403 Squadron Erks With a Captured German 3 Wheeled Truck

Mark White’s post about his father…

Here are some more pictures from my father, George White’s collection, taken in Germany during the war.

The truck appears to be a Tempo E 200 truck flatbed, probably manufactured in the mid to late 1930s.

Here’s some more information on Vidal & Sohn Tempo-Werk.

  Erks Somewhere in Germany

 

Erks Captured German 3 Wheeled Truck

 

It’s only got a capacity of 750kg – I don’t think it could carry the Merlin engine!

Erks The Truck is in the Background

The Truck is in the Background

 Cheers,

Mark White

January 2013.

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403 Squadron’s Captured BMW Sports Car

A Captured Jerry Car

Although the quality of this picture leaves a lot to be desired, it is one of my favorites from my father George White’s collection.

The captured “Jerry Car” shown in this picture with the ERKs of 403 Squadron, is a pre-war BMW 328 sports car. You will recognize the two ERK’s from some of my dad’s other photos.

A Captured Jerry Car

This car was likely built from the 1937 – 1939 period.

Note the Roundels, the star on the hood and the blackout headlight(s).

The truck in the background I believe is a 3.0 Bedford QL sporting the Maple Leaf and belonging to 127 Wing.

The number of regular 328’s produced until the start of the War is estimated at 426.

Over 200 cars still exist, a remarkable feat for a country where many cars were confiscated by the Nazi authorities. What apparently has contributed to its survival is that the engines of the 328 required very high quality petrol, which was hardly available, making the car unusable during the war and not attractive to the ruling party. And besides that, by the end of the war, Goering was probably too fat to fit into a BMW a BMW 328 Roadster.

It was however very popular with the pilots and ERKs of 403 Squadron. I recall my dad telling me how impressed the “boys” were at how fast this car was.

No doubt, the Luftwaffe enjoyed this car also. They would have had a good supply of high octane, high quality aviation gas for the Messerschmitt 109s and Focke Wulf 190s to keep the cars’ high performance high compression engine happy.

I often wonder if this particular car survived the war and where it might be now.

It would be worth a small fortune today if it was still around.

Cheers,

Mark White

December 28 2012.

A Thank You to the Men that Served in the 2nd Tactical Air Force

Victory in Europe

Victory in Europe back

Pierre,

I found this card in my dad (George White’s) collection.

It’s a personal message from Air Marshall Sir Arthur Coningham, to the relatives and friends of all members of the 2nd Tactical Air Force.

My dad, “Whitey” sent it to his girlfriend “Rene”.

Rene was my mother. Catherine Elizabeth Forman was from Reston, Manitoba.

Rene and Whitey met at an Air Force dance, at Rivers Manitoba. Whitey was training at No. 1 Air Navigation School at the Rivers Air Base.

 Rene and Whitey

“Rene and Whitey”

They married after the war and settled in Calgary.

I still have many of the letters he wrote her while he was overseas.

The letters were heavily censored by the Air Force, but I also have a wonderful journal that fills in many of the blanks created by the censors.

It will make a great read when I have the time to put it all together.

It might even make a great movie.

Cheers,

Mark White

December 27, 2012. 

Who Remembers LAC Medforth?

Luc Vervoort does…

He is one of my readers from Belgium.

Pierre,

If interested I can e-mail you a photograph of his grave, taken in 2010.

Best regards from Belgium

Luc

He sent me this picture.

The worse part was when some of the crew went back to the MQ’s to see how Bob was doing, they found that he was exactly the way they had left him on the stretcher, only now he was dead – from shock. The MO staff had done nothing for the seriously wounded and had only treated some of the minor injuries and hadn’t even put a blanked over Bob to prevent shock.

Remembrance Day 2012

Lest We Forget

Robert Charles Medforth

MEDFORTH, ROBERT CHARLES LAC R78265 – aero engine mechanic. From Pennant, Saskatchewan. Killed in action Jan 1/45 age 36. #6403 Servicing Echelon, Belgium. Died of injuries sustained when the airfield at RAF Station Evere, Belgium was strafed by enemy aircraft. Leading Aircraftsman Medforth is buried in the Brussels Town Cemetery, Evere-les-Bruxelles, Belgium. 

They Shall Grow Not Old – Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum Memorial Book

Bob’s Fresh Grave

 

Bob’s Grave With Flowers

Leading Aircraftsman Robert Charles Medforth is buried in the Brussels Town Cemetery, Evere-les-Bruxelles, Belgium. 

Whitey, Bill and Bob Medforth

Operation Bodenplatte

Operation Bodenplatte (Baseplate) launched on January 01, 1945, was an attempt by the Luftwaffe to cripple Allied air forces in the Low Countries during the Second World War. The goal of Bodenplatte was to gain air superiority during the stagnant stage of the Battle of the Bulge, to allow the German Army and Waffen-SS forces to resume their advance. The operation was planned for 16 December 1944, but it was delayed repeatedly owing to bad weather until New Years Day, the first day that happened to be suitable for the operation. Wikipedia

 

Eyewitness Account

This is a written eyewitness account of what happed that day from a member of my dad’s crew.  127 Wing moved to Base 56 (B56) on Nov.4.44 and remained there until Mar.1.45.

It is typed as it was written by hand.

Here’s the Story

127 moved from Mechelan to Evere – another ex-Brussels Airfield – now another bombed out mess, but the best one to date as we had a few amenities – hangers are mostly unsafe and unusable but we have discovered a properly working flush toilet in an otherwise wrecked washroom – how and why is really interesting because no other taps and plumbing worked – we also have a good cement apron to work on.

January 01, 1945.

Most personnel had been up a little late doing a little celebrating and were slightly groggy.

One squadron was just preparing to take-off. We had 4 brand new Spitfire 16’s to check out and put the squadron letters on so I started to head over to 403 disp (Dispersal) to get the stencils KH. At right angles to our work pad, a road went up at a slight rise behind an old hanger.

As I walked, suddenly I could hear gunfire from aircraft coming from the Mechelen Airfield direction. Then, what I first thought was a Spit IX aircraft appeared from that way after flying across our airfield. I said to the Spit – Hey! You better check out Mechelen as he sort of rolled up and there were black crosses well marked under his wings. Then aircraft started roaring across our aircraft and airfield. I jumped into a boarded up German slit trench as some 109’s came low over the old hanger firing as they turned to hit our new aircraft. They weren’t shooting at me but one 37 mm slug went into the wood beside me, the old German gas barrels also got hit and also our aircraft.

When I left about 2 minutes ago, Robbie was running up one Spit. Whitey was on the wing tip. I ran back down the little road. Fire was coming out of the cockpit of Robbie’s Spit. I jumped up on the wing. The cockpit was empty, Whitey got up from the ground, he had dropped beside the cement in a patch of old oil, half of his face was black.

A few of the rest of the crew had dropped on the cement apron. Bullets had bounced off the cement all around them, no one was hit – Robbie and 3 others had run to the top of the old smashed hanger. Their backs were covered in red brick dust as slugs had missed them by inches and imbedded in the bricks – and were later dug out for keepsakes. One fellow had been sitting on our prized toilet wondering what all the noise was when a slug came through the wooded door, hit the toilet between his legs, smashed the china bowl and left him sitting on a pile of rubble.

Bob Medforth got a cannon shell through both thighs. Some of the gang found him and applied field dressings to stop the bleeding, got a stretcher and ran him over to the M.Q.’s (Medical Quarters) and requested immediate attention. There were casualties coming in there pretty fast.

I carried on down to the apron to get our Bren gun, it was gone. I never heard it fire, the ammo was still there. The German planes were still raising hell in the vicinity.

A pilot who had finished his tour, ran out and jumped in a aircraft that was still running from the Squad that were leaving for take off – when the Germans hit – as he got clear of the ground he nailed two German aircraft who were crossing in front of him, two more German aircraft followed in behind him and shot him down over Brussels.

I was sent to the crash site right away by truck to find out definitely who was flying that Spit. He went down in Rue de Victare, a narrow cobblestone road solidly built up on either side.

The Spit had gone down straight in making a fair sized pit in the street – the hole was filling with bloody water. I rolled up my sleeves and started picking out pieces trying to find some proper identity.

The two men with me couldn’t stand the sight of the mess and couldn’t help. I had managed quite a pile of gore when a local Belgium came up with the pilot’s wallet. It somehow had landed on the sidewalk.

When I got back I found out that some idiot had run off with our Bren gun. He didn’t know how to use it even if he had brought along the ammunition. One fellow who had been running around  trying to help but was too excited to  do any good had a small caliber bullet right through his foot and he didn’t even know it. When one of the others asked him how come your boots are all bloody? He fell down and couldn’t walk and had to be carried.

The worse part was when some of the crew went back to the MQ’s to see how Bob was doing, they found that he was exactly the way they had left him on the stretcher, only now he was dead – from shock. The MO staff had done nothing for the seriously wounded and had only treated some of the minor injuries and hadn’t even put a blanked over Bob to prevent shock.

There were a mass of stories. The head man of the Tactical Airforce was visiting in his “Mobile Home Dakota” – it was a complete write off.

Our Bofors anti aircraft crew got shot up and put out of action very early.

We had two young pilots up for a practice flight before any operational duty. They got mixed in with the German aircraft and made a few circuits with the attacking aircraft before they had a chance to escape. The Germans couldn’t shoot at them without endangering their own aircraft. Our two pilots were too green to try being heroes.

Next day we could muster about 12 serviceable aircraft out of our four squadrons. Some aircraft were slightly damaged but some were complete write-offs.

The total aircraft destroyed that day must have been tremendous. The German air force also took tremendous losses in aircraft but their real losses were experienced pilots that they couldn’t replace.

Our losses were really only in aircraft and for most of these replacements were already available. We were changing from Spit IV’s to Spit 16’s.

Submitted by Mark White to RCAF 403 Squadron/Wolf Remembrance Day 2012

Next time, the epilog.

Clyde William Hillman 1916-2010

About Clyde Hillman…

Clyde William Hillman passed away peacefully at the Lake of the Woods Hospital on July 12, 2010.

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on March 20, 1916, he was 94 years of age. Clyde was the son of William Angus Hillman, a Civil Engineer, and Grace Ruth (Sillett). He was elder brother to Harold and Muriel.

The family moved extensively within Central and Western Canada and the northern United States eventually settling in East Hawk Lake and Kenora by the mid 1930s so that the children could complete high school. Clyde served six years with the Canadian Armed Forces in World War II, serving as a Gunner in the 8th Royal Canadian Regiment in England, Italy Holland and Belgium. In fact, Dad often called himself a “D-Day Dodger” because he was in Italy on D-Day. Shortly after his return to Canada, he married Jessie (Jay) Wright McKellar of Keewatin with whom he had four children. He also began to work as a sales representative with M.Y. Cameron Wholesale and remained with them until the late 1960s. Following this career, Clyde worked as a Customs and Excise Officer and also as a Radio Operator with the Department of Highways of Ontario.

He retired at the age of 65 in 1981. Dad was a proud member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 12 and had just recently received recognition for his 65 years of membership. He was also a member of the Pequonga Masonic Lodge for over 50 years.

An excellent athlete in his youth, Clyde remained physically fit and active throughout his life. He enjoyed different genres of music, was an avid reader and also an amateur photographer. His appreciation of nature, especially sunsets, cloud formations, wildlife and birds is captured in his many photographs. Also captured on camera are several bridge railings and telephone poles from across the country. Dad also enjoyed history, in particular, Canadiana and World War II history. He shared his interesting and often insightful life stories with anyone who chose to listen. Over the years, dad and mom left a legacy of learning to not only their own children but also to nieces, nephews and grandchildren. They would take us out on day trips to learn about survival in the bush; or how to troll at the right places at the right time of day; or paddle the canoe, quietly watching the loons and the eagles on Blindfold Lake; or view the red ocher rock paintings; going to “the dig”; or going rock hunting. Dad also taught some of us to savour the whine of the Scottish bagpipes, march a slow march and sing along with the folk songs of the Maritimes. Two of his favourite fun songs were, “Hallelujah, I’m a bum…” and the ghost song, “I ain’t got no body.” Clyde was predeceased by his wife Jay and daughters Janice (Hanstead) and Beverley (Oberg); his parents, brother Harold and sister Muriel (Scovil); niece, Megan (McKellar/Gladu) and loyal family pet, Bud, on June 24, 2010. His passing leaves an empty space in the lives and hearts of his daughter, Susan and her husband Wayne Brazeau of Lloydminster, AB and his son, Bill, of Kenora. Also mourning his passing are five grandchildren and four great grandchildren: Kim Kaitell and her children, Remi and Julian of London ON; Pam (and Brent Berezowski and their children Chloe and Payton); Nancy (and Cory Sehn); Britt (and Monn Moen); and Mollie Oberg, all of Calgary. “Uncle Cloud” will also be missed by several nieces and nephews and their families in Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick, especially Melanie and Ken Patterson of Blindfold Lake ON. Clyde also leaves behind two sisters-in-law, Ellen McKellar and Vivien McKiernan; former sons-in-law, Gary Hanstead of Calgary and David Oberg of Red Deer; and neighbourhood friends, Charlie and Joan Carlson. Also special in Clyde’s life over the years were various family pets: Stubby, Bozo, Patches, Sparky, Purdy, Muffin and Ginger the Cat. He always had goodies in his pockets for other canine friends such as Sasha, Benny, Bear and Angel. We shall sorely miss this wonderful soul! Susan and Bill thank Dr. Beveridge for his many years as dad’s physician and for listening to and sharing “off-the topic” stories. We also extend our appreciation to Dr. Carlisle, nurses on the ER and 3rd floor East, and the support staff at the hospital for the kindness they provided dad during his past few visits.

Farewell Dad, Grampa, Uncle Cloud, Clyde, CWH. “We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when?”

Clyde William Hillman
1916-2010