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Colin Cooper DRANE MC

Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Capt 2741 17 Aug 1897 18y11m 6 Aug 1915 6 Aug 1919 5

Colin Cooper Drane (1897 - 1965)

Drane Brothers Booklet

Drane Family of Drane Street, Clayfield

The three Drane brothers who enlisted to serve in the Australian Imperial Force during World War 1 were sons of Priscilla (née Griffith) and John William Constantine Drane who lived at Mundumburrah in Drane Street, Clayfield. Their mother was Mrs Priscilla Drane (known as Prissie), daughter of the Revd Edward Griffith and sister of Sir Samuel Griffith. She died in 1900 at the early age of 40 years leaving her husband John and their five sons, the eldest then 16 years old and the youngest only three.

Their father John William Constantine Drane was an Accountant in the Education Department. He died in 1928.

Of the five sons, two did not go to the war.  The eldest, William Griffith Drane was born in 1884, became a Staff Surveyor and died as a result of a poisoned leg at Roma Hospital in August 1919; and at the same time, another brother, Edward Dudley Drane, an Accountant, died in Brisbane. The stories of the three soldier sons are recorded on this website. Their names are on the honour board from the Wharf Street Congregational Church where their grandfather was Minister from 1860 till 1889.

Captain Colin Cooper Drane MC

Early life and enlistment

The fifth son of Mr and Mrs J. W. C. Drane was Colin Cooper Drane, born on 17 August 1897 at the Drane Street home in Clayfield.  He attended Brisbane Grammar School in 1911 and 1912 and was a member of the Queensland Lacrosse Team in 1914.  

Colin's father signed a consent form to allow him to enlist in Brisbane on 6 August 1915 in the Australian Imperial Force to serve beyond the limits of the Commonwealth in World War 1. Then aged 18 years he was given service number 2741, the rank of Private and allotted to reinforcements for the 15th Infantry Battalion. He embarked soon afterwards from Sydney on board HMAT Ayrshire A33, bound for Egypt thence Gallipoli where he joined his unit on 13 November. The evacuation took place a month later and he disembarked at Alexandria on Christmas Day 1915.

Illness and injury

During the month of January 1916, Private Drane spent time in hospital at Ismailia, Moascar.  His casualty form records ‘ict legs’.1 He rejoined his battalion at the end of January in preparation for service in France with the British Expeditionary Force. His unit proceeded from Alexandria to Marseilles in June.  He suffered a gunshot wound in his back in August and rejoined 15th Battalion at Étaples in September.

Promotion and awards

Colin Cooper Drane was chosen for a course of instruction for a commission in November 1916.  He studied at Balliol College Oxford and was promoted to Lieutenant on 1 March 1917 and returned to action in the field with his 15th Battalion in France. He was in hospital in London with laryngitis during March 1918.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during operations east of Jeancourt, north-west of St Quentin on 18 September 1918 he was awarded the Military Cross.

“His platoon was in the first wave of the attack and he led them over difficult country which was heavily wired, with great skill and daring. At one point, at the head of his platoon he rushed an enemy post, capturing the garrison of 20 men and two machine guns. Throughout the day his courage, energy and initiative were invaluable to his company commander.”2

He was promoted to the rank of Captain on 5 November 1918.  After the Armistice, Captain Drane took leave in England and rejoined his battalion in France on 21 December 1918.  He returned to Australia on board the troopship Commonwealth on 8 June and his appointment was terminated on 6 August 1919.

Post war

Colin Drane returned to his fruit farm at Yarwun and married Alma Florence Bryant on 7 April 1921.  He enlisted at Mount Larcom for military service during the Second World War3 and he died at Yeppara, Quilpie, Western Queensland on 20 July 1965, aged 67 years. Mrs Alma Drane died in Brisbane on 21 April 1971

1. Inflamed Connective Tissue
2. Citation in London Gazette, 30 July 1919, page 9800
3. Service No Q212923. Military records ‘not yet examined’ by National Archives of Australia. Access costly.


• National Archives of Australia, World War 1 military records
Wharf Street Congregational Church Year Books 1909 – 1920, Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church Archives, Brisbane
• Bean C E W, Anzac to Amiens, Penguin Books, Melbourne, 2014
• Cowley, Donald C, Untiring Zeal, Toowong, 1993, not published
London Gazette, 30 July 1919
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, 20 November 1919
• Archives, Brisbane Grammar School, The Golden Book
• McKenna, Kate, Brothers Anzac Day Reunion Clayfield Hallway, City North News, Quest Newspapers, Brisbane, 19 April 2012
The Brisbane Courier, 3 May 1928, page 17; 27 October 1923, page 6
The Queenslander, Brisbane, 11 August 1883, page 25
Townsville Daily Bulletin, 9 May 1914, page 9
Warwick Daily News, 14 August 1919, page 4
Western Star and Roma Advertiser, Toowoomba, 27 August 1919, page 2
• Queensland Register of Births, Deaths, Marriages
• Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Embarkation Rolls
• Australian Electoral Rolls, 1908 – 1980
• Commonwealth War Graves Commission
• Macquarie University Council Minutes, North Ryde, 22 June 1911
• Nominal Roll of Civilians on Montevideo Maru, 1 July 1942

Compiled by Noel E Adsett, Brisbane, October 2015  ©



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