George Albert Drinkall

canadaPrivate, 727431, 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles (Quebec Regiment), died, 15th August 1917

George was born at Crowle on 4th February 1894, one of ten children of George William and Mary Ann Drinkall (nee Brewster). His mother was from Belton and his father, a platelayer on the railway was from Crowle. When George was born the family lived in Gas House Road but had moved to Cross Street in 1911, where his father had given up the railway to be a fish and fruit dealer.

On census day 1911 George was a waggoner for Sarah Dowson on her farm in North Street. However three months later, on the 27th July 1911, he left Liverpool on board the SS Tunisan to join his elder brother Tom in Canada. George found work as an electrician and the two brothers lived at 105 St David Street, Stratford, Ontario. In Canada when war broke out, George returned to visit the family in Crowle in December 1914 and stayed a few months before going back to Canada in April 1915.

When George came to Crowle his two younger brothers, Frank and Alfred were already in the forces, Alfred as a stoker on HMS Barham at the Battle ofJutland. On 31st January 1916 George joined them, enlisting in Ontario with the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles. It is not sure when he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force in France but he was still in Ontario on 5th October 1916 as that was the day he married Olive Pearl Barnhardt.

On 15th August 1917 the 5th Canadian Rifles were involved in the Battle for Hill 70 at Lens. Intended as a diversionary operation to relieve pressure on the other Allied forces fighting at Passchendale, the four days of fighting in which the Canadians took, and then defended Hill 70 cost them over 9000 casualties. Many of them from the effects of mustard gas.

Among those who died on Hill 70 was George Drinkall. He has no known grave and is celebrated, with all the Canadian soldiers who died on the Western Front, on the Vimy Memorial.

The fourth Drinkall brother, Tom, who was a pacifist, Mennonite, enlisted shortly after his brother and served with the RAMC.