The image is of Erwin shortly after his training period and before he became an Obergrenadier (private first class), Erwin did not attain a higher rank, he was never a greatly ambitious person, particularly where military service was concerned
Prior to his conscription as a teenager, he learned to repair shoes under the direction of a cobbler. Unfortunately, this did not provide sufficient remuneration to support his family so he took a better paying job as a lorry driver’s mate conveying local farm produce to the large city markets. The best-paid jobs were more available to members of the NAZI party but Erwin had no wish to become involved with their politics.
Lightly built and about 1.65 metres tall, Erwin was always the joker, a trait that was apt to get him into trouble on occasions.
He was fortunate during his military service that the army policy (dictated by the Führer) was that soldiers with families be given priority for Christmas leave and important family occasions.
Erwin had no illusions about the way the war was going and urged his wife to take the family westwards at the earliest opportunity during his last visit on leave of absence in March 1944.