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


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…

Mark’s First Contribution

Mark wrote another comment.

People usually don’t read reader’s comments on blogs.

I do.

This comment is most interesting because Mark mentions January 1, 1945. Click here to learn more.

Thanks for setting up an Erks category.

I can’t wait to start releasing the stuff I have – I’m really glad I have found this site where I can finally share it. This is the place and the community that will appreciate it.

I can recognize some of my dad’s “crew” in this group shot from my pictures.

My dad’s crew was referred to as the “Number 1″. I understand they held the time record for swapping out a Merlin engine that could not be beaten. His “crew” managed to stay together during the war on the continent, except for one member, who was killed during an attack on their airdrome January 01, 1945. I’ll get into more of the details I know about that later.

I’m pretty sure the guy in the back row to the right of the prop blade with the arrow drawn across the left shoulder is my father, George Edward White LAC R119501.

I have a picture of him standing in the bottom of a large bomb crater in exactly the same pose – right hand on the hip – take in Normandy 1944.

What I really notice in this picture at the end of the war, is the way many of these young men rapidly age during the course of the war. My dad was born in 1921 and he would have just turned 24 in August of 1945.


Mark  also mentions a whole lot more information about this picture.

I’m pretty sure the guy in the back row to the right of the prop blade with the arrow drawn across the left shoulder is my father, George Edward White LAC R119501.

More about erks…

Someone whose father was also a groung crew wrote a comment once on my other blog Lest We Forget.

His father was with RCAF 425 Alouette. His name was Roly Leblanc. I wrote several articles during Rememberance Week 2011.

Great pictures!

Click here.

Erks’, is a kindly word meaning your ground crew guys! I’ve not heard that term used since those days!

George Stewart DFC, 23 Squadron Mosquito pilot

He should know…

I asked George Stewart about the meaning of Erks…

He should know.

He was a Mosquito pilot with 23 Squadron.

This is what George wrote me last night.

Erks’, is a kindly word meaning your ground crew guys!
I’ve not heard that term used since those days!


Want to know more about George?

George Stewart knows a lot about piloting Mosquitoes.

He also trained the Nationalist Chinese to fly them in 1948.

One thing George probably is not aware of is that he is responsible for this blog about No. 403 Squadron.

It’s because I went to see him in Hamilton this summer that I stayed at Greg’s father’s B  & B and that I met Greg.