Rifleman George Draper was killed in action on the Somme on Monday 9 October 1916 aged 29 when serving with the 1st/5th Bn., London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade). He is our fourth man commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
He was one of the sons of George Draper and his wife Sarah, who kept the shop at what is now no. 37 Ayot Green from 1886. Sarah was born at Hastings in 1855 and her husband was born at Hatfield in the following year. They were married in 1884. In the Ayot St. Peter census returns for 1891, 1901 and 1911 their son George is shown as aged four, 14 and 24 respectively and as born at Ayot St. Peter. His job description in 1911 was ‘wholesale draper’s clerk.’
Another of their sons, Pte. Samuel Draper of the 58th Mechanical Transport Coy., Army Service Corps, died of his wounds on Saturday 20 April 1918 aged 27. He is buried at Picquigny British Cemetery, in the Somme Department.
Samuel was born at Ayot St. Peter early in 1891. In 1911 Samuel was one of two young men boarding with a builder and decorator and his wife at 96 Adelaide Road, Ealing. Samuel was described as an ‘engineer’s learner’ and his fellow boarder as an ‘engineer’s clerk.’ Their employer was a motor and general engineer.
A very sad family headstone in the old churchyard is inscribed as follows: ‘Grace, child of George and Sarah Draper, died 7 Aug 1899 aged 3. Also their 2 sons Private George Draper L.R.B. killed in France when storming the German trenches Oct 8th 1916 aged 29 and Private Samuel Draper A.S.C. died in France from wounds received in action 20 Apr 1918 aged 27, also Mercy died 13 Jan 1920 aged 26.’