10 November 2009

The newly elected leader of Barking & Dagenham Council, Councillor Liam Smith, put forward an idea to commemorate the heroes of the Borough, first and foremost the Borough's Victoria Cross holders. As a result a local firm, Sculp-It Ltd, was commissioned to construct a statue of Sergeant Job Drain VC, Royal Field Artillery, who was born and lived in the Borough and following his death in 1975 was buried in the Barking's Rippleside Cemetery.

At a prestigious ceremony held on Tuesday, 10th November 2009, the two grandsons of Job Drain unveiled the statue to commemorate their grandfather which is located in front of the Broadway Theatre facing Barking Abbey Park. On the reverse of the statue base is a plaque depicting Job Drain's heroic action in saving the guns at Le Cateau, France, on 26th August 1914.

Other holders of the Victoria Cross who were also commemorated by Barking & Dagenham Council by the placing of blue plaques on houses where they lived, were, Colonel William Hope VC, Royal Fusiliers; Major The Rt Hon Sir Tasker Watkins VC, GBE, The Welch Regiment; Sergeant Job Drain VC, Royal Field Artillery.

Steven Hunter of Sculpt-It Ltd enlisted a model dressed in the exact uniform which Job Drain would have worn in 1914. Over a hundred images were then taken of the model and from these the statue was constructed taking six weeks to complete.

The British Expeditionary Force ( BEF ), a small force of tough well-trained professional soldiers, first saw action at Mons in Belgium in mid-August 1914. The British force of seventy thousand men and three hundred guns faced a far superior German force comprising a hundred and sixty thousand troops with six hundred guns. Forced to retreat under overwhelming odds, the BEF fell back, inflicting serious casualties on the Germans on the way. Numerous acts of heroism were performed by British troops during this period, one such incident occurred on the 26th August 1914.

The artillerymen of 37th Battery, Royal Field Artillery at Le Cateau, strove to limber up their guns in a hail of fire from enemy infantry, who were within 200 yards of the muzzles. Four of the six 37 Battery RFA's 4.5 inch howitzers were got away, but to recover the remaining two was a task that seemed suicidal.

Nevertheless, when Captain Douglas Reynolds asked for volunteers there was no shortage of men willing to take on the risk. Two teams galloped forward to what seemed like certain death. One was quickly shot down, but the other got to the gun position, wheeled round, limbered-up and brought one of the howitzers out of action, one of the drivers being hit in the process. Reynolds and Drivers Frederick Luke and Job Drain all received the Victoria Cross.

Reynolds, promoted to major, was killed in action on the Western Front on 23rd February 1916. Luke and Drain both became sergeants and survived the war.

For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 25 November 1914 ], Le Cateau, France, 26 August 1914, Driver Job Henry Charles Drain, 37th Bty., Royal Field Artillery.

With Driver Frederick Luke at Le Cateau on 26th August, as volunteers, helping to save guns under fire from hostile infantry who were 100 yards away.

Job Drain was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V in France on the 1st December 1914.

Job Drain died at his home in Barking, Essex, on the 26th July 1975, aged 79, and was buried in Rippleside Cemetery.

Medal entitlement of Sergeant Job Drain - 37th Bty., Royal Field Artillery

  • Victoria Cross
  • 1914 Star + clasp "5th Aug-22 Nov 1914"
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )


Go to VC UK flag Home Page

Iain Stewart, 10 November 2009