Herbert Charles Drayton
Herbert Charles Drayton was born in Soham, Cambridgeshire, on 12 July 1889 to Charles Drayton and Elizabeth Ann née Sheldrick. Herbert worked as a labourer in Newmarket before a brief spell as a militiaman in the 4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment between December 1906 and February 1908. After returning to civilian life as a farm labourer, he joined the Royal Navy on 29 September 1908 for a five-year engagement. Herbert served mainly in larger ships such as armoured cruisers, one of which, HMS Aboukir, later became very well-known early in the war as one of three sister ships to be sunk in a brief engagement by a single German U-boat; a disaster which awoke all navies to a threat which had previously been much underestimated. Meanwhile, Herbert extended his service by undergoing specialist training to become a torpedo operator.
In November 1913 Herbert was posted to the Dreadnought battleship HMS Centurion, serving in her with the Home Fleet (which was based at Scapa Flow in the Orkneys) for most of the war. During this time the effective stand-off between the German and British navies meant that Centurion was involved in only three actions: as part of a fleet that caused German warships to withdraw from a raid on Scarborough, at the major battle of Jutland (where she fired on the German battlecruiser Lützow), and a distant role in the August 1916 North Sea actions against a German raid on Sunderland. During 1918 Herbert served in a minelayer, then after the war in the early aircraft carrier Argus, and finally in a series of training and support ships. Herbert was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal and his service is commemorated on the plaque in Frampton Village Hall.
Herbert married Rose Ann Blake in Slimbridge on 24 July 1916 and three children followed: Nancy, Ronald and Leslie. The family lived in Church End House along with Rose's parents from 1918, or maybe even a couple of years earlier, renting it from Frampton Court Estate. In 1924 Rose Ann's father, Thomas Blake, bought the property in her name for £600. Herbert continued in the Navy until c. 1935-36; his entire service seems to have been in the UK and home waters except for a brief period at a Malta shore station. He achieved the rank of petty officer and was awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1923. After leaving the Navy Herbert developed a significant local milk round, delivering as far as Elmore. Herbert Charles Drayton was buried in St Mary's churchyard on 21 April 1949.