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Biography   |   Biography - Part 2

Biography - Part Two

In May 1912, Draycot bought three plots of land on what was later to become known as Draycot Road. Like other early pioneers, he had to rely on his own building skills; he was proud that he had built his home ‘alone’. This ingenuity and independence were to serve him well as a soldier on the western front.

Draycot’s short autobiography contains the following description of his career in World War One:
On the outbreak of the 1914–18 War he was back again in England with his old regiment. While waiting to be Commissioned as an officer he was claimed by Colonel Farquar of the Famous Princess Patricia’s on the grounds he was a Canadian Citizen. His exploits have been written in an unpublished typed book. Appointed Military Topographer. Being the only exponent of that art in the Brigade of 4,000 men, he was sought by General Macdonnel for service in the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade. Both the Division and Corps wanted his services, but Macdonnel retained him. Appointed the only Official Sketcher in the Canadian Army with credentials. Thrice wounded. Arrested several times as a spy, when sketching. Twice ‘gassed’; the last dose sent him to England where, after recovering, he conducted a school to teach officers the art of Military Sketching and Topography. After the War, some of his sketches were printed – see his book; it tells all.ii
As the son of working-class parents, Draycot had little chance of becoming an officer at the beginning of the war (the situation had changed by 1916 owing to the high mortality rate among officers). He was convinced, however, that his special qualifications and skills as a topographer warranted promotion. Nonetheless, his official rank by the end of the war remained ‘Private’, though he had been appointed both Corporal and Acting Intelligence Officer at different periods while on temporary loan to other regiments. Draycot deeply resented the fact that his temporary promotions never became permanent. As I argue in the section on the memoir and topographical charts, one of the reasons he wrote his memoir was to demonstrate that his qualifications, experience, skills and contributions to the war effort clearly justified a more senior rank than ‘private’.

Many of the projects in which Draycot became involved on his return from the front were attempts to gain the public recognition he felt he had been denied during the war. He was, for example, president of various youth clubs and Chairman of the 5th Vancouver Boy Scout Committee for many years.

On 23 February 1923, Draycot was appointed Justice of the Peace, a position he held until 1975. As such, he was one of the most prominent members of the Lynn Valley community. He became the official historian of the Valley, recording its early history, the development of the lumber industry, the building of schools and the provision of services such as the fire department. He also documented the flora and fauna of the area. His maps are the earliest surviving records of the topography of the North Shore. He interviewed early pioneers, took photographs and contributed articles on the early history of the Valley and the North Shore to local newspapers.

For his services to the Lynn Valley Community, Draycot received ‘the Lynn Valley Good Citizen of the Year’ award in 1974. Early Days in Lynn Valley concludes with the following lines:
For his valuable contributions to the local community, Mr Draycot was honored as the Lynn Valley Good Citizen of the Year at the Lynn Valley Day Celebrations on May 18, 1974, when he received a commemorative plaque. His surname is perpetuated by the road he dwells on, thus – Draycot Road; also Draycot Place, Draycot Park and Draycot Gardens.iii
Draycot died on 21 October 1985. A statue was erected in his memory on the corner of Lynn Valley Road and Mountain Highway, Lynn Valley, in November 1986. This website is dedicated to the memory of a soldier who made a difference both in war and peace.


ii Draycot, Early Days in Lynn Valley, 13. The book referred to is Draycot’s memoir ‘Pawn No. 883: Being the Adventures of a Pawn in the Affairs of 1914–18’. This is housed at the North Vancouver Museum & Archives, North Vancouver B.C., Canada (series 19) and discussed in the article ‘Memoir & Sketches’ published on this website.
iii Draycot, Early Days in Lynn Valley, 14.

Next: Memoir & Sketches
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