403 Erks Captured German Truck Redux

Mark White will love these comments left on one of his posts he wrote.

Mark’s dad was an erk with 403 Squadron. Mark has written several posts about his father and other ground crew personel with 403 Squadron.

Hello all,
It’s a real great model, but the wrong type. The capured 4,5 tons truck on the images is a “absolut” rate Saurer SGS 4500. It’s a combination design of Klöckner Humbold Deutz, Henschel and Saurer factory.

Please look here.


Saurer SGS 4500

Best regards

Second time 😉
I think it must be Soltau not Soldau. I live in “Lower Saxony” to in Stade. Here is a map link from Reinshelen with the airfield.

Best regards

Reinshelen airfield Reinshelen airfield

403 Erks Captured German Truck

Towards the end of the war, 403 Squadron operated out of 127 Airfield near Soldau Germany. 

This was known as Base 154 or B154. They remained there from April 26 until July 7, 1945.

B 154 was an abandoned German airbase known as Reinsehlen. It was about 45 km from Hamburg. It was quite near the Concentration Camp at Bergen Belsen and the swimming pool at Lüneburg Germany.

The Erks from 403 visited the concentration camp and the swimming pool. I’m posting some never before published pictures from my dad’s collection.
You can identify some of the Erks in these pictures in the 403 Group picture.


I showed a friend of mine, who is a serious military model maker, some of my dad’s photos. Steve had never seen a Maple Leaf painted inside a Roundel. He built a model depicting this truck complete with three 403 Erks. The Erk with the cigarette wearing the leather Jerkin is my dad. Steve won a gold medal at a recent model show in Calgary for his work depicting 403 squadron’s captured German truck at B154 in July of 1945.

The medium 4.5T cargo truck Mercedes-Benz L4500S was originally developed for civilian use. It was used in wide service with all German military units during World War II on both Western and Eastern fronts. A total of 9,500 trucks were manufactured from 1939-1944, most of them for the Wehrmacht. The L4500 had a 7.2 litre diesel engine with 112 HP and existed in 2 basic versions: 2-wheel drive “S” and 4-wheel drive “A”.

Steve’s Model Depicting 403 Erks with a Captured Mercedes 4.5 Ton Truck


Comment from Robert de Vries on Wing Commander L.S. Ford

Hi Pierre,

Thanks a lot for attending me.

I also did some research at the Bundes Militar Archiv in Freiburg, Germany and found some reports on the fight, in which the Spitfire of WCdr L.S. Ford was shot down.

I have attached copies of the original reports, maybe you can put them on your Website?

The first attach is a report of the German 347th infantry division (responsible for defending the Dutch coast). In the report on the 14th of July 1943 there is a remark that the body of WCdr L.S. Ford was found on the coast of the Vlieland Island, Netherlands.


report 1

The other attach is a report of the Command of the 34th German Minesweeper flottila.


report 2

The actual fight (only 3 minutes) with the six Spitfires, including the one with WCdr Ford, wasn’t with E-boats but with coast minesweepers who were operating in the Nordsea (in the surrounding of Den Helder).

There is a very detailled fight report of the fight between the minesweepers and the Spitfires, also there is a drawing included.

report 3

About the crash of the Spitfire of WCdr Ford there is the following remark “The third plane from the right, which flew about 10 meters above the boats M 3403 and M 3407, crashed down in sea about 1500 meters behind the boats and sunk.”

On the 18th of August there was the order by Generalkommando Niederlande to bury the Canadian pilot with military honor by the Kriegsmarine Detachment on the Vlieland Island.


Robert de Vries

Some Help Needed Here…Redux

This is an answer to Robert De Vries who had left a comment on the blog about Wing Commander L.S. Ford.

Stephen Nickerson just left this comment. 

Hello Robert;

I researched W/C L.S. Ford’s military career and wrote a book titled ‘Traded For Twenty-Two Spitfires’. In trying to give an explanation to your question of why Ford was buried at Vlieland Island and not Texel Island I can only guess that the tide carried his body to that island.
According to F/S Fuller, who was one of the pilots attacking the E-boats that day, reported seeing a Spitfire flying very slowly and trying to make a left turn after the action. Before the damaged Spitfire could complete the turn for England, the left wingtip hit the water and the last thing Fuller saw was the tail section sticking out of the water.
Ford was listed as missing until his parents received news on the 21st of August 1943, that his body was recovered from the sea.

This is what Robert de Vries was looking for.

Does anybody have more background about the crash / KIA of W/Cdr Sydney Ford? He was shot down attacking E Boats at the Nordsea. Did he leave his Spitfire (AA980) and couldn’ t reach land or did he crash with his plane together in the sea? He is buried here Vlieland, Netherlands in a field of honor.

Dean Black had given that answer…

Ford was the Wing Leader for the Digby Wing. He was the youngest RAF officer ever to reach the rank of WComd. The fact he was Canadian makes the achievement all the more meaningful. Ford and his wingman were both hit by flak, from the E-boats. Ford was killed and crashed. His wingman was wounded but returned to base. Some books attribute the loss to 402 Squadron, but there is absolutely no mention of Ford in the 402 history book. This probably suggests Ford was the WComd (flying) of the Digby Wing and was not affiliated with the Squadron whatsoever.

Robert wrote a thank you note…

Thanks a lot Dean.

It was indeed a great achievment that he became Wing Cmdr when he was 22 years. He must have been a great leader and person. Today on holiday on Vlieland I visited his grave and honoured him, together with other Canadian airmen, who participated in the liberation of our country the Netherlands. I still wonder why he is buried in Vlieland Island, because his plane crashed in the surrounding of Texel island….. The following impressive text was on his grave stone: “He being made perfect in a short time, fulfilled a life time.”

Robert had commented more…

I dont know how to upload pictures, but here is a picture of W/ Cmd Sydney Ford:


And his grave stone:


Hope this helps