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Capt EA (Ernie) Clinker RCASC

9 Mar 26 -


Ernie Clinker, the son of a WWI British Vet, was born March 9, 1926 in Dryden, Ontario. As a young teen, he moved with his parents to Hamilton. He left high school working to build Bofor guns until enrolling in the Canadian Army May 9, 1944. He was released on June 6, 1946.

Postwar, he went to Veterans Affairs school for his high school diploma. Having passed his senior matriculation, he signed up for engineering at Queen’s in 1947. He joined COTC doing a summer placement. Queens was not a successful year but, undaunted, Ernie returned to his hometown of Hamilton. He worked hard in the tobacco fields to be able to pay for first year at McMaster, then returning to the COTC for his subsequent years. Ernie’s Corp facilitated transfer into regular army and he joined in September 1950. He graduated from McMaster University in 1952 through the COTC programme and was commissioned in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps.

He married Marie and, as a Lieutenant in 1951, he saw service in the Workshop and Transport Platoon of 9 Tpt. Coy, Ottawa.

Ernie was selected for pilot training at Rivers, Manitoba. Starting on April 1, 1953, he graduated from LAPC Course #7 Training getting his flying badge October 28,1953. In 1955, Ernie was trained on the Bell and Sikorsky helicopters. He qualified for helicopters (no new flying badge as helicopter was just considered another aircraft). He was also involved with summer training camps for cadets.

In July 1957 Ernie was selected to go down to Nevada to study nuclear weaponry. He saw a nuclear bomb detonated.

Fall 1956 saw Ernie promoted to the rank of Capt as he moved to 2 Transport Company at Camp Borden ON to prepare for a posting to West Germany.

In November 1957, Ernie was transferred to Soest Germany (Fort Chambly). He was with the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade Group. Ernie was transferred back to Canada over the Christmas holidays of 1959, becoming the Resident Staff Officer at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario (1960-1963).

With wife Marie and children Margo and David, he was transferred to Ottawa (D Manning) in summer 1963. In the spring of 1964, he was seconded to The Ministry of External Affairs for service in Viet Nam with the International Commission of Control & Surveillance. On July 1, 1964, Ernie left for Viet Nam. Based out of Saigon, he would travel into both South and North Viet Nam. As a result of service in North Viet Nam in 1965, Ernie became ill and was returned to Canada after 11 months.

Upon return to Canada, Ernie was transferred to Downsview, Ontario serving as a Transport Officer with 2 Tpt. Coy RCASC. Unfortunately, ill health continued and he took medical release in May 1968.

In late 1967 through to early 1970, he worked with the City of Peterborough Board of Education in transportation. He returned to school in the fall of 1970 to become a teacher. He worked at Uxbridge Public School in Uxbridge, Ontario from graduation until his retirement in 1986. Since retirement, Ernie has enjoyed a quiet life with second wife, June. He has one grand daughter and two adopted grandsons. He has three great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. He is an unabashed foodie with a great passion for lobster and is an excellent bridge player

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  • 1 Air OP Flight Group photos.
    Assistance would be welcome in identifying personnel in these photographs: View Content.

    Compiled by BGen R.G. Heitshu.