Cecil was the fourth of five sons of Robert Drake and Martha (formerly Martha Cook), and he was born Morcott, Rutland (his birth was registered 1896 2nd Quarter in Uppingham). His grandparents were William Drake and Rachel (formerly Shelton). William was a miller and baker in Morcott.
Cecil was a Private in the Northamptonshire Regiment. He died 25 Oct 1916 and his grave is at the A I F Burial Ground, Flers.
Below is a transcription of a printed account placed near the grave, which movingly shows the comradeship, determination and bravery of these very young men who faced such horrors and the real possibility of death.
Private Cecil Edward Drake the youngest son of Mr Robert and Mrs Drake of Morcott was born 8 Apr 1897, and when war broke out was employed as a fitter at Messrs Martins, Stamford. He enlisted in the 1st Northants 12 Aug 1914 and went out to France two months afterwards. During the following winter he was incapacitated with frostbitten feet and later he was invalided home with pleurisy and pneumonia. Returning to France again, he took part in the Battle of the Somme. On the night of 26 Oct 1916 while carrying up rations over some open country he was killed by a shell. A comrade writes “He was at the rear of me and seemed to be the only one who saw the shell coming. When I turned round he was knocked down. I tried my best to help him but to no avail. He asked me to see to everything which I had promised and then passed away. He died a hero’s death and is missed by his Company, also the Platoon.” Private Drake was a member of the church choir before joining the Army.
Image by Guild member Evelyn O’Connor.