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The Airmen's Stories - P/O M T Whinney

 

Maurice Toller Whinney was born on 28th November 1911 and attended Charterhouse School. On leaving he became a director of the Whitehall Club but had resigned by the outbreak of war when he joined the RAFVR as an Airman u/t Pilot.

He commenced training at 30 EFTS Burnaston near Derby in November 1939 and flew solo on the 15th after four hours dual instruction.

 

Above: he married in March 1943.

 

His training continued at 9 FTS Hullavington, flying the Hawker Hart, and Whinney was awarded his wings on 2nd June 1940.

He was commissioned on 27th July 1940 and sent to 5 OTU Aston Down to convert to the Spitfire and Hurricane before joining 3 Squadron at Wick in August.

He flew his first operational sortie on 2nd September. Whinney was posted away on 23rd November to CFS Upavon for an instructors course. He then instructed at 8 EFTS Reading and 14 OTU Pershore.

In April 1942 Whinney was selected for service with No.1 Special Communications Unit at Whaddon Hall, Aylesbury, part of the growing Special Operations organisation and was variously attached to 138 and 161 (Special Duties) Squadrons which were engaged in supporting resistance groups in the occupied countries.

He was responsible for 'Operation Ascension', which addressed the problems associated with the radio sets used by Resistance members to communicate with overflying aircraft. The operators had to go through six months training to master Morse code and encryption and the sets were vulnerable to the German's radio detection equipment.

Newer radios introduced by Whinney incorporated frequency modulation, invented in 1933, the operator needed only 3 or 4 days instruction and the sets were harder to detect.

From April 1944 to D-Day Whinney commanded a flight of eight B-25 Mitchell aircraft based at Hartford Bridge (now Blackbushe) in Hampshire. The aircraft belonged to the resident 226 Squadron and the flight was known as the 'Sussex Squadron' after the operation's name.

The crews were all French and two aircraft would operate every night over the invasion area to receive information on troop movements etc. from the MI6 agents below.

For this work he was made an MBE (gazetted 15th June 1945) as a Squadron Leader. He was at that time employed in a department of the Foreign Office.

Whinney was released from the RAF in 1945 as a Squadron Leader. He remained in the Foreign Office, serving in Sweden, London and Holland until 1957 when he joined Hambros Bank. In 1962 he purchased a farm in North Devon.

 

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Above: After retiring from farming Whinney became an accomplished portrait painter and made this self-portrait.

 

He died on 23rd February 1997.


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