Major General David Valentine  Blake
Major General David Valentine Blake -

David Blake was born on 10 November 1887 in Parramatta. After his schooling at MBP he joined the army.  In September 1916, as a Major, he became the first commanding officer (CO) of the newly formed No. 3 Squadron (3 Sqn) Australian Flying Corps (which was then part of the army). The squadron was deployed to Belgium and France in late 1917, performing a combined reconnaissance and offensive role.

From early 1918, 3 Sqn flew in a sector of the Somme Valley, facing German planes commanded by the "Red Baron", Manfred von Richthofen. When the baron was shot down and killed behind Allied lines on 21 April 1918, the disposal of his remains became Blake's responsibility. Blake initially reported that a 3 Sqn RE8 may have shot down Richthofen. However, following an autopsy, Blake became a strong proponent of the view that ground-based Australian machine-gunners had killed the baron. Blake remained 3 Sqn CO until October 1918. The following year, he was transferred to Australia.

He was Quatermaster-General from 1935 to 1939. After the outbreak of World War II, Blake's first significant command (as a Major General) was Officer Commanding, 7th Military District (the Northern Territory), based in Darwin, from September 1941. The post gained in importance when war with Japan broke out in December. In January 1942, Blake's position was incorporated into the short-lived American-British-Dutch-Australian Command.

He was the senior Allied officer present during the devastating air raids on Darwin, on 19 February 1942. In the wake of the initial Japanese raids — and fearing a surface attack — Blake decided to remove all Allied forces from central Darwin and other coastal areas. He was later criticised for this decision, as it made a cardinal error in military theory: withdrawing from a major supply node. his concern was for his men in the face of what could have been overwhelming odds (having regard to the fall of Singapore only a few days earlier) and with the limited resources available they would be in a better position to regroup and fight from the bush. Later that year, as a major Allied build-up in northern Australia got underway, Blake was moved to the position of General Officer Commanding, Lines of Communication, Northern Territory Area.

Blake retired from the army in 1947 after serving as Military attache to the Governor General. He has married Mildred Tanks in 1913 and had no children. He died in 1965. (Source Wikipedia and Mcdonald I "A School of Their Own" p.143)