Hi Susan

Mark posted this comment… too beautiful to leave in the comment section.

Hi Susan,

Sorry to hear that your dad passed away.

There’s not many vets from the war left now, and there are still a lot of stories to be told and pictures to share.

I feel it’s the duty of our generation to try and preserve the contribution these men and women made to our country and to make sure there is something left for our children and grandchildren to refer too.

My dad George White grew up in Kenora. The Whites were a railroad family. My dad had 4 brothers and 2 sisters. Harold, Laurence (Larry), Clarence and my dad all served overseas in World War II. Tom was too young – he was born in 1932. Sister Harriet married Peter Orchison who served in the army and sister Eleanor married a Dave Cairns. I’m not sure if he served or not.

My dad served in the RCAF and his brothers were all in various army regiments. Clarence also served with the Black Watch in the Korean war.
Larry worked as the Steward at the Kenora Legion up to the time of his passing in the early 1990s. I’m sure your dad would have known him.

It’s been many years since I visited Kenora with my parents, but I remember, Bob Husband, Louis McKay and the Johnsons as being some of my dad’s friends and war buddies. I don’t remember Edgar Strain but I recall my dad talking about his younger brother Neil who played in the NHL.

I’ve got a couple of pictures of my dad in his air force uniform with some people in Kenora. I have no idea who they are.
I’ll scan them and post them – maybe you can identify them.

Thanks again for your message.


Why I Wrote This Blog…

And let Mark White contribute…


November 4, 2012

Hello Mark:

My brother emailed me this article today and I could not let the moment pass without commenting on your picture. I did not recognize your dad, but we might find him somewhere in some of my dad’s pictures. My dad is the Clyde Hillman in your photo. We have a lot of photos from dad’s war experience, but this one was entirely new to us.

Dad passed away in 2012 and I felt as if we had lost one more amazing war historian! Dad, like Mr. Strain, and many of the other WWII vets in Kenora, had a special connection or camaraderie  My siblings and I grew up knowing who other vets were and we always respected them. They also had incredible wartime memories -not just as it related to their own lives at that time, but also their hometown friends, war buddies and future lives. To this day, I am amazed at their historical sense! Further, dad’s and others’ indignation at historical inaccuracies and « fiction » would make the air turn blue! :-) .

Thanks for writing your article and for giving me a nice reminder of something so important, especially as Remembrance Day draws near -always a HUGE day in our family!

Sincerely, Susan (Hillman) Brazeau

Of course Susan can do the same…

Some Random Pictures of 403 ERKS Doing Engine Swaps

Mark is sharing again his father’s pictures.

Enjoy them!


My Dad’s Missing War Pictures

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 condolenes may be made at http://www.brownfuneralhomekenora.com


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.

403 Erks Captured German Truck

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


John Roman, front row second from left

I have been following your website for a while now. My dad served as a mechanic with 403 squadron and I was quite happy to find him in the group squadron picture you posted a while back. (John Roman, front row second from left).

Have you run across his name before? He died in 1982, he would have really enjoyed your site. I have some of his pictures and documents you may be interested in, including a written history of the squadron someone recorded in 1945. I would be curious if there is a way to figure out which pilot(s) my dad worked with. Keep up the good work.


Jim Roman

John Roman, front row second from left…