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Thread: Andrew Conway Emil Drake 615 and 67 Squadron

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    Default Andrew Conway Emil Drake 615 and 67 Squadron

    This is one for any lurking experts in the RAF air campaign in Burma. I was kindly directed here by the American historian Matt Poole.

    My uncle Andrew Conway Emil Drake (19th October 1921-26th June 1943 ?KIA Burma) died much too young.

    I have his very short personal RAF Service Record which allowed me to trace his movements. This allowed me to look through the 67 Squadron Records at the National Archives in Kew (back in 2006) to find out what happened to him on the day he disappeared. An abbreviated version is now on the internet:

    http://www.rafcommands.com/database/...php?uniq=BN336

    Below is a summary of his postings and dates of movements:

    Postings: Unit To………………………………………………........Date of Movement
    Kallang, Far East………..................……………………………………...7/10/41

    S. Rhodesia…………………………………………………..................….20/10/41
    I.T.W. Bulawayo………………………………………………..................12/11/41
    25 E.F.T.S…………………………………………………..................…...25/3/42
    20 S.F.T.S………………………………………………...................……...2 1/6/42
    India. Transit Camp Worli ………………………….................…………9/1/43
    151 O.T.U……………………………………………………..................…15/2/43
    615 Sqdn……………………………………………………..................…..18/4/43
    67 Sqdn……………………………………………………..................……1/5/43
    B.P.O. India………………………………………………..................…….26/6/43
    Missing……………………………………………………..................…….26/6/43
    Death Presumed…………………………………………..................……..26/6/43
    Killed in Action………………………………..................………………...26/6/43

    His name is on the Kranji War memorial (column 425) in Singapore. I have no photos or letters from or of him during his RAF years so my questions centre on these three:

    1) Does anyone have any information on Andrew Conway Emil Drake (RAF or non-RAF related)?

    2) Does anyone have or can point me to photos relating to 615 and 67 Squadron during his time there (or even his training time in Southern Rhodesia, Worli, Risalpur) in the small hope of finding a photo of him? (I have younger photos of him so I know what he looks like)

    3) I note as soon as he signed up with the RAF in Singapore he was immediately sent to Southern Rhodesia for flight training. Can any Tom, Dick or Harry walk off the street and join the RAF and be immediately sent to Southern Rhodesia? I would have thought the RAF have stringent health and aptitude requirements for being a fighter pilot. I half wonder if he already had some flight experience under his belt. If so how and where? (this would have been in the Far East and likely in China) - He was born in Shanghai and went to the Thomas Hanbury School for Boys. I would have assumed he finished schooling c.1938. I have no documentation of his movements between late 1938 (when he was in Shanghai attending a family friend funeral) and his subsequent signing up to the RAF in Kallang, Singapore in 7th October 1941. Any insight of pre-training pilot requirements at the time by any reader here would be most welcome in order for me to make sense of his movements.

    kind regards,
    David

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    David,

    Your mention about 151 OTU got me hitting my notes :

    151 OTU ORB - AIR 29/703 - Summary for April 43.

    "On 7.4.43, Hurricanes AG185 and W9238 collided in mid air. The pilot of AG185 catching the trailing edge of W9238 with his propeller. The pilot of W9238, 785098 Sgt A.C.E.Drake showed great presence of mind in taking the aircraft up to 5000 feet to test its capabilities after the collision. He managed to make a good landing and both aircraft were repaired here."



    Also reg "Can any Tom, Dick or Harry walk off the street and join the RAF and be immediately sent to Southern Rhodesia? I would have thought the RAF have stringent health and aptitude requirements for being a fighter pilot. "

    This was probably common with recruitment of expatriate british in the east/far east. Atleast in India - subjects of Britain of pure European descent were given priority in flying training. Those with flying experiences usually got commissions in the RAFVR. Anyone not of pure european descent were earmarked for ground duties. so it is possible that he was picked for aircrew duties. no special requirements there.. Those in india were trained locally within the FTS in India.
    Last edited by Jagan; 6th May 2019 at 03:56.

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    Hello,

    It should be noted that 785098 Andrew Conway Emil DRAKE enlisted in July, 1940, ie:

    785000-786999 Enlistments in Far East - July 1940.

    See: Aces High Volume 2/Shores/1999/p.16.

    Can confirm Jagan's observations:

    26-6-1943
    No.67 Sqn
    Hurricane IIC BN336

    Practice interception. Cloud formation and snow encountered. Last reported position: 21:50E 92:50E.

    785098 Sgt (Pilot) A. C. E. DRAKE RAFVR - Missing.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 6th May 2019 at 08:18.

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    Thanks very much to Jagan and Col Bruggy!

    I'm impressed! Really impressed with this spate of new information! I have been digging around for years and not got very far. The new earlier enlistment date in July 1940 completely changes my understanding of him and it makes me wonder why it wasn't recorded in his personal service record....unless I got a partial copy. Did your source mention where he was enlisted and what happened between then and his enlistment in Kallang, Singapore 7th October 1941?

    And this is even more I can ask for...an exact position of where he was last seen with coordinates(!)What was the source of that?

    kind regards
    David

    Thank you so much to the both of you.

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