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Some VC Heroes

Articles > Barking & Dagenham

Job Henry Charles Drain (15th October 1895 - 26th July 1975)

  • Action for which the Victoria Cross was given: Le Cateau, France, 26 August 1914 (during the Great War, 1914-1918)

Job Drain lived at 42 Greatfields Road, Barking. He voluntered for the regular army in 1912, aged 17, as an alternative to unemployment. Drain served all four years of the First World War. He won his Victoria Cross at the Battle of Le Cateau, in France, on 26 August 1914, while holding the rank of Driver in the 37th (Howitzer) Battery, Royal Field Artillery.

Job joined a group of soldiers who volunteered to save two artillery guns from the advancing enemy lines. One of the carriages was shot down, but Job and two fellow soldiers brought one of the guns through, despite coming under heavy shell and rifle fire from the German infantry.

After the war Job had some difficulty getting back into civilian life. He worked as a messenger for government offices in Whitehall, then as a fish porter, a local bus driver and finally for the London Electricity Board. He passed away at his home in Barking, aged 79, on 26th July 1975, and was buried at Rippleside cemetery on 1st August 1975 (Grave R/S/U/158). His wife Patricia Cecilia Drain, who was born on 7th October 1899, was buried in the same grave, aged 81, on 13th March 1981. A son, Job Henry George Drain who died, aged 83, on 27th January 2005, was interred with his parents on 9th February 2005. A fine statue of Job Drain, dressed in army uniform, was erected outside the Broadway Theatre, Barking in November 2009.

Tasker Watkins (18th November 1918 - 9th September 2007)

  • Action for which the Victoria Cross was given: north-west Europe, 16 August 1944  (during the Second World war, 1939-1945)

Tasker Waskins was a lieutenant in the Welch Regiment in 1944. His company came under heavy fire as they crossed a cornfield full of traps. There were many casualties and Tasker was the only Officer to  survive.

He charged two machine-gun posts, disabling them, before coming upon an anti-tank gun manned by an enemy soldier. When Tasker’s rifle failed, he threw it in the soldier’s face and shot him with his pistol.

Backed  by 30 men, Watkins charged against 50 enemy infantry.

At dusk they found themselves surrounded, but the order to withdraw had not reached them because their wireless set had been destroyed.

Tasker led his men round the flank and was  soon challenged by an enemy post at close range. He told his men to scatter and charged the post with a Bren gun, taking it out of action.

Tasker lived in Dagenham for 15 years, between 1931 and 1945, at 122 Dagenham Avenue.

He married  at Dagenham Parish Church. Originally from Wales, he later moved his family back to Cardiff after the war.

William Hope (12th April 1834 - 17th December 1909)

  • Action for which the Victoria Cross was given: Sebastopol, now in the Ukraine, 18 June  1855 (during the Crimean War, 1853-1856)

William Hope was among the first ever recipients of the Victoria Cross. Queen Victoria presented it to him in Hyde Park on 26 June 1857.

William, who later became a colonel of the 1 City of  London Artillery Volunteers, was decorated for bringing in a wounded officer on 18 June 1855, while fighting with the infantry on the Redan in the Crimea. He was a lieutenant with the 7 Regiment, Royal Fusiliers, at the time.

He leased the manor  house of Parsloes from the Fanshawe family between 1867 and 1878. He eventually became military attaché to clebrated diplomat Lord Napier, who visited several times at Parsloes. William died in Chelsea in 1909.

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