Alfred George Drake 8th Battalion of The Rifle Brigade

Discussion in 'Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Alfred George Drake

    Birth - Dec. 10, 1893
    Death - Nov. 23, 1915

    British Victoria Cross War Medal Recipient. Drake was 21 years old and served in the 8th Battalion of The Rifle Brigade. He was awarded his medal posthumously for service at La Brique, Belgium, on November 23, 1915.

    Corporal A. G. Drake, V.C.

    Victoria Cross London Gazette 22.1.1916 Corporal Alfred George Drake
    8th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort’s Own)

    Date of Act of Bravery, 23.11.1915. Action at La Brique, Western Front.

    For most conspicuous bravery on the night of 23rd November, 1915, near La Brique, France. He was one of a patrol of four which was reconnoitring towards the German lines. The patrol was discovered when close to the enemy, who opened heavy fire with rifles and a machine gun, wounding the Officer and one man. The latter was carried back by the last remaining man. Corporal Drake remained with his Officer and was last seen kneeling beside him and bandaging his wounds regardless of the enemy’s fire. Later, a rescue party crawling near the German lines found the Officer and Corporal, the former unconscious but alive and bandaged. Corporal Drake beside him dead and riddled with bullets. He had given his own life and saved his Officer.

    Attached Files:

  2. Andy Pay

    Andy Pay Member

    Corporal Alfred G. Drake.
    Very little is known about Corporal Alfred Drake's early life, except, that he was born in Stepney, East London, on 10th December 1893, enlisting in The Rifle Brigade after the start of the war in 1914. On 23rd November 1915 the 8th Rifle Brigade was in the line at La Brique, near Ypres, when Lieutenant Tryon was ordered to lead a four man reconnaissance patrol into No Man's Land between the British and German forward positions. Corporal Drake, was a member of this patrol.
    The Regimental History tells much the same story as his citation but in different words:-
    "The patrol had been suprised when quite close to the enemy's lines. Heavy fire was opened on it, wouinding Lieutenant Tryon and one of the patrol. Corporal Drake, the N.C.O. detailed the one unwounded man to carry back the wounded rifleman and himself remained with the officer who was too badly hit to be moved. The enemy fire still continued but Corporal Drake, although hit repeatedly, succeeded in bandaging the wounds of his officer and was last seen kneeling beside him, using his body to protect his officer and bandaging his wounds regardless of the enemy's fire, thus saving his life.

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  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Bless his heart Andy ... but his sacrifice was in vain I'm afraid ..... :(

    Captain Henry J. Tryon
    September 15, 1916
    15th Battalion, attached 8th Battalion, Rifle Brigade
    Thiepval Memorial, France. Age Unknown
    Son of Mrs. R. Tryon, 13 Chesham Street, London, England

    Lieutenant Henry Tryon was rescued by Corporal Alfred Drake also of the Rifle Brigade and a likeness of Tryon and Drake appeared in the Daily Mirror, Monday January 24, 1916. It was in this rescue attempt that Drake, who was killed, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. After Henry Tryon recovered from his wounds he returned to his former unit and was killed in action. A memorial service was held for Captain Tryon at St. John's Church, Sardis where he taught Sunday School for one year. Prior to the church being constructed, he taught Sunday School for seven years in the home of Mrs. I.C. Luca. A sanctuary chair was donated in his memory to St. John the Baptist Anglican Church. His farm was located on Prest Road near Prairie Central. A local chapter of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire was named in his honour. He was a good friend of Arthur Wilson who was also killed during the war.

    Attached Files:

  4. Andy Pay

    Andy Pay Member

    Hi Annie,
    Yes unfortunately, Henry Tryon was killed during the battle of Flers-Courcelette with the 8th RB. A very famous old RB family with one of the Tryon's being killed with the Regiment at Crimea. A very noble act by Drake and a heart rending story all round.

  5. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Wonder why he's on a Canadian War Memorial ?? .... can't find anything in CEF !!!!!!!! :confused:
  6. Andy Pay

    Andy Pay Member

    No idea Annie, the family had a house in West London but originate from Rutland and used to live in Rutland mostly.

  7. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Looks like he was living there .. he taught Sunday School there !!

    Sardis is British Columbia !

    Annie :)
  8. Andy Pay

    Andy Pay Member

    Just checked his papers where his location is given as Chilliwack in his will, but his permament address is given as "The Lodge Cottages, Oakham, Rutland."

  9. Andy Pay

    Andy Pay Member

    Rifle Brigade bio for you.

    Henry Tryon was the second son of the late Captain Richard Tryon of The Lodge, Oakham, who served in the Regiment from 1854 to 1867 who died in 1905 and Mrs. Richard Tryon of 70, Eaton Place, S.W. He was born 24th December 1869 and was farming in British Columbia when the War broke out. He was given a Commission in the 7th Rifle Brigade in December 1914 and was transferred to the 8th Rifle Brigade in August 1915.
    Captain Tryon came from a well known fighting family. His father's eldest brother was the Lieutenant Henry Tryon of the 1st Battalion who fell so gallantly in the famous attack on the Russian Rifle Pits on the night of 20th November 1854. Another brother of his father was Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon who was lost with his flagship H.M.S. Victoria, in 1893. His own elder brother, Captain Richard Tryon served in the Regiment 1891 to 1895 and, coming back to it at the beginning of the War, was killed in action on 10th January 1915, in France.


    Attached Files:

  10. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    That picture is something else Andy !... look at the uniforms ..... did they really wear those hats in WW1 ?

    He certainly came from a military family ... I knew the name from our Crimean exploits !! :)

    Thanks for the extra information !

    Annie :)

    EDIT .... I just realised it's The Exploit at the Ovens, Death of Lieutenant H Tryon, Rifle Brigade 20th November 1854 !! .... I thought the hats looked out of place !!
  11. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Back to Alfred ..... sorry ! I get sidetracked !! :rolleyes:

    Here's his medal .... if anybody would like it from the National Archives !

    Medal card of Drake, Alfred G

    Rifle Brigade S107 Private
    Rifle Brigade S107 Corporal

    These items are available from the Black Sheep Index ... though I don't think anything more would be added to what we have here !

    DRAKE Alfred G Cpl Rifle Brigade VC Award 1916
    DRAKE Alfred G Cpl Rifle Brigade VC Photo1916
    DRAKE Alfred G Cpl Rifle Brigade VC Photo/Story Dic-Dys.pdf
  12. Andy Pay

    Andy Pay Member

    The attached picture is of the Lieutenant Henry Tryon attacking the Rifle Pits in the Crimea, a painting by Harry Paine.

  13. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    I know Andy ... it took me a few minutes to "fall in " !!!!!!!!! :rolleyes:

    I wasn't thinking !!

    Thanks for posting it though ... I like looking at the paintings !

    Annie :)
  14. Emsworthy

    Emsworthy New Member

    Knew I should check my email more!!!

    Typically no middle initial on the census records....but as the birth is registered here:

    Drake, Alfred George
    Q March 1894
    Mile End Old Town
    Vol 1c
    Pg 520

    ...then the most likely looking family is:


    42 Bale Street, Stepney St Dunstan (Part of), Mile End Old Town

    Robert Drake, Head, 37, Dock Labourer, Chatham Kent
    Mary A Drake, Wife, 34, Hackney London
    Lily Drake, Daughter, 8, Mile End London
    Alfred Drake, Son, 7, Mile End London
    Ellen L Drake, Daughter, 2, Stepney London

    RG13/334 F 82 P 10

    All Census information is Crown Copyright, from
  15. Emsworthy

    Emsworthy New Member

  16. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Well done Emma !

    Thank you !! :D
  17. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    I wonder if he was baptisted at Saint Dunstan & All Saints Stepney ?

    The registers for Saint Dunstan & All Saints Stepney are held at the London Metropolitan archive.

    they cover the following periods
    baptisms 1568-1954, Marriages 1568 - 1962 & Burials 1568 - 1929

    Just a thought !! :)
  18. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    I found this .....

    Corporal Drake was the son of Mr and Mrs Robert Drake of 70 Copley Street, he was educated at Ben Johnson Schools, he left school at 14 and got employment under the Port of London Authority. On the outbreak of war he wanted to join up straight away however due to family illness he joined up on 3rd September 1914 and went into the Rifle Brigade. He went to France in May 1915. Within nine weeks he was promoted to Corporal, after a brief spell of leave from 7-12th November he was killed on the following 23rd November 1915. He is buried in La Brique Military Cemetry.

    Annie :)
  19. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

  20. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Who knows where abouts he would have worked .... !


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