The First World War was only a matter of days old when Barking placed itself firmly on the map, after Driver Job Henry Charles Drain of the 37th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, was awarded the Victoria Cross. He was born in Barking on 18 October 1895, and on 26 August 1914, the 18-year-old Drain was at Le Cateau, France, when Captain Douglas Reynolds of the same battery was trying to recapture two guns. Driver Drain and another driver, Frederick Luke, volunteered to help and gave great assistance in the eventual saving of one of the guns. He survived the war and died on 26 July 1975 aged 79, and is buried at the Rippleside Cemetery at Barking. A second man, Laurence Calvert, who although not born in the area, died in Dagenham in 1964 aged 72, was also awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 12 September 1918 at Havrincourt, France at the Battle of Havrincourt.
Barking War Memorial is slightly unusual in that it is different from most, because it includes all those from the town who served (1812) in the First World War, those who returned home (1212) and the 600 men who didn't. It carries the names of 802 men from the town who gave their lives for their King and country, so that peace could prevail and the world could become a better place.