Driver Job Drain VC

Discussion in 'Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Captain Douglas Reynolds And Drivers Drain And Luke Winning The V.C. For Saving A Gun At Le Cateau.

    On August 26th 1914, the Royal Field Artillery did some magnificent rearguard work and saved the infantry from destruction. The guns were fought until the advancing German masses were right on the gunners and the guns had then to be abandoned. Captain Reynolds, of the 37th Battery, however, meant to save his guns if it were humanly possible, and he brought up two teams in the hope of bringing at least two guns away. The men of one team were shot down, but Captain Reynolds and Drivers Drain, Gobley and Luke limbered up one gun and started off. Gobley, driving the centre pair, was hit almost at once, and then Captain Reynolds showed great resource by riding alongside the unguided pair and keeping them in hand.
  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    LONDON - NOVEMBER 10 2009 - Job Drain's grandsons, Barry Drain (L) and Brian Drain (R) at the unveil of a new statue of Job Drain VC ahead of armistice day on November 10, 2009 in Dagenham, England. Job Drain won his Victoria Cross during WWI when he played a vital role in the rescue of artillery guns in the face of enemy fire. Mr Drain, along with two other Victoria Cross winners, are being honoured as former residents of the Dagenham community.

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  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Born - Oct. 15 1895
    Died - Jul. 26 1975

    World War I Victoria Cross Recipient. Born in Barking, Essex, he enlisted in the regular Army in 1912 at the age of 16 as an alternative to unemployment. He was awarded the V.C. for action during the battle of Le Cateau, August 25, 1914, while he was serving as a driver for the 37th (Howitzer) Battery, Royal Field Artillery.

    Drain's battery was serving as artillery support for the 2nd Suffolk and 2nd Manchester regiments, but the artillery positions had been placed too close to the infantry's lines, and enemy artillery was able to do double damage. After about seven hours, the initial order to hold at all costs was changed to retrieve the guns and leave the battlefield. To cover the infantry's retreat the artillery kept firing until their ammunition was almost exhausted, and Drain's battery was among the last to depart. Drain's commander, Capt. Douglas Reynolds, asked for volunteers to go and bring back the howitzers to prevent them from falling into enemy hands, but he was only able to find two spare limbers (teams of horses and caissons). The two teams made it in, but only the team with Reynolds, Drain and fellow Driver Frederick Luke made it out with their gun, not only through the Germans forces which were closing in on three sides, but also through a curtain of shrapnel thrown up by British artillery further back that was covering the retreat. Observers were reported to be astounded at the speed and audacity of the operation.
    For their parts in the heroic mad dash, Reynolds, Drain and Luke were all awarded the V.C., and several other participants were also decorated.

    Like many other veterans, Drain had some difficulty adjusting to civilian life after the war; he worked for a while as a messenger for government offices in Whitehall, then a porter at the fish market in Billingsgate, and for many years he was a London bus driver. He passed away at his home in Barking at the age of 79. His medals are privately held.

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  4. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    The Essex Weekly News carried the following item early in 1915:-


    Interviewed by a representative of the Essex Weekly News, Driver Draine related how he went out with his battery and arrived in France on August 19. On August 23 they detrained at Le Cateau. Early on August 24 they went into action near Mons, and afterwards came the great retreat. Pressed to tell how he won the coveted distinction, he was at first unwilling to speak of himself. He then said: -

    "We opened fire during the morning of Wednesday August 26th, coming into action on a big plain. There was no cover or hiding place whatever, so we had to get on with it the best way we could. There were 18 pounder batteries on either side of us, and there were hundreds of our Infantry going up to meet the enemy. Siege batteries were in the rear of us.
    The Germans soon started shelling, and both sides were firing as hard as they could. It was now getting terrible. Shells came all ways in sixes and tens at the time. They were bursting all over the place - on the tops of our guns, and over our wagon lines, with plenty of spare rifle bullets flying about. Men and horses were getting wounded and killed. We received the order to get mounted. It was terrible. Shells were still bursting over the top of us. Other batteries were getting smashed to pieces. Lumps of shells and bullets were flying down in between us. We could not get anywhere for shelter, so we had to sit on our horses with our heads bent down between the animals. Most of our drivers got wounded and we had given up all hope of escape, and only waited for our turn at any moment to come. The shells burst like rain. Our Major, who was at the observing station, sent down the order that the 37th Battery would never retire. Our Captain then took control of the Battery. We stayed in action until we had lost nearly half our men, which was about 60 or 70, killed or wounded. The cries of the wounded and the shouting of the men was something terrible. I do not think there was a man on the field that day who did not say his Prayers.
    At last a general retirement was ordered. The 18 pounder Battery on the right of us went up to get their guns, but most of them were blown to pieces. Two teams only escaped, and they came down to our Battery, and our Captain claimed them to take two of our guns away. There were now four guns left in action and the question was what was to be done. The Captain sent down for wagon teams and gun limbers, and we made a dash for it. Only two teams reached the guns; they were F and B sub-sections. We managed to get two more guns away safely and took them to the nearest village. Then our Captain said, ‘We must have more guns’, so F and B turned round and went back at a mad gallop. This time the German Infantry were only 100 yards off our guns. Driver Luke and myself went back at a mad pace, but Driver Cobey, my centre driver, was shot from his horse. There were then only left myself and Driver Luke, who was also awarded the VC, Captain Reynolds VC, Legion of Honour, who is now a Major in the Artillery, and two or three others. It was the worst time of my life. Shells and bullets were flying like rain from the clouds. This was my VC ride, and it was a ride of either life or death. I do not know how we managed to escape, but we saved two guns.

    Later, I and Driver Luke and Captain Reynolds were awarded the VC, and we were decorated on the field by the King at a place called Locon. His Majesty was accompanied by the Prince of Wales at the time."

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