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 http://www.brownfuneralhomekenora.com

BROWN FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION CENTRE ENTRUSTED WITH ARRANGEMENTS.

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.

More Pictures from Mark – Redux

Editor’s notes

This was Mark White’s third contribution to this blog. It was published back in 2012.

***

Mark White forgot this picture in his article.

The captions are the original captions wrote by his father.

Here are the other ones he sent me before.

 ***

Does anyone know who’s in front, his hand over the right side mirror?

 Good old Robbie

Robbie - Copy

 

Mark White’s first post – 403 Erks Captured German Truck

Editor’s  note

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…

Pierre,

Here’s my first serious post – many more will likely be coming your way.

Cheers

Mark

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

 

403 Erks Captured German Truck Redux

Mark White will love these comments left on one of his posts he wrote.

Mark’s dad was an erk with 403 Squadron. Mark has written several posts about his father and other ground crew personel with 403 Squadron.

Hello all,
It’s a real great model, but the wrong type. The capured 4,5 tons truck on the images is a “absolut” rate Saurer SGS 4500. It’s a combination design of Klöckner Humbold Deutz, Henschel and Saurer factory.

Please look here.
http://www.kfzderwehrmacht.de/Homepage_english/Motor_Vehicles/Austria/Saurer/Saurer_SGS_4500/saurer_sgs_4500.html

Saurer_SGS_4500__WM-28984__Hoppe

Saurer SGS 4500

Best regards
Henning

Second time 😉
I think it must be Soltau not Soldau. I live in “Lower Saxony” to in Stade. Here is a map link from Reinshelen with the airfield.

Best regards
Henning

Reinshelen airfield Reinshelen airfield

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

 

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.

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. 

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

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.

Mark

Why I Wrote This Blog…

And let Mark White contribute…

This…

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…