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The Rattle of Drake's Drum: WW1 1914 Star with Extensive Research


Here on offer is a rare well researched 1914 (Aug-Nov) WW1 Star. This is an intereting medal as the owner was an Exeter man wjo was a Drummer  of the Devonshire Regiment. The Western Times (Friday 9th October 1914 noted that he died in hospital (Flanders) as the result of his injuries/ wounds. Drummer John Kilgannin was a well-known Exeter man who had been seen regulary playing in military processions in the city of Exeter. Tragically he left behind a wife and four children.  

He was in addition to this medal entitled to:

  1. The WW1 Victory Medal
  2. WW1 War Medal

John was assigned to the 1st Devonshire Battalion when he died and was aged 34 years old. He died on 20/09/1914. John was the so of James and Louisa Kilgannon of Exeter and was the husband of Agnes Kilgannon and livied in the village of Broadclyst, Exeter. Drummer John Kilgannon also seved in the South African Campaign (Commonwealth War Dead grave memorial B.2. (Sp. Mem.) at Braine Communal Cemetery (France, Aisne). Braine was captured by dismounted units of the 1st Cavalry Brigade on 12/09/1914 and No. 5 Casulaty Clearing Station was then posted in the town. It was retaken by the Germans on 28/05/1918 and recovered in the following July. Braine communual Cemetery contains 78 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War, all dating from September and October 1914. 68 of the casualities are named on special memorials because the exact positions of theoir graves in the Commonwealth plot are not known.  

John Kilgannon's other medals are held in the Devon and Dorset Military Museum and they have recorded John , as follows:

John Kilgannon was born in 1882 in Devonport and was the son of James Kilgannon, as Irishman from Silgo, who had served with the famous 75th and 92nd Rgiment of Foot - the Gordon Highlanders. He had enlisted in Liverpool back in 1858 and had served all over the world: on discharge in 1879, he settled firstly in Stoke Damerel, then in Exeter, where he worked as a barrack labourer with the Army Service Corps. His wife Louisa, born in Plymouth in 1863. Perhaps it was  inevitable that the young John should follow his Father into the Army and on 13th December 1895, at the age of just 14 years and 10 months, he enlisted as a part-time boy soldier in the 4th Battalion Devonshire Regiment. His medical record shows he was just 5 feet tall and weighed only 7 stone! A sterotypical boy Drummer, if there was one. In 1899, when the 2nd Boer War broke out the Battalion provided a section of Volunteers to join the 2nd Battalion in South Africa. john signed on as a Regular and served alongside Walter Dunster and, like him, earned the Queens and Kings South Africa Campaign medals.

A superb and very rare medal and research package to a local Devonshire soldier. 

See the article 'The Rattle of Drake's Drum' as this describes that in April 1911 the 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment was stationed at Lucknow Barracks, named, like all the military accomodation blocks at North Tidworth, after battles in India and Afghanistan. Amongst the other ranks were three drummers, one of which was John whose lives would be tied togther in war. Within three and half years all three men would embark with the Regiment to join the British Expeditionary Force in France and within weeks two would be dead and the third decorated for gallantry.  





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Welcome to Armoury Antiques and Militaria and Binky’s Barn. This is a dual website with two distinct shopping experiences. Armoury Antiques and Militaria deal with all things related to swords, daggers, armour and military collectables, whilst Binky’s Barn is the Antique Furniture and Objet D'Art side of our business.

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Armoury Antiques and Militaria
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PL19 0AL

Telephone: 07887 852523 Email:[email protected] 

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