Donald Erle McInnis DFC was born at Iroquois, located, on the St. Lawrence River, about 30 miles west of Cornwall, Ontario (ON). He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. McInnis and he graduated from Iroquois High School. He attended Queen’s University, Kingston for two years before enlisting in 1940, in the the RCAF in Hamilton ON.
McInnis received air crew instruction at various training schools in Canada and graduated, as a pilot/navigator, on July 2, 1941, from No. 33 Service Flying Training School at Carberry, Manitoba. After graduation he was posted to No. 11 RCAF Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron, flying convoy protection and anti-submarine patrols, based at RCAF Station, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
On January 1, 1943 he was "Mentioned in Despatches" with the following citation:
"This Non Commissioned Officer is an outstanding navigator as well as pilot. During the period December1, 1941 to August 23, 1942, he has done 63 patrols as Pilot and Captain and 23 patrols as Navigator with a total of 320 flying hours on operational flights during this period.
His devotion to duty whilst flying and whilst on the ground is exceptional. He enjoys the confidence of his crew at all times, and also that of his superior officers who know he can do the most difficult of jobs at any time. His total flying time for this period is 460 hours."
In 1943 McInnis was stationed in Newfoundland, with No. 10 bomber Reconnaissance Squadron on convoy protection and anti-submarine patrols. By January 6, 1945 he had 228 sorties and 1993 hours and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for his skill and valour. His citation reads as follows:
"This officer has completed a very large number of flying hours on operations in the North Atlantic area. Hs keenness and courage have been an inspiration to those serving under him and his skill and leadership have set an example worthy of high praise. The devotion to duty of this officer throughout his flying career, has been exceptional."
In December 1944, McInnis married Elizabeth Rose Johnston of Smith Falls, ON. Flight Lieutenant McInnis had two brothers; Landon and Carlton and two sisters; Ruth and Thelma.