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The Airmen's Stories - P/O D M Whitney

 

Douglas Mitchell Whitney was born in Sydney, Australia on 20th June 1914. He moved with his family to Wellington, New Zealand in 1915.


In June 1939 he applied to join the Civil Reserve of Pilots, was accepted in August and made his first solo flight on 3rd September. Whitney volunteered for aircrew duties in the RNZAF and reported to the Ground Training School at Weraroa on 18th December.


He went on to No. 1 EFTS Taieri on 15th January 1940, moved to No. 1 FTS Wigram on 10th March and after completing his training sailed for the UK on 12th July in the RMS Rangitane. On arrival on 27th August he went to No. 1 RAF Depot Uxbridge.


On 10th September 1940 Whitney was posted to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge and after converting to Hurricanes joined 245 Squadron at Aldergrove on 30th September. He went to 17 Squadron at Martlesham Heath on 16th November and volunteered for overseas service soon afterwards.


Whitney embarked on HMS Furious on 17th December and sailed south for an unknown destination. He flew a Hurricane off to Takoradi on 8th January 1941. He and fellow pilots then flew their Hurricanes in stages on the ferry route north to Abu Sueir, via Lagos, Accra, Kano, Maidugari, Khartoum and Wadi Haifa.


Whitney went into the Fighter Pilots Pool until 6th March when he flew a Hurricane to Ta Kali, Malta and joined 261 Squadron.

On 22nd March he destroyed a Me109, on the 23rd destroyed a Ju87 and on 11th April he claimed a Me109 shot down and made a crash-landing himself.


Whitney flew back to Egypt as a passenger on 20th May 1941. He went to Takoradi on 14th June and began ferrying duties. In mid-July he was posted to 128 Squadron, then about to reform at Hastings, Sierra Leone.


On 1st March 1942 Whitney was attached to AHQ West Africa, to help set up a Fighter Operations Control Room at Tower Hill. He returned to 128 and on 28th June was appointed a Flight Commander. He was posted away on 28th November and after a protracted and eventful journey finally reached New Zealand on 9th June 1943.


He served as an instructor at 2 (Fighter) OTU Ohakea until October, when he was made a Flight Commander of the Communications Flight at Rongotai. Whitney later served at 2 FTS Woodbourne and finally at No. 1 FTS Wigram.


He was released from the RNZAF in July 1945 and went on to the Reserve on 14th November as a Flight Lieutenant.


He died in Wellington in 1981.


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