Greg… Are you still reading the blog?

I got an e-mail this morning from WordPress that I had a comment on “our” blog. I want to share it with you.

It was about a post I wrote about a Spitfire pilot…

21 August 1942 – Pilot Officer Mitch Johnston?

Pilot Officer Mitch Johnston

There is a comment left in the comment section by Pilot Officer Mitch Johnston’s son to which I have replied. I wrote him  about how you and I met the first and only time around a dinner table in 2011.

Do you remember what I had told you on how this blog would evolve?

My Dad’s Missing War Pictures – Redux

Editor’s note

This article, published in October 2012, is from Mark White. It’s  just for  you John…


Mark White writes about his dad…

My dad’s war pictures went missing for a number of years.

I had no pictures of my dad from the war.

In 2011 I contacted my dad’s only surviving brother, Tom, in Kenora, Ontario and asked him if he had any pictures.

He didn’t have any, but he obtained this picture from a local veteran, Edgar “Dink” Strain who had a wartime photo of my dad and three other Kenora vets onboard the New Amsterdam in August 1945.

Edgar took this photo:

(L to R) My dad George White, Clyde Hillman, Art Pykerman and Rolf Nelson.

I talked to Edgar Strain on the phone a few times. He had been a Warrant Officer with 421 Lynx Squadron during the war. He was a very gracious gentleman and a very keen military historian with a tremendous amount of knowledge about the war.

When I talked with my uncle Tom, on Thanksgiving Day 2012, he told me Edgar had passed away.

Here’s Edgar’s obituary:

In Memory of

Edgar Wilson Strain


April 5, 1922 – July 13, 2012

In Loving Memory of

Edgar Wilson Strain

Edgar Wilson Strain passed away at his home on Friday July 13, 2012, at 90 years of age.

Edgar is survived by his sons Lindsay (Dorothy) and Gregg (Mary) and daughter Megan; granddaughters Larisa (Guy) and Siobhan; sister Lois Hoshwa; sisters -in-law Shirley Strain and Josie Strain. He was predeceased by his wife Isabella, parents Edgar and Eva, his sister Thomasina, brothers Neil and Lorne and brothers-in-law Nick Hoshwa and Ted Jorgenson.

Edgar was born in Kenora. He volunteered for service in the RCAF during WWII and served in Canada, England and throughout Europe. When he returned he married the love of his life, Isabella, and started a family. He worked at Williams Hardware for ten years and then founded Strain’s Stationery, later partnering with his brother Neil in the business until his retirement in 1987.

He was very involved in the community and his contributions of service and community development included work on the Kenora Thistle Hockey Team Board, serving as a trustee for the Kenora School Board, work on the Kenora Minor Hockey Association, board membership on the Central Community Club, the Kenora Economic Development Committee, a co-chair of the building committee for the original Kenora Recreation Centre and a field agent for Ducks Unlimited. He helped many other community groups and charities.

After his retirement, he followed his many interests which included sculpture, nature, gardening, architecture, the family camp, woodworking, reading, music and genealogy. He pursued these interests with passion, intellect and humour. His stories were enjoyed by family and friends. His wealth of knowledge will be missed. His ideas and actions influenced and inspired many.

Immediate cremation has taken place.

A private family service will follow at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, contributions of time or donations to a local charity of one’s choice would honour his life and service.

Online condolences may be made at


Private family service at a later date

Thank you Edgar for the wartime picture of my dad and the conversations we had.

Fortunately my dad’s pictures were located.

Here’s another one I’ll share from his collection of some of the Erks from 403 Squadron checking out a captured FW 190 in Germany 1945.

Again, you may recognize some of the Erks from 403.


Have a nice day mon ami.

Greg… Are you still reading the blog?

I got this e-mail last week.

Dear Mr. Lagacé,

I am a Swiss author who has published a book about captured German WWII aircraft in 2011 (see my website My book showed about 90 previously unpublished photos taken by Allied soldiers when they marched through Europe in 1944/45.

I recently acquired a photo of a Fw 190 fighter wreck that was taken at Fassberg. It had a distinctive colored propeller spinner. On your website, I found a photo of another aircraft captured at Fassberg that featured the same colored spinner, but was definitely a different aircraft than the one on my photo as it carried another tactical code on the engine hood.

I found your photo at the following page:

Reg Morris

And the direct link is:

abandoned FW-190

I assume you received the scans from the family of Reg Morris and that you don’t have the originals. But I would be very glad if you could either make contact with the family or forward my e-mail to them. I’d be very grateful if I could use that photo for my 2nd book to show it next to the photo I recently acquired.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Roger Gaemperle


Greg… Are you still reading the blog?

Please contact me.

Spitfires versus Focke-Wulf 190s over France

Most interesting post.


On 21 March 1943 No. 341 Squadron RAF, also known as the Groupe de Chasse n° 3/2 “Alsace” arrived at Biggin Hill, one of the front line fighter stations in the south east of England. It was composed of members of the Free French forces fighting alongside the Allies, under Squadron Leader Mouchotte. They were now equipped with Supermarine Spitfire L.F Mk.IXs, one of the most refined versions of the fighter aircraft. From here they mounted sweep patrols over the English Channel, probing the German defences of occupied Europe.

Gil Gillis with captured Fw 190 – Redux

As a sequel to Hart Finley’story, something I wrote in 2011 when I knew little about 403 Squadron.

Original post

Gil Gillis was probably one of Greg’s grandfather’s best friend…

We see him in many pictures in the photo album.


Walter Neil Dove collection

Gil is from Pense, Saskatchewan in Canada.

One of these days, someone will google his name on the Internet and find this blog…

Come back for more pictures from Greg’s collection.

End of the original post

That was back then. Since 2011 I wrote more articles about Gil.

Click here.

Erks With 126 and 127 Wings Prized German Aircraft

More from Mark…

More identified pictures of captured German aircraft from my dad, George White’s Collection

The first one is simply captioned “126 Wings Prize German Aircraft” and 2 men from his crew are in the foreground. The prize is a Focke-Wulf Fw 58 Weih or “Harrier”. The Fw 58 was widely used for training Luftwaffe personnel. It was also used as VIP transport, ambulance, feeder airliner, photo reconnaissance, and weather research aircraft. It was built under license in Bulgaria and Brazil. It was also operated by several countries such as the Netherlands, Hungary, Romania, Croatia and Turkey.

Mark White February 2012-1

 That’s an interesting camo scheme on the wrecked hangar.

  Mark White February 2012-2

I have posted one picture of 403 Squadrons Erks working on a captured FW 190 and now I’m posting another.

This is likely the Fw 190 F8 that was captured at an assembly line at Travemunde, Germany. The RAF flew her from a base in Reinsehlen, Germany in May 1945. Markings and camo scheme seem correct…but there was no werk number known to exist for positive identification.

 Mark White February 2012-3

 Mark White February 2012-4

A good eye might be able to identify some of the Spitfires in the background.


Mark White

February 2014


RCAF 403 Wolf Squadron Erks and Two More Destroyed German Aircraft

More contribution from Mark White

Mark White 1 wreck

This picture from my dad George White’s collection was just captioned “Damaged German Aircraft” and it shows a couple of men from his crew standing by a wreck.

The wreckage can be positively identified as the forward fuselage section from a heavily damaged Junkers Ju 88.

The unidentified Erk on the right of the photo has his hand resting on the forward fuselage, and just above his hand, on the canopy, can be seen a small circular opening. This was for a forward-firing machine-gun. That may indicate a bomber version, but as the forward nose (glazed or metal) is apparently missing, it’s rather difficult to confirm. Behind the same man, is a solid metal nose cap in a light colour, reminiscent of the C-series heavy fighters or possibly even a G-series night-fighter.

Mark White 1 Ju 88

This picture of a wreck shows the tail section from Focke-Wulf 190 D9. The lengthened fuselage section and the canopy frame on the ground identify it positively as a D9.

Mark White 1 wreck 2

Mark White 1 Fw 190 D9 

Mark White
January 2014.

You can contact me using this contact form.

RCAF 403 Wolf Squadron Erks Playing in the Big Bird

What more can I say about Mark White’s contribution…?


He-177 and Fw 190

This picture from my dad George White’s collection was just captioned “Damaged German Aircraft” and it shows a couple of men from his crew playing in the cockpit.
The “Big Bird” is a four engine Heinkel He 177 heavy bomber.

It can be positively identified as He 177A-3 Werk Number. 135024 ND+SS.
This aircraft was under evaluation, and used at least temporarily, by E-Stelle (Test centre) Rechlin Germany from spring 1943 until 1944. The white prototype number “V24” is still visible on the fin.

The “Little Bird” in the foreground is a Focke-Wulf 190, sometimes called the “Butcher Bird”.

The location of this picture could be Faßberg Germany.

The He 177 is an interesting aircraft. It is a four engine bomber but it only has two propellers. Driving each propeller are two Daimler-Benz 605 12 cylinder engines that are mated together.

The resulting 24 cylinder engine is designated as the Daimler-Benz DB 610.

This other picture from my dad’s collection is captioned “German Aircraft Engine”. It shows two unidentified 403 Wolf Squadron Erks standing beside an engine that has been identified as being a Daimler-Benz DB 610 engine from a Heinkel 177 bomber.

German Aircraft Engine 
It’s kind of fun doing some research and identifying the aircraft and locations where these pictures were taken.

Now, if only some of your readers could help me identify some of these men.

Mark White

January 2014.

Unknown 403 ERKS and a Decoy German Aircraft Aircraft Now Identified – Maybe One Erk?

Another great post from Mark White…

Another photo from my dad George White’s collection. The caption just says “Destroyed FW 190”.

decoy Fw 190You will recognize the erks in the photo from my dad’s crew. When it comes to playing with German aircraft they look like kids in a toy store.

The German hangar in the background is probably at the Fassberg airfield. The aircraft is a Focke-Wulf 190A. The fuselage band and style/colors of the number were typical for Sturmstaffel 1 in the spring of 1944.    

Sturmstaffel 1 was redesignated 11./JG 3 in May 1944.

It was odd that this aircraft with these markings would still be around at the end of the war. It was kept for a purpose.

If you look closely, you will notice that not only has this aircraft been stripped of usable parts, but it was re-stored with some extra struts so it could act as an airfield decoy for the Allied bombing and straffing attacks.


Fw 190 A-6 

I think this erk sitting on the decoy might be Albert “Al” Johnson.

Albert Al Johnson


Mark White

January 2014

Werk Number 210147

Another contribution by Mark White whose father was an erk with 403 Squadron.

Another photo from my dad George White’s collection. The caption just says “Tail Fin From German Aircraft”.

Werk Number 210147

This is without a doubt the tail section of a Fw 190D-9. The Germans kept incredibly accurate records. This particular aircraft can be identified by the Werk Number 210147.

Werk Number 210147 Fw 190 D

More Information on the Long Nose Focke-Wulf 190 Dora 9

In all likelihood the tail fin is from a I. or II./JG 26 aircraft, or a former III./JG 54 plane that was passed on to JG 26 after 25 February 1945 (until that time III./JG 54 had operated under JG 26 command). All D-9s in the series 210139 to 210160 were delivered to these Gruppen, with the single exception of W.Nr. 210145, which was a 12./JG 2 aircraft (lost on 01 January 1945 during Bodenplatte).

More info on FW 190D-9 Werk Number Identification

Werk Number 210147 Fw 190 D page


The aircraft is identified – now we need to know who the ERKS are.

Werk Number 210147 Fw 190 D montage


Mark White

January 2014