William Spencer Drake was born in Thame early in 1885 the eldest of eight children born to William and Emily Drake of 28 Park Street Thame, carpenter. However by 1911, the family had moved to 165 High Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire where father William was a fruit merchant.
William enlisted in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry (6776) at Oxford early in 1901 giving his birth year as 1883. He was serving with the 2nd Battalion which landed at Boulogne on 14 August 1914
The Battalion was in support of the retreat from Mons in 1914 and took part in the Battle of Loos in 1915. A report from a fellow Sgt reads:
“Sergt W S Drake was killed in an attack on the German trenches about 6.30 on the morning of Sept 25th.(1915) He was very popular and highly respected by everyone who knew him in the Company, and especially in his platoon – the men he led in the attack. I have no doubt you will be glad to know he did not suffer any length of time after being hit; he was not seen to move, so it is believed his death was instantaneous. We buried him on Sunday afternoon in the military cemetery at Cuinchy”.
William is buried in Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, France and is remembered on the Thame war memorial and on St Mary’s Church memorial board. He is also remembered on Cheltenham war memorial.
The Thame Remembers Cross was delivered to Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, Pas de Calais, France on 01st November 2015 by Brenda Mawdsley