The story of Lieutenant Walter C Drake DSC RNZNVR during World War II Gerry Wright discovered Wally, as we know him, while researching someone else and became intrigued by his story. On the outbreak of World War 2 Walter Drake DSC volunteered to join the Army. From guard duty in Wellington he joined the Navy, travelled to England, served in the Battle of the Atlantic and was promoted to officer rank before joining Coastal Forces based in Felixstowe. There, Wally joined a Fairmile Motor Launch involved in laying mines off the enemy coast. Wally later led this team. This unsung group, with strict orders to ‘make smoke and run on meeting the enemy,’ probably caused more damage to the German war effort than any other similar sized unit. This is Wally’s story.
Gerry Wright joined the Royal New Zealand Navy between 1955 as a Seaman Boy, Second Class, and retired in 1981 in the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He commanded several ships at sea, and later, a number of merchant ships in the South Pacific.