|William Denis Whitaker|
February 27, 1915|
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
|Died||May 30, 2001(aged 86)|
|Commands held||1st Battalion, The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment)|
|Awards||Order of Canada; Legion of Honor.|
|Other work||Business man, and author.|
|College||University of Toronto Schools & Royal Military College of Canada|
Born in Calgary, Alberta and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Whitaker was educated at the University of Toronto Schools and later at the Royal Military College of Canada, student # 2357 in Kingston, Ontario. He graduated in 1933. He was a quarterback for the Hamilton Tigers of the Ontario Rugby Football Union.
He joined the Canadian Army and accepted a commission, as a second lieutenant, with the The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment) in 1937.
During the Second World War, Whitaker was awarded the Distinguished Service Order at the rank of captain for his achievement in the Battle of Dieppe in August 1942. He was the only one of the 100 officers who landed on the beach to fight his way into town and escape unwounded. As a lieutenant colonel, Whitaker commanded the 1st Battalion, The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry– Canadian Army Active from February 17, 1944 until July 17, 1944 and from September 15, 1944 until March 29, 1945, throughout most of the fighting in northwest Europe. He won a second Distinguished Service Order in February 1945 for leadership in the Battle of Goch-Calcar Road during Operation Veritable .
At the end of the war, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier. Whitaker left the army in 1951, but returned as Honorary Colonel of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry from 1972 to 1992.
After his military service, he was a commercial manager of radio station CHML. In 1962, he was named vice-president of O'Keefe Brewing Co. and soon became the president. He was also the president of Major Market Advertising and a financial consultant with Nesbitt Burns.
Whitaker's sports career was equally illustrious, beginning with captaincy of the Royal Military College of Canada ice hockey and Canadian football teams. He led the Hamilton Tigers in 1938. He was named to the Canadian Forces Sports Honour Roll and was a national senior squash champion. He chaired the Canadian Equestrian Team for 20 years, and under his guidance the team won two Olympics, 15 Pan-American Games and two World Championship gold medals. He was also chef-de-mission for the 1980 Canadian Olympic Team in Moscow, which the Canadians eventually boycotted, along with the Americans due to the Soviets invading Afghanistan. He was a founder and member of the Olympic Trust of Canada. In 1990, he was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Denis was one of the founding members of the Hamilton Hunt Club, started in 1958 in Caledonia, Ontario. He was a Master of Foxhounds and rode with the club from 1958-1973.
Decorations and honours
- Distinguished Service Order with Bar
- Efficiency Decoration (E.D.)
- Commander of the Order of the Crown (Belgium)
- In 1989, he was named a Member of the Order of Canada.
- In April 1995, the French government awarded Whitaker the Order of the Legion of Honour for his role in the liberation of France.
- Dennis Whitaker was recognized by the Royal Military College of Canada with an Award bearing his name. "The Whitaker Cup" is awarded each year to the top Team Captain of a college varsity sports team.
- In 2012, Denis Whitaker was added to the wall of honour at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario.
- Normandy: The Real Story of How Ordinary Allied Soldiers Defeated Hitler by Denis Whitaker, Shelagh Whitaker, and Terry Copp
- Victory at Falaise: The Soldier's Story by Denis Whitaker and Shelagh Whitaker with Terry Copp
- Tug of War: The Allied Victory That Opened Antwerp by Denis Whitaker and Shelagh Whitaker
- Dieppe: Tragedy to Triumph by Denis Whitaker and Shelagh Whitaker
- Rhineland: The Battle to End the War by Denis Whitaker and Shelagh Whitaker
- The Battle of the Scheldt by Denis Whitaker
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Denis Whitaker.|
- 4237 Dr. Adrian Preston & Peter Dennis (Edited) "Swords and Covenants" Rowman And Littlefield, London. Croom Helm. 1976.
- H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "To Serve Canada: A History of the Royal Military College of Canada" 1997 Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1969.
- H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "Canada's RMC – A History of Royal Military College" Second Edition 1982
- H16511 Dr. Richard Preston "R.M.C. and Kingston: The effect of imperial and military influences on a Canadian community" 1968
- H1877 R. Guy C. Smith (editor) "As You Were! Ex-Cadets Remember". In 2 Volumes. Volume I: 1876–1918. Volume II: 1919–1984. Royal Military College. [Kingston]. The R.M.C. Club of Canada. 1984