Paying tribute to his dad’s distinguished military career
My father, David Sinclair Wilkinson, was born in Montreal on June 27, 1916, and was a member of the 17th Duke of York Royal Canadian Hussars Army Reserves. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Airforce (RCAF) on June 6, 1942, and was posted to the auxiliary training facility at No. 5 Manning Depot, where he followed the required military training for newly enlisted members.
After completing the air force training requirements of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan ( BCATP), including Initial Training School (ITS) and Service Flying Training (SFTS), he was promoted to Leading Aircraftsman (LAC). This was followed by Bombing and Gunnery Training (BGS), from which he graduated as Air Bomber, and Air Observer Training ( AOS), from which he graduated and was commissioned as Pilot Officer on June 11, 1943.
Later that month, Dad was sent overseas to team up with Britian’s Royal Air Force (RAF). He was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on November 1, 1943, and to Flying Officer on December 11, 1943. Between October 27, 1943, and October 25, 1944, he completed 30 sorties as an air bomber, which included attacks on many tactical targets in the occupied countries of France and Holland, and others on strongly defended German targets, such as Leipzig, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Essen and Berlin.
In the words of his superior, “His work as Air Bomber in Squadron 460 was of the highest order and his consistent skill and aptitude for his job were in no small part instrumental in his crew’s fine record of precision bombing. His determination to press home all attacks despite any opposition encountered has been outstanding. On long trips over enemy territory his calmness and courage gained the admiration and the confidence of all the crew. In reward for his outstanding gallantry and most praiseworthy services, I recommend the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.“
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) on February 5, 1945, he was invested with the award by King George VI on June 27, 1945. He married the love of his life, Ruby, a member of the RAF’S Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), on June 9, 1945, in London, England. He retired from the RCAF on July 30, 1946, upon his return to Canada, and Ruby arrived here a month later. Dad passed away on August 22, 1981.
Above: Flying Officer David Sinclair Wilkinson, DFC.