DRAKE, Billy, S/L, DFC (39095, Royal Air Force) - No.112 Squadron - Distinguished Service Order - awarded as per London Gazette dated 4 December 1942. Born in London, 1917; home in Chatham. Educated at Prior Park College, Bath, Medway Technical College, Gillingham, and in Switzerland. Commissioned 1936. As Acting Pilot Officer, to No.6 Flying Training School, Netheravon, 19 September 1936. Promoted Flying Officer, 13 April 1939; awarded DFC December 1940 and Bar to DFC in July 1942. See his recollections, “Stalemate at El Almein”, Flypast, August 2002, extracted from his memoire, Fighter Leader (Grub Street, ISBN 1 902304 97 7).

Since being awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross, Squadron Leader Drake has continued to display the utmost courage and determination in operations against the enemy. In September 1942, he led his wing with great determination against a formation of enemy dive bombers escorted by fighters. In the ensuing combat four bombers and one fighter were destroyed. On a number of other occasions this officer has led bombing and low level machine gun attacks with devastating results. His leadership and magnificent fighting spirit have been an inspiration to all.

He had been recommended 25 November 1942 with a different text, found as a message to Air Ministry, AIR 2/4922:

“An immediate award of the DSO has been made to S/L Billy Drake, DFC Bar (39095) of 112 Sqn. Since the award of a bar to his DFC on 18 July 1942, he has continued to lead his squadron and the wing with the utmost courage and audacity. On 1 September 1942, he was leading the wing when they encountered a formation of Stukas and 109s. Such was the determination of his attack that 4 Stukas and 1 Me.109 were destroyed of which S/L Drake claimed 2. He has also led a number of kitty bombing and strafing attacks with devastating results. Squadron Leader Drake has destroyed 4 ˝, 5 ˝ aircraft and probably destroyed 2 since the award of the bar to his DFC bringing his total to 14 de3stroyed and 9 probables.