DRAKE, Frederick G.

No.12850, Private Frederick George DRAKE
Aged 21

1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Died at home on 27th January 1917

Frederick George Drake was born in Chippenham on 4th March 1895 (Newmarket Q2-1895 3B:535) and baptised in Chippenham on 9th June. Son of Elias and Jane DRAKE (née POWIS).

1901 census... Aged 6, he was at Park Street, Chippenham with his father, Elias DRAKE [45] a carpenter, born in Isleham,; his mother Jane [45], born Strand, London; sister Ellen M.[8], brother Albert E.[7], sister Emily A.[4], brother Alfred [2] and sister Jessie [3 months]. All the children were born in Chippenham.

1911 census... Aged 16, he was with the same family unit at High Street, Chippenham. Frederick and his brother Albert were now farm labourers.

He enlisted on 31st August 1914, arrived in France on 19th January 1915 and was invalided out with phthisis (pulmonary tuberculosis) on 14th November 1915 with silver war badge 62403

Frederick was buried February 1st 1917 in Chippenham aged 21. He died as a result of illness contracted during military service but had not found his way on to CWGC records. Tony Pringle put his case and supporting documentary evidence forward to "In from the Cold" in April 2014, who then took over negotiations with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and on 12th February 2015, Frederick Drake was accepted on to the National Book of Remembrance. All that remains is for the CWGC to agree with the Church as to where to place his CWGC headstone within the churchyard. It will have to be inscribed across the top with the words "Known to be buried in this churchyard" since the exact plot cannot be identified.

The Bury Free Press of 10th February 1917 reported

We regret to report the death of two brave Chippenham lads, who have given their all for their country. Prvt Frederick Drake, son of Mr.Elias Drake, joined the Suffolks in 1914, a few days after the commencement of the war. Early in the year 1915 he was sent to the front.Soon afterwards in a bayonet charge near Ypres he received a wound in the head which caused him to be in hospital for some time at the base. On recovering he was again in the fighting line, and was partially buried by a shell. Whilst lying helpless a cloud of the poisonous gas was discharged by the enemy, some of which he inhaled, and this, with the injury caused to his body by the shell explosion, was ultimately the cause of his death. After many months of suffering he died on Saturday Jan.27th at his father's house. Military honours were accorded the young man on Thursday week when the funeral took place in the parish churchyard.......The second of these noble lads..was Prvt William Fitches...... The loss of these two men makes a total of eight from this small village who have made the great sacrifice.

The Silver War Badge was issued in the United Kingdom to service personnel who had been honourably discharged due to wounds or sickness during World War I. The badge, sometimes known as the Discharge Badge, Wound Badge or Services Rendered Badge, was first issued in September 1916, along with an official certificate of entitlement. The sterling silver lapel badge was intended to be worn in civilian clothes. It had been the practice of some women to present white feathers to apparently able-bodied young men who were not wearing the King's uniform.
The badge was to be worn on the right breast while in civilian dress, it was forbidden to wear it on a military uniform.
The badge bears the royal cipher of GRI (for Georgius Rex Imperator; George, King and Emperor) and around the rim "For King and Empire; Services Rendered". Each badge was uniquely numbered on the reverse. The War Office made it known that they would not replace Silver War Badges if they went missing, however if one was handed into a police station then it would be returned to the War Office. If the original recipient could be traced at his or her discharge address then the badge would be returned.

Frederick Drake is buried in the graveyard of St. Margaret's Church, Chippenham
He is now entered on the National Book of Remembrance

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details