John William Patterson "Bill" Draper

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Bill Draper in 1957

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Ross Munro Describes Visit With Colorful Group

An Advance R.A.F. Fighter Base in Tunisia, Jan. 18, 1943 —(CP)— Canadians are flying in nearly every R.A.F. fighter squadron in North Africa and at this muddy mountain aerodrome close to the Tunisian front line, six Canucks are in action with one of the R.A.F.'s top Spitfire squadrons.
This squadron is flying as much as any in Tunisia. Its work includes escorting bombers and making strafing sweeps on its own behalf. The base is one of the most advanced allied fighter stations.
The Canadians are F/O Bill Draper and P/O Mel Tushingham, both of Toronto; F/O R. W. Robertson, of Sydney, N.S.; F/O Montague Falls, of Montreal; F/S Ernie Mouland, of Niagara Falls, Ont., and Sgt. A. M. (Tommy) Thomas, of Winnipeg.
They have taken part in raids on Bizerte four or five times, escorting four-motored bombers. Daily they have swept up and down the northern front, flying over such areas as Mateur, Pont du Fahs and the Medjez El Bab-Tunis road.
At the crack of dawn they stand to for anything and a couple of times a day they "scramble," taking to the skies before getting orders. Their aerodrome is a hub of excitement with Spitfires taking off for attacks on enemy areas or intercepting raiders.

Packs Four Revolvers
They are a rough and ready lot. Falls is one of the most colorful men in camp. He packs four revolvers, a couple of knives and volumes of ammunition even when grounded.
"If I come down in enemy territory I am sure going to be able to put up a fight while walking home," said the Montrealer, who sports a fierce black moustache and is a dashing fellow in the Buffalo Bill fashion. He is called "The Turk" by his comrades.
This fierce fighter was the organist at Christ Church cathedral in Montreal in peace-time.
The Canadians have not been making high scores in combat with enemy planes, but have been doing a steady, fearless job for weeks and are now starting to hit their stride. Thomas is credited with one enemy plane destroyed. They look on the campaign here as just part of the regular work.
"There's nothing extraordinary about it," said Mouland.
The squadron leader, who has won the Distinguished Flying Cross and bar and is rated a top R.A.F. pilot, said "Air fighting here is matching in ferocity the Battle of Britain. The actions here are not on such a large scale naturally, but it is really hot and our boys are standing up to it wonderfully well."


Born 15 July 1921 in Toronto.
Home there.
Enlisted there 23 April 1941.
Granted Leave Without Pay until 4 May 1941.
When posted to
No.4 Manning Depot, Trenton, 9 June 1941.
No.1 ITS, 15 July 1941; graduated a LAC, 20 August 1941.
No.20 EFTS; graduated 10 October 1941 when posted to
No.2 SFTS; graduated and commissioned 16 January 1942.
To "Y" Depot, 14 February 1942.
RAF Training Pool, 1 March 1942.
Arrived overseas 18 March 1942.
Promoted Flying Officer, 1 October 1942.
Further trained at No.9 (P) AFU and No.58 OTU.
To No.611 Squadron, 18 August 1942.
To No.111 Squadron, 11 November 1942 to 3 June 1943.
Posted to Fighter Pilot's Practice Unit, 28 June 1943.
To UK by aircraft, 1 January 1944.
Promoted to Flight Lieutenant, 16 January 1944.
In Canada, 8-17 February 1944.
Returned to UK, 31 March 1944 (arrived 7 April 1944).
To No.53 OTU, 25 April 1944.
To No.91 Squadron, 14 June 1944.
Slightly injured at Maldegam, Belgium, 28 February 1945
(engine cut while taking off for an operational sortie.
Aircraft crashed & did two somersaults. He walked away).
Posted to Cranfield, 26 June 1945.
To Canada, 2 August 1945.

Released 7 Jan. 1946 but subsequently served in the
RCAF Auxiliary (100222), attaining the rank of G/C on
1 Jan. 1962 before retirement on 1 Oct. 1964.
In all he was credited with 157 sorties (202 op hours).


Toronto Fliers Make High Scores in Tunisia

Algiers, May 3, 1943 (CP) — Three days ago S/L George Hill, 24, of Pictou, N.S., became officer commanding a famous R.A.F. fighter squadron in North Africa. That same evening he learned he had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Next day he led his squadron into an air battle in which six Messerschmitt 110's and one Me-109 were shot down in a large-scale dogfight. For 15 minutes the R.A.F. fighters slashed at a formation of 15 two-motored, long-range German fighters. Enemy aircraft, in the words of one pilot, were falling "wherever you looked."
Hill, former student at Mount Allison University, Sackville, N.B., has destroyed eight and one-fifth aircraft since coming to North Africa early this year. He has one more "destroyed" to his credit—shot down on the day of the Dieppe raid last August.
He fired his guns on his first flight with the squadron as a flight commander, and they have been blazing away ever since. Yesterday's bag brings his squadron to the top of the list in the fighter group, where competition is keener than any goal-getting race in the National Hockey League.
Hill's first score was shared with Sgt. Reg Gray of Toronto. "The Hun aircraft blew up with a great flash. Stuff smeared up my windscreen, and my starboard ailerons were burned by the blast. Jerry's kite just disappeared in a sheet of flame," Hill said.
The whole squadron saw the enemy plane disintegrate as it flew in to pour lead into the enemy formation. Hill shared another "destroyed" with an English flying officer, and shot down yet another himself, bringing his score for the sortie to two destroyed—two halves and a whole. One of the Germans he engaged fought back and Hill returned with bullet holes in his aircraft.
Earlier in the day he had another "go" at the enemy, when he was one of five pilots to share in the destruction of a Heinkel 111.
Bill Draper of 9 Humewood Drive, Toronto, raised his score in this campaign to four and a quarter with a victory over an ME-109. Draper's job was to tackle the enemy's top "cover" of single-engine fighters, which showed no desire to come down and mix it with the Spitfires. Draper, shooting as he climbed to the attack, saw strikes along the cockpit of the enemy aircraft. Then the German aircraft "spun in."
P/O Ross Whitney of Chapleau, Ont., was another Canadian with the same squadron to fire his guns that day. He shared a "probable" ME-110, and he was disgusted that he could not get a "destroyed" all to himself.
Hill is the second Canadian pilot in North Africa to win leadership of a front-line squadron. S/L Jimmy Walker D.F.C. and Bar, of Edmonton, leads an R.A.F. Spitfire squadron not far away from Hill's.


Canadian Flyers to Fore In North African Victory

(By Flight-Lieut. L. C. Powell) Algiers, May 11, 1943— (CP) — Many Canadians serving with R.A.F. squadrons "stooged" verhead as victorious elements of the ground forces entered Tunis and Bizerte, the two main objectives in the North African campaign. The greatest air assault any army has ever had to withstand blasted the way for the big Allied push. Day after day, fighters and bombers, struck again and again at enemy positions and troop concentrations, at the same time clearing the sky of all aerial opposition.
R.C.A.F. pilots reported hits on long columns of enemy transport and troops along the densely-packed road leading to Tunis. Among the fighter pilots who have played a brilliant part throughout the campaign are S/L Jimmy Walker, D.F.C. and Bar, Edmonton; S/L George Hill, Pictou, N.S; and Flight-Lt. Fred (Butch) Aikman, Toronto, a youthful veteran of the air war.

Others Seeing Action
Other Canadian fighter pilots who have been in action on this front include F/O George Keith, Taber, Alta.; F/O Bill Draper, Toronto; P/O Harry (Junior) Fenwick, D.F.C., of Sioux Lookout, Ont., and F/S Albert (Tommy) Thomas, Winnipeg.
How many aircraft have fallen to Canadians it is impossible to say at present, but Walker and Hill have shot down 19 between them in this theatre of war. The boys who are on "jobs" these days are always anxious to get back to base and catch up with the general news on what is going on.
Enemy air opposition, waning as the intensity of the final offensive mounted, dropped to new low in recent days. A Canadian pilot with a Boston squadron reported seeing five fighters below him. They showed no desire to join action however, and flew off at low levels.
British soldiers paid high tribute to the work of the air force in the campaign and one young Canadian pilot, referring to the enemy and paraphrasing Prime Minister Winston Churchill, said, "Never was so much pounding taken by so few in so short a time."
Pilots returning from trips over former Axis "hot spots" report encountering no flak at all. After flying over one of these enemy positions a week ago one Winnipegger said jokingly, "Flak was so thick I had to fly on instruments."


32 Of RCAF Decorated

Globe & Mail, July 8, 1943 - Amongst those from Toronto recieving the DFC were :

F/O JOHN W. P. DRAPER, Mrs. L. N. Draper (mother), Apt 27, 9 Humewood Drive


DRAPER, F/O John William Patterson (J10159) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.111 Sq
Award effective 1 July 1943 as per London Gazette dated 9 July 1943 and
AFRO 1724/43 dated 27 August 1943.

During the campaign in North-West Africa, Flying Officer Draper has destroyed three enemy aircraft and shared in the destruction of a fourth. He invariably displays outstanding courage and enthusiasm for flying operations. On one occasion he brought his aircraft into collision with an enemy aircraft, causing its destruction without serious damage to his own. His continued keenness and devotion to duty have been a valuable inspiration to his fellow pilots.


W/C Moose Fumerton, Fort Coulogne, Qc., F/L Nick Smith of Arnprior, Ontario, S/L Brad Walker of 189 John Street London, Ontario, F/O D. E. Berry of 25 Cambridge Street, Ottawa, F/O S. C. Aistrop of 95 Edmund Street, Sudbury, W/C Reg Lane of 1468 Begbie Street, Victoria B.C., & F/L Bill Draper of 9 Humewood Drive, Toronto after their Investiture at Buckingham Palace.



Ottawa, Feb. 18, 1944 - (CP) - Approximately 100 of Canada's fighting airmen from the far corners of the world arrived back here today - some to recuperate from wounds, others to become instructors and the remainder to remuster as aircrew men.
All of them, starting leave as soon as they pass through the repatriation pool here, will be on their way to homes throughout Canada tonight and tomorrow.
Included were men from Ceylon, West Africa, North Africa and Britain.
F/O Keith Wilson of Carleton Place, Ont., who served with an R.A.F. Mitchell squadron, brought first-hand news of the damage being done to the invasion coast of France. That has been his job for the last few months "and I can assure you we have been giving that area an awful plastering and it should be nice and soft when Gen. Eisenhower and the lads land there one of these days."
F/L Ralph Rawland of Hamilton, Ont., reported on the activities of his British coastal Beaufighter squadron. When he left it a few weeks ago it too was "plastering" the French coast concentrating on enemy shipping "and we aren't giving them much chance to move either." Most of the harbors along the enemy coast were filled with wrecks resulting from British and Canadian bombs.
F/O Jack Brown of Vancouver, another Canadian with the R.A.F., said the general feeling in the air force is that no sympathy should be shown to Germany and "that she should be bomb-flattened." He said most of his mates who had seen indiscriminate bombing by Nazi airmen wanted the debt "paid back with interest."
Jack has been on recent Berlin raids and said. "This target is just about cleaned up and we can go on to another."
F/O P. S. Gravel of Casselman, Ont., a flight engineer with a Coastal Command squadron operating in North Africa, had 470 operational hours to his credit and in that time saw an "awful lot of damage done to the enemy in one way and another."
Others in the party included F/O Bill Draper, D.F.C., of Toronto; Cpl. L. A. Charbonneau, Kirkland Lake, and C. Darling, D.F.M., Hamilton.


Downs German Plane Without Firing a Shot

Toronto, Feb. 21, 1944 - (CP) — F/O Bill Draper, of the R.C.A.F., told during a leave home here how he downed a German plane in combat overseas although he was out of ammunition. Draper, 22, said he headed his plane straight for the German craft and at the last second both dived to avert a collision. "Fortunately, I dived a split second sooner. His propeller hit my tail and was ripped away. He plunged to the deck and I went in and landed."
That was one of four enemy planes credited to Draper, who won the D.F.C. last summer.


Victories Include :

18 Nov 1942
29 Nov 1942
26 Jan 1943
5 Apr 1943
20 Apr 1943
1 May 1943
19 June 1944
24 June 1944
28 June 1944
9 July 1944
12 July 1944
20 July 1944
one Ju87
1.25 Ju88s
two FW190s
one Me109
one Me109
one Me109
one V-1
one V-1
one V-1
one V-1
one V-1
one V-1
Bone area
Bone area
Tabarka-Souk el Arba
Hamman Lif
La Sebala
Ras Zebib
Beachy Head
NW of Hastings

4.25 / 2 / 1    plus 6 V-1s

Score from Aces High Volume 2




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