The Friends of St. Peter's Berkhamsted

Friends of St Peter's, Great Berkhamsted

Drage, Alfred Radley Blake (1893 – 1921); and Frances Miriam

Grave Number 500

Alfred served for most of WW1 and when he died in 1921, he received a full military funeral but he does not appear on the town memorials or have a CWGC headstone.

He was a grocer and was born in Baldock. He joined the Army Service Corp as Private 415 in June 1915. By the time of his death he had reached the rank of Staff Sargent Major. The initials after his name on his headstone show that he had worked in EFC (Expeditionary Force Canteens) NACB (Navy and Army Canteen Board) and NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes). He served in a number of different war locations including France, Italy and the East. It’s clear that his experience as a grocer was put to good use in the Royal Army Service Corp.

In 1917 he married Frances Miriam Young, the youngest daughter of Frederick Young, a builder of 256 High Street, Berkhamsted. The couple had a daughter, Frances Gwendolyn, who was born in March 1920.

Alfred died at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, Hampshire on 1 March 1921 aged 28. His funeral service took place at the Wesleyan Church in Cowper Road. On the way to the cemetery the coffin was covered with the Union Jack and was preceded by a firing party from the Royal Army Service corps. A further service was conducted at Rectory Lane at the close of which a volley was fired and the last post sounded. He left behind his wife and infant daughter. One of the wreaths was inscribed “to the memory of S/S/M Drage EFC, NACB, NAAEI; from his comrades in France, Italy and the east, for his courage and increasing devotion to duty; he was loved and respected by all”.

His wife Frances Miriam died, aged 40, on 15 April 1927, she is buried with her husband.


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