Drake

Megan’s great-great-great-grandparents, William Henry Drake and Louisa Purkis, were amongst the first settlers to Perth, Western Australia. They and their children travelled the world. The banner shows the Drake house in Macquarie Street, Hobart, Tasmania and the Commissariat Store, Hobart, where Henry worked, superimposed on a modern view across King George’s Sound from where the Drake house stood in Albany, Western Australia. The Drake family was from Devon and the next image is of the early 17th century Drake memorial in the church at Musbury, Devon.  The lace jacket was taken from the barge of Prince Grigory Gagarin, the ousted governor of Kertch, during the Crimean War in which Henry served as a senior Commissariat officer at Balaklava. The final two images are of Regents Park Terrace, London, where the Drakes lived after their return from the Crimea and Clanricarde Gardens, London, where Henry died.


The Crimean War

William Henry Drake served as a senior Commissariat officer for the duration of the Crimean War, primarily at Balaklava. Megan has carried out extensive research into the Commissariat during the war and William Henry’s part in it. Her MA thesis is titled Civilians at War: William Henry Drake and the Commissariat in the Crimean War. She has also contributed to the Crimean War Research Society. Links to this research and her thesis are provided below:

Civilians at War: William Henry Drake and the Commissariat in the Crimean War  (PDF 22MB)

Crimean War Research Society

The Drake Crimean Letters  – the letters written by William Henry Drake whilst en route to Crimea and from his posting at Balaklava as well as letters from Louisa once she joined him, with detailed annotations.

McNeill/Tulloch Commission of Enquiry  – an enquiry into the conduct of the Commissariat during the war.

Report of the Board of General Officers – The Chelsea Board – a further enquiry into the conduct of the war.

The Times Letters  – transcriptions of letters to The Times regarding the Commissariat.

Duties of the Commissariat

Details of Commissariat officers – 1854 to 1856


Drake Stories

My thesis contains a lot of information about William Henry Drake and his family. Since completing it, I have found a lot more information about their lives and I want to share this new information here.

William Henry Drake – a short summary of his life.

After Portugal – the affairs of John Drake, Henry’s father, and the family after the Peninsular War.

Swan River Colony – Henry’s move to Western Australia, marrying Louisa Purkis and the growth of their family.

Hobart – Life in Van Diemen’s Land.

London and New Brunswick – The next posting with a short time in the “old country”.

Crimea – The start and getting there via Piræus and Varna.

Balaklava and the Crimean Peninsular

Kertch – the expedition to Kertch accompanied by Louisa and Louisa Maria as well as Russell and Simpson.

Death of Raglan and the spoils of war

More enjoyable times – Henry’s CB, the end of the war, and the return home.


©Megan Stevens 2018