Ernest Whitney enlisted in his home town of Vancouver on June 19th 1942 and then went on to Manning Depot training.
Next step was No. 4 I.T.S. at Edmonton competing his testing and examinations on January 22 1943, it was here he was selected
for training as Bomb Aimer. To begin to learn this trade he was posted
to No. 2 B.G.S. at Mossbank with his courses on bombing and gunnery
ending in May of 1943. Additional training was given at No. 5 AOS at Winnipeg completing the course for this trade
on June 25 1943.
From June of 1943 until his posting at 419 Squadron on April 10th 1944, F/O Whitney had passed through the normal postings
from Depot "Y" in Halifax, crossing the Atlantic to be posted at No.3 P.R.C Bournemouth England.
From here he would have received additional training before posting to one of the Operational Training Units, where he
then joined up with his fellow crew members captained by F/O Holmes.
One more training posting would still be ahead of him at Topcliffe where he along with the other members of the
Holmes crew would add the final crew member, Sgt. Roberts their RAF Flight Engineer. While here at H.C.U. 1664
they would train on the Halifax heavy bomber, completing cross country night exercises and operations used to
confuse enemy defences. Since the German radar could detect the bombers from a distance H.C.U. aircraft often
played a part in providing diversionary operations, dropping "Window" to block enemy radar with many ghost images.
The crew on arrival at 419 Squadron
F/O G.E. Holmes Pilot
F/S D.J. Williams Navigator
F/O Ernest C. Whitney B/A
Sgt. J.W. Sheldon WAG
Sgt. E.J.H. Roberts F/E
F/S B.J. Filmar M/U Gunner
Sgt. P.R. Jones R/G
When P/O Whitney arrived 419 were operating Halifax bombers. His first operation was with VR-X Halifax JD212 on
a Gardening op. on the Fakse Bay. Low level night flying over dark waters dropping mines would have given him a very
close look at the waves below.
The mine field needed to be a precise pattern to enable any future Allied operations to be able to know the safe
path through the field. So it would have required Whitney's full attention and not giving the darkness flashing past
any thought at all as the "Gee" operator gave him the directions and timing for the drops.
P/O Whitney and the crew only few the Halifax on four operations before the Squadron began operations flying the
Canadian built Lancaster Mk.X.
Unfortunately on the third operation flying the Lancaster, his captain F/O Holmes
ran out of runway and VR-Y crossed two ditches causing considerable damage to the aircraft. None of the crew were
injured in the incident; although Holmes must have lost some pride. Holmes was written up for the incident and
received some red ink comments in his log book. As long as his crew were not injured Holmes could accept the comments
and the good natured ribbing of the crew and other pilots.
Helping to Remove the Treats of V1 Rockets
On the night of August 3 Whitney along with the Holmes crew were on a sortie to Bois de Casson, their mission was to eliminate the
supply depot for the German rocket sites. P/O Dennis along with the other Bomb Aimers of the squadron showed how
well trained the RCAF airmen were as the squadron dropped 132 and half tons of bombs on the target, only straying
200 yards of the center.
VR-V Whitney's aircraft received numerous hits by flak, damage was to both elevators, the bomb bay as well as the bulkhead of the port inner engine.
The crew suffered no injuries and Lancaster KB745 then brought her crew home.
( KB745 was later lost with all her crew on the night of October 2/4 1944 over the submarine base at Bergen.)
August 5 1944 St. Leu D'Esserent
Directing the aircraft accurately on to the target and pressing the bomb release button at the precise moment were not the only duties for the Bomb Aimer. His position at the nose
of the aircraft with his Perspex nose bubble and the forward turret gave him an exceptional
the dark skies around them.
Scanning the skies looking for the slightest hint of a darker object
than the sky around them which could be an enemy fighter or another bomber wandering off course into
his own bomber's path.
Although the main attacks came from behind; I did find two cases of head on attacks in the 419records.
It was a real threat.
Just the month previous fellow
Bomb Aimer F/O Whyte became the only non-gunner to file a Combat Report for driving off a JU88 with a short burst from the
nose turret gun.
(The same Ju88 then tried a pass at a Halifax and Whyte saw the enemy fighter go down, from the fire of this Halifax of another
Once the target is near the Bomb Aimer takes up his prone position and gives full concentration to the task of
directing the pilot on to the target. Out in this rather exposed position he has to block out the flak bursts all
around him and tracer from ground fire racing up to him.
On this night a heavy concentration of gunfire from below blew out one of the windows in his area, flying at 19,000 feet
at 250 mph plus develops a cold and steady wind stream. P/O Whitney continued his precise directing and bombing of the target
ignoring the damage so near where he lay and the biting slipstream passing over him.
KB732 VR-X "X-Terminator
From mid-June through until mid-August Whitney flew his ops. on the famous "X-Terminator. Adding at least ten
sortie "bomb" icons to the nose art which by war's end would be 84, indicating the 84 operations she completed
The Holmes crew also flew at least one operation on two other well-known Moose aircraft "Ruhr Express" and "Ropey". Both Ropey and X-Terminator both returned to Canada in June of 1945.
Unfortunately Ruhr Express" crash landed and burnt up with no injury to her crew after returning from an operation.
On October 10th F/O Whitney was screened from the Squadron on completion of his Tour, he was then posted to No.
1666 H.C.U. as an Instructor.
F/O Whitney's DFC
As air bomber Flying Officer Whitney has participated in a large number of sorties. He has invariably
displayed a high degree of skill and resolution and has contributed in good measure to the successes obtained.
In August 1944 he took part in a daylight bombing attack on St.Leu Desserent. At the commencement of
the bombing run the aircraft was subjected to heavy fire from the ground defences. Some fragments of
shell burst through the window of Flying Officer Whitney's compartment, narrowly missing his head.
In spite of considerable discomfort caused by the slipstream, Flying Officer Whitney coolly directed
the bombing run and attacked the target with precision. Two nights later in an attack on enemy
troop concentrations in the Caen area this resolute air bomber worked strenuously in trying conditions
for thirty-five minutes to drop his bombs manually after the bomb release mechanism failed to function.
His determination was typical of that which he has shown throughout his tour.