On 21 February 1856, Henry was informed that he had been appointed a Companion of the Bath. He was justly proud of the award and in writing to his parents said, “I shall want a bit of ribbon, C.B. colour to put on my coat. So you see with my Red Ribbon, my Chevalier Cross and Medal & three Clasps, I shall make an imposing appearance!”
Louisa sewed “Henry’s Red Ribbon on his Coat” and wrote to Henry’s parents that she “thought it looked very well and I am not a little proud of it.”
The war was coming to an end and the Drake’s enjoyed entertainment, theatre and the Grand Races on the Tchernaya River which was a great festival reportedly attended by some 100,000 people.
Peace came with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on 30 March 1856, but news only reached the Crimea on 2nd of April. Nonetheless, the Drakes attended the Great Ball on board the Bruiser on 31 March with Henry reported in the Illustrated London News as proposing the toast to the Captain and his wife.
More celebrations followed including an “excellent dinner” on board the Ottawa. The only sour note was that that night the Drakes’ stable burnt down singing Louisa’s horse, Jack.
The Drakes then went home via Kertch, but not before Louisa had “mustered Courage … to call on Miss Nightingale” who she regarded as “one of the Lions of the present day.” They stopped off in Constantinople, where Henry had some duties to attend to, and visited the tourist attractions. They eventually left on 21 July and arrived in London in early August and took up residence at 21 Regents Park Terrace where neighbours were to play a part in introducing their younger daughter Charlotte Augusta Dring to her future husband, Charles Henry Marshall.
©Megan Stevens 2018