My family

Please see my 'Contact' page re email address.


Three generations camping in France, a BA (Hons) Degree and The Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award for Sarah.
Sarah has since achieved a second BA (Hons) Degree, and Kathy & Tim now have their BA (Hons) Degrees.

Sarah                                               Tim                                               Peter


Chris & Kathy in 1972

Kathy & Chris about 1995

Chris & Kathy in 2003

Kathy & Chris in 2005


Kathy & Chris in 2011


For those of you who are still new to modern technology
and remember the 'good old days'

I was visiting a friend last night when I asked
if I could borrow a newspaper. "This is the 21st
century, old man," he said. "We don't waste money on
newspapers. Here, you can borrow my iPad."
I can tell you, that fly never knew what hit it!


It's 2013 and now I really am confused as to which comment refers to me! Kathy says, 'Both!'

Christmas 2013, another year ending, all getting older, but still happy & smiling.



Richard Bruce Drakes (1912-1988) & Frances Huntly Ricketts (1920-2001), my very dear parents.

Richard Bruce Drakes on his horse ‘Diablo’ during the 1950s.

Richard Bruce Drakes, with a brace of pheasants, running a 'rough shoot' in Bedfordshire during the 1960s.

His Esso garage ‘Richard B. Drakes Garage' on the A1 at Eaton Socon, Bedfordshire in the 1960s. The A1 has since bypassed the village and the petrol station has disappeared, with only a small used car dealership now on part of the site.

Roman Bank, Skegness, Lincolnshire, where Frank Drakes owned a butcher’s shop next to his home, 'Sandringham House' where Richard Bruce Drakes was born in 1912. Sadly, the area has declined somewhat since those days.

Frank Drakes old Butcher's Shop (left) and Sandrigham House (next door to right)
at Roman Bank, Skegness, Lincolnshire, as they appeared in 2007.

Frank (right) and his older brother Sidney (left), with three farm workers at High Street Farm, Ludford, Lincolnshire about 1906.


(left & centre) Frank Drakes (1889-1957), my dear old granddad, in South Notts. Hussars. (right) Richard Bruce Drakes as a young boy during the 1914-18 war; he was dressed in uniform to show support for the war effort, at a time when every adult male was expected to be in uniform.

The South Notts Hussars parading in the main square in Nottingham before going off to World War 1

Frank Drakes (1889-1957) served in the South Notts. Hussars. He enlisted on 18.9.1914 and was discharged on 22.3.1915, due to having contracted Tuberculosis (TB). He was awarded The Silver War Badge ' For King & Empire: Service Rendered ', which was issued from 1916 to soldiers discharged for disablement or ill-health to show that they had served; he needed to wear this at all times when out of his home, to proved that he wasn't a coward, or he would have been challeged by some of the women of serving men, as to why he wasn't in uniform. This badge has a unique number on the back, and the Public Record Office holds a Roll of these numbers that can provide additional information about each of the the recipients.

Being invalided out of the army with Tuberculosis (TB) and apparently not having seen any action, probably saved his young life, though the illness eventually killed him at the age of 67. Sadly, so very many of his young comrades didn't return. During the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), one third of deaths were due to Tuberculosis (TB), and many people were still dying of the disease well into the 20th century. It was eventually eradicated from the UK but has recently returned due to the massive worldwide interchanges in the global community.

Emily Kate Crossley ('Daisy') (1886-1964)

Frank Drakes, daughter Nora & 'Nurse', son Richard, and wife Emily c1919, when they were living at Gunthorpe Hall, Notts., where Nora was born. Their third child, Joan, was born in 1922, also at Gunthorpe Hall, Notts. 'Nurse' was a 'family retainer' who later emigrated with them to Canada.

Richard Bruce Drakes & Nora Barbara Drakes c1919

Frank, Emily & Nora Drakes with their car in Canada during the early 1930s

Frank, Emily, Bruce & Joan Drakes with their 'Nurse' in Canada during the 1930s

Frank & Emily Drakes with their car in Canada during the 1930s

Their daughters Nora (centre) and Joan (right) with their pet bear cub in the early 1930s.

When the possiblity of War threatened Europe again, the family finally returned to live in England, on the 'Duchess of York' of the Canadian Pacific Line from Montreal, Canada, arriving at Liverpool on 7.8.1936. Their son, Richard and his young family followed, arriving at Plymouth on 19.9.1937 on board the Cunard White Star Limited ship 'Alaunia' from Montreal, Canada. Britain declared War against Germany on 3.9.1939, and Frank kept his old cowboy pistol loaded and to hand, with enough bullets to take the lives of his wife, himself, and their children if need be, as he feared for their future under Nazi rule should their proposed invasion succeed, like many English parents did in those days.

Frank’s wife Emily Kate (Daisy) Crossley (1186-1964) with their older children Richard and Nora Barbara Drakes; their younger daughter Joan Barnby Drakes, was not yet born; she is pictured here during the 1940s with her pony and trap.


Edwin Rhodes Crossley (1857-1938), father of Emily above, on his horse 'Summer Prince', outside his home 'Dunholme' Sellindge, Kent (left) with his dogs (left to right) 'Zena', 'Dorcus', and 'Hector', and whilst hunting (right) locally near Sellindge, Kent during the 1920s & 1930s.


Edwin Rhodes Crossley and Kate Louisa Moss (his first wife), the parents of Emily Kate Crossley ('Daisy'), above.


Kate Louisa Crossley (née Moss) in later life.

'Granny Moss' of Wakefield, Yorks. She is believed to be Jane Moss (née Barmby), the mother of Kate Louisa Moss, above. She was the widow of Thomas Moss, who died in 1856, aged 36. (see W. Yorks Yeomanry)


Tathwell Grange, Lincolnshire (another ‘Drakes’ family home).


There are several ‘Drakes’ in this photo, which is believed to be the Hainton (Lord Heneage’s), or the Girsby (Sir John Vigor-Fox’s), Cricket Team. Back row: Ben Drakes (5th from left); front row: John Drakes (far left); George Drakes (far right). There are several family stories of the 'Drakes' playing against 'the rest of the County', and one of the 'Drakes' team playing the 'Duckering' team.

Adobe PhotoDeluxe Home Edition Image

William Wade Drakes (b.1856) and Annie Maria Drakes, née Smith, (b.1877), with their daughters Mary (b.1904) and Annie (b.1901) at Hoe Hill Farm, Swinhope, Lincs.

In 2010, there were two 'Drakes' farm-cart signs on display at the Wheelwright's Workshop at The Village Museum, Church Farm, Church Road South, Skegness, PE25 2HF, though the owners were farmers, not wheelwrights. This unique little museum, then run by Lincolnshire County Council, was threatened with closure, despite an excellent good group of volunteer supporters who work there for the benefit of all. I am delighted to say that in 2001 it was being run as an open-air museum by local volunteers. See their website: Church Farm Village Museum. (NB. This website was 'offline' when I last checked)

These signs belonged to: ‘Reuben Drakes, (1881-1928)’ & ‘Basil Reuben Drakes & William John Drakes, (his sons)’, who farmed at Roseville Farm, Swaby, Lincs., until the 1930s.

Wolds farm waggons loaded with woolsacks c1910.

For many centuries, the Lincolnshire Wolds sheep had supplied the best-quality wool for making Flemish tapestries. Such exports, initially undertaken by the Abbeys until the Dissolution of 1538, were sent via the port of Boston or from the river Humber on the east coast. Even goods from western side of England had to be carried by mules over the Pennines to be exported to Europe via these routes. The discovery of America, and the eventual development of Liverpool and Bristol as a direct result, changed the entire system for exports and Boston gradually fell into disuse as a major port, though Kingston-upon-Hull has survived. The Flemish wool trade seems to have had its hay-day before the Dissolution and never to have recovered to its former wealth.

The blacksmith's shop at Alford, Lincolnshire c.1910.

There were Drakes living at Alford, Lincolnshire, and there were known 'Drakes' blacksmiths elsewhere in Lincolnshire. Though there is no evidence that the above blacksmiths were named 'Drakes', no doubt they would have had similar premises.

My grandfather's distant cousin, Ray Drakes, purchased a 10-ton steam roller from Lindsey County Council in May 1966. He accidentally crashed it at Normanby Halt, Normanby Hill, Lincolnshire on his way home to Humberston after collecting it from Claxby Station Yard. It wasn't anyone's fault; the 6:1 gradient of the hill was just too much for the old traction engine. He had to stop on the hill and it started to roll backwards, but he managed to steer it into a ditch to stop it. Nobody was injured and the engine survived unscathed, as can be seen in the 1990 photo below.

                                                                                                                                     copyright Chris Drakes

Fowler steam roller number 16967 at Manby, Lincolnshire in 1990 showing 'R. G. Drakes of Humberston tel: 813117' on the side; vehicle registration index number FU 9970, once owned by Raymond Grant Drakes (1926-1982).

Getting old

When an old man died in the geriatric ward, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value, until they found this poem, which is now winging around the world via the Internet.

Cranky Old Man

What do you see nurses? . .  . . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. .. . . . when you're looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . .  . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . . with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food .. . .. . . . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .. . . .. "I do wish you'd try!"
Who seems not to notice . .  . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . . . . . . A sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not .. . . . . . . .. . . . lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding  . . . . .. .The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking?  . . . . . .  Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse . . . . .. . you're not looking at me..

I'll tell you who I am . . . . . . . As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, . . . . . . as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of Ten . . . . . . . with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . . . . . . who love one another

A young boy of Sixteen . . . . . with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . . . ... . . a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . . . . . my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. . . . . . that I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now . . . . . ... . . . . I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . . . . . . . . .. My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . . . . . . With ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons .. . . .. . have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . . . . . . to see I don't mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .  . . . . . ..Babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . . . . My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me .  . . . .. . .   . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future ... . . . . . . . . . . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing . . . . . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . .. . . . . And the love that I've known.

I'm now an old man . . . . . . . . . and nature is cruel.
It's jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. . . . ... . . . . . grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone .. . . . . .. . where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass .  . . .. A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . .. . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . .. . . . . . . . ... . I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and living . . . . .. . . . . . . . . life over again.

I think of the years . . . . . all too few . . . . . . gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . . . . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people . . . . . . . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .   Look closer . . . . see . . . . . .. . ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person, whom you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. If we are really lucky we might all, one day, be there too! How would you like to be treated, by the future 'younger people', when you are 'old and vulnerable'?

Remember, all old people are only 18 years old inside, plus a life-time of memories. The 'you' inside doesn't age with the body; it just gets a bit slower.

If I am lucky, I may grow to be old.
If I am very lucky, others will still see the youth inside me.
If I am extremely lucky, she will still love me.
... and she does
Tempus fugit, amor manet = Time flies, love waits

The Nun’s Prayer (author unknown)

Lord Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old.

Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs.

Make me thoughtful but not moody: helpful but not bossy.

With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Seal my lips on my aches and pains.

They are increasing and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years by.

I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others.

Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint some of them so hard to live with, but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.

Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people.

And, give me O Lord the grace to tell them so.