Erks – Redux

Written two years ago when Mark White was just thinking of writing about his dad George White. We have come a long way since then.

***

A new collaborator and a new category.

This blog pays homage to all those who served with RCAF No. 403 Squadron during WWII.

This blog is all about sharing.

Period. 

Greg has shared his grandfather photo album and his precious logbook.

Mark wants to share what is seldom mentioned in WWII…

Erks.

Erks?

This is what George Stewart said about erks when I asked… Click here.

So next time, on this blog, we will talk about Mark’s dad who was an erk with RCAF No 403 Squadron.

I just can’t wait.

Click on the image to zoom in. Mark’s father should be there.

***

George White

collection Walter Neil Dove courtesy of his grandson Greg Bell

Mark’s First Contribution – Redux

Editor’s  note  

I know this is not next Tuesday, but this is Mark’s  second contribution, not his first. You see how  hard it  is  to follow  this blog.

***

Original  post

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

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

paul-beaudet-and-george-stewart-1

UPDATE

Good morning Mark, thank you very much for writing about your Dad’s memories, it certainly takes me back a few years about 70 to be close enough. Without erks or men like your Dad who were so dedicated to their work the Spits could not fly, not very far anyway. Although I am sure that I must have seen your Dad many times as I frequently roamed around or maybe in the same lineup at the mess or even sitting next to him at the movie tent. A thousand reasons, no a million reasons why you should be proud of your Dad.

Who cares?,you do , I do, and All the thousands who stood for hours last November 11, at the War Memorial to applause and cheer continually while veterans, most in their late 80s or 90s, and I was one of them. The same ceremonies attracted crowds all through Canada.

Why?

Because THEY CARED.

Again Mark, those crowds were saying to your Dad and all vets Thank You.

John B.

John Roman, front row second from left – Redux

A comment made about this post…

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.

Sincerely

Jim Roman

John Roman, front row second from left…

T. O’Sullivan

My father – RJ “Dick” O’Sullivan is the airman in group pic right side looking at pic third row kneeling 5th from right wearing wedge cap to the left of the airman not wearing a wedge cap. The group photo we have at home is framed with the 403 Heraldic Squadron crest.

403 ERKS in German Camouflage Working on the Auster

More Pictures from George White’s Collection

The Auster was used during WWII by the RCAF primarily as an Air Observation Post (AOP).

It was also used for communications and casualty evacuation purposes.

I have some pictures from my father George White’s collection of the ERKS working on 127 Wing’s Auster.

The boys are wearing captured German camouflage jackets.

The journal I have mentions that RCAF personnel in their dirty blue battle dress were often mistaken for Germans.

I often wonder if the boys felt safer wearing German camouflage jackets as opposed to dirty RCAF battle dress.

The German jackets look very comfortable and practical.

 Auster

 

Auster and the Boys

Boys camo

Boys camo 2

Boys and Auster

Auster 3

The aircraft in the photo above is a Taylorcraft Auster Mark V.
Auster series aircraft gave invaluable service in the war in southern and northern Europe. At their peak, Austers equipped 19 squadrons, often using their remarkable short-field performance to operate very close to the front line.

Specifications (Auster V)

General Characteristics
• Crew: Pilot plus observer sitting side by side and one crew (if needed) in the space behind the two front seats.
• Length: 22 ft 5 in (6.83 m)
• Wingspan: 36 ft 0 in (10.97 m)
• Height: 8 ft 0 in (2.44 m)
• Wing area: 167 ft² (15.51 m²)
• Empty weight: 1,100 lb (499 kg)
• Max takeoff weight: 1,850 lb (839 kg)
• Powerplant: 1× Lycoming O-290-3 flat-four piston, 130 hp (97 kw)

Performance
• Maximum speed: 130 mph (209 km/h)
• Range: 250 miles (402 km)

 Auster 4

Cheers

Mark White
February 2013

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.

Sincerely

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

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