' below)


                 photo courtesy of Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Percy William Drakes, MM, Lieutenant, 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles (Central Ontario Regt.) who died on Saturday, 16th September 1916, aged 32. He was the son of Elizabeth Drakes, of The Manor House, Gringley, Doncaster, Yorks. Cemetery: Contay British Cemetery, Contay, Somme, France. Grave Reference/ Panel Number: II. A. 3.


photo courtesy of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)

Stewart Ian Drakes, Flight Sergeant 427073, Royal Australian Air Force who died on Monday, 15.11.1943, aged 19. He is remembered on the Rabaul War Memorial, Papua, New Guinea. Panel Number 35. (see 'Ian' & his brother 'Michael Ben Drakes' above)

Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery; photo courtesy of Commonwealth War Graves Commission


Welton War Memorial, Lincolnshire

Robert Drakes (wounded), Maurice Drakes, Stanley Drakes. On another Welton village war memorial, a stone cross at the edge of the churchyard, the full names of the men appear. There is also a brass plaque on a wooden surround on the wall in St. Mary’s Church, which details all the men who served, who died, who were wounded, and who were prisoners of war: ‘To the glory of God and in honour of the men of this parish of Welton St. Mary’s, Lincoln, who joined the British Army for the Great War 1914 – 1918, [the list includes] Drakes Robert (W) [wounded] - Drakes Maurice - Drakes Stanley. Honour to whom honour is due. Alfred Hunt, M.A. Vicar of Welton.


Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

In my own shire, if I was sad,
Homely comforters I had:
The earth, because my heart was sore,
Sorrowed for the son she bore;

And standing hills, long to remain,
Shared their short-lived comrade's pain.
And bound for the same bourn as I,
On every road I wandered by,

Trod beside me, close and dear,
The beautiful and death-struck year:
Whether in the woodland brown
I heard the beechnut rustle down,

And saw the purple crocus pale
Flower about the autumn dale;
Or littering far the fields of May
Lady-smocks a-bleaching lay,

And like a skylit water stood
The bluebells in the azured wood.
Yonder, lightening other loads,
The seasons range the country roads,


Turn safe to rest, no dreams, no waking;
And here, man, here's the wreath I've made:
'Tis not a gift that's worth the taking,
But wear it and it will not fade.

Bring, in this timeless grave to throw,
No cypress, sombre on the snow;
Snap not from the bitter yew
His leaves that live December though;

Break no rosemary, bright with rime
And sparkling to the cruel clime;
Nor plod the winter land to look
For willows in the icy brook

To cast them leafless round him: bring
No spray that ever buds in spring.
  But if the Christmas field has kept
Awns the last gleaner overstept,

Or shrivelled flax, whose flower is blue
A single season, never two;
Or if one haulm whose year is o'er
Shivers on the upland frore,

Oh, bring from hill and stream and plain
Whatever will not flower again,
To give him comfort: he and those
Shall bide eternal bedfellows.


I hoed and trenched and weeded,
And took the flowers to fair:
I brought them home unheeded;
The hue was not the wear.

So up and down I sow them
For lads like me to find,
When I shall lie below them,
A dead man out of mind.

Some seed the birds devour,
And some the season mars,
But here and there will flower
The solitary stars,

And fields will yearly bear them
As light-leaved spring comes on,
And luckless lads will wear them
When I am dead and gone.

Extracted from: A Shropshire Lad, by A. E. Housman, 1887, the full version runs to 64 pages.