I first heard the word “erks” from George Stewart’s mouth when he phoned me in 2011. I never thought a Mosquito pilot would have ever phoned me.
I asked John last Saturday if he knew George Stewart.
He did not.
I am sure George doesn’t know who is J. B. Le May also because I am pretty sure George doesn’t read this blog, not even my blog about 23 Squadron, a night intruder squadron in the R.A.F., the squadron he flew with in WWII.
It doesn’t really matter because I just write so people will find my blogs about their father, grandfather, uncle, granduncle… just like Andrew Tood did a few years ago.
All this writing about people I knew nothing about led me to meet virtually, or in person, wonderful caring human beings.
I could write a book about all these meetings, but I am too busy writing my blogs.
This being said, John B. told me so many anecdotes when I met him that I have enough material to fill a book. Luckily he wrote most everything in his ebook.
Take the time to read it.
Now what about the necktie story I told John B.?
Every Tuesday morning I will post once again Mark White’s articles. I will add after more information that came to light since they were published.
This post is from Mark White’s pen. His dad was an erk with 403 Squadron.
Mark wrote this e-mail…
Here’s my first serious post – many more will likely be coming your way.
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