Lieutenant Ernest Francis Drake

3rd Battalion Cheshire Regiment

Ernest, who was born in 1895, was the eldest son of Sidney and Lois Drake. He had two brothers, Maurice (born in 1897) and Harold (born in 1904), and a younger sister, Dorothy (born in 1901).

Parents Sidney and Lois originated from London but lived for many years in Cheshire, their last address being Ellen Brook on Brooklands Road.  Sidney was a cotton merchant and served as Church Warden at St John's for six years between 1904 and 1916.

On leaving Haileybury College Ernest worked for 15 months in Berlin, returning to England in December 1912.  He was working in London before war broke out.  He soon enlisted and in October 1914 he was commissioned in the Cheshire Regiment.  Ernest was part of the task force which landed in Gallipoli in August 1915 but was forced to return to the UK in December 1915 suffering from dysentery.  Surviving records show he transferred from the Army to the RAF on the 18 June 1918, where he was passed fit for ground duties only.

In 1918, an unusually deadly flu pandemic raged across the world, infecting 500 million people and resulting in the deaths of 50-100 million of them, between 3 and 5% of the world’s population.  It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.

Sadly Ernest contracted influenza and following an operation, he died of heart failure in a Birkenhead Nursing Home on the 10 December 1918.  His father Sidney Drake died in 1917 aged 55 and mother Lois in 1954 aged 83.

Ernest is buried in Sale Military Cemetery, Sale, Cheshire and commemorated on our War Memorial at St. John’s.

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