45 years ago today, Birmingham City Police lost a true gentleman. Commander Ernest Stanley Drake of the Special Constabulary died whilst still serving, after a tremendous 50 year career serving the people of Birmingham.
Ernest was born in Birmingham 1899 and joined the fledgling RAF towards the end of World War One as a mechanic. He received the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He married his sweetheart Rose Gertrude Louise Willward in 1922 and the couple had six children, with one sadly dying young.
After serving 7 years, 6 months with the RAF - he joined Birmingham City Police in 1923. Recorded as being 6'2", Ernest was initially posted to the A Division (central Birmingham including the police station on Newton Street which later moved to Steelhouse Lane) and he had moved to the E Division by 1934.
Ernest qualified as a Civil Defence Instructor during World War Two and played a significant part in the training of police wartime duties. He was commended for his courage and determination during the War.
He moved back to the A Division in 1942 and arrested an individual in 1945 for stealing and distributing US Army property. He received the British Empire Medal in 1955.
By 1958, Ernest had completed 25 years service and retired on superannuation in the rank of chief inspector, with his service record marked exemplary.
He subsequently joined the force's First Police Reserve - a unit of retired police officers introduced shortly before WW1 to support depleted police forces who had lost officers to the Armed Forces. He later joined the Special Constabulary - rising to the rank of Commandant. He was still serving with the Special Constabulary when he died in 1973. Ernest had served his country during two World Wars and was only four months away from seeing the merger of Birmingham City Police into West Midlands Police. He achieved a lot during his 50 years service