Excerpts from articles written in 1937, and 1940.
"Take my drum to England, hang et by the shore,
-Sir Henry Newbolt
August 16 is the anniversary of the return of Sir Francis Drake and his fellow-seamen after putting the finishing touches to the defeat of the Spanish Armada.
In his own day the name Drake became a terror to his enemies. The cry of "El Draque! El Draque!" brought confusion and panic like the descent of a fireship. That was why in the Westcountry we were never surprised to hear the beating of Drake's drum.
Again and again it had sounded during wartime, especially when troopships have come bringing the men of the Empire who have journeyed over those waters into which Drake was the first to take an English keel.
The Drum was heard to beat when there was the miracle of the deliverance of Dunkirk. Drake's heart went out to those men who manned the little ships that saved the British Army.
"Our fathers heard it beat when the Mayflower made its way out of the Sound. They heard it beat when Fairfax and Cromwell came own to thank the people of Plymouth for the defense of the town during the long siege of the Civil War."
"Admiral Blake heard it, when sick unto death, he was just able to reach the entrance to Plymouth Harbour, and he died with his great heart lifted by the sight of the hills of his beloved Westcountry and the sound of Drake's welcoming drum."
"Nelson heard the roll of the drum when he came to be made a freeman of the borough, and Wellington heard it too, when he set out from Plymouth to defeat the menace of an earlier tyranny. The drum was heard to beat again when Napoleon, a prisoner after Waterloo, was brought into Plymouth Harbour in the Bellerophon." (Isaac Foot, BBC broadcast, August 6 1940)
Drake took his Drum with him all around the world. That was why its beat could be heard all round the world today-in every land where Briton joined Briton to defeat the present menace of darkness and evil; in every distant station where the two or three were gathered together in common danger and in common hope.
In November 1918 when the German Navy surrendered, men on board the British admiral's flagship heard the long roll of a drum. When after careful search and inquiry, neither drum nor drummer could be found the truth was realized, and by common consent one man said to another "Drake's Drum."
Drake's Drum had hung on the wall at Buckland Abbey, near Plymouth for many years when in 1938 there was a fire at the house which did a great deal of damage to the west wing. The fire was discovered early enough for Drake's Drum and nearly all the other treasures which the house contained to be taken to safety. It may still be viewed today at the Buckland Abbey Maritime Museum in Devon, England.