I am still searching through some digital sources when searching for those Swedish born soldiers who fought and fell at the Western Front in World War 1.
Right now I am looking through casualty cards from the American Expeditionary Force. I have done this a couple of times, but I am still finding individuals to put in my database, that fulfills my criterias in my research.
During the last two days I have found the two individuals below, with some interesting notes. They are noted as number 356 and 357 in my database.
Albin Fingal was born as Albin Erik Fingal in Klara parish, Stockholm, Sweden, in June 21, 1892, and raised by his parents Sofia Wilhelmina Ersdotter and Per Erik Fingal at the farm in Stora Sjögetorp south of Vingåker.
He went to North Amerika in 1913, and landed in Canada before passing the border to US. He is settled down in Chicago, in the city region Evanston, at Church street, at the same address where his next to kin, Anna Fingal, lives. Anna is mentioned to be his mother, but I assume that Anna may be his wife. it is mentioned in the Swedish church books that Albin worked as a bookbinder, and is noted as abcent from year 1913 to 1916.
In the Registration card for the American forces, he is mentioned as an alien, and I am not sure if he joins the army as a US citizen or as a individual who still is a Swedish citizen. He joins the 131st Infantry Regiment, 66th Infantry Brigade, 33rd US Division which is put up from the National Guard in Illinois, and he went to France with his activated unit in May 18.
Albin probably fell in the area of Bois de Chaume in Argonne region in France, after the unit has withdrawn after some successful counterattacks from the enemy. Albin is now buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in France.
The other Swede that I found is the soldier called Maurice Friedstrom in the casualty card, and he was born in Fristad parish just north of Borås in Sweden as Mauritz Fondelius Johansson Fridström in October 13th, 1890. In the church book and at some other places in some archives it is also mentioned October 30th as his date of birth. He was raised by his parents Anna Karolina Johansdotter and Johan Petter Andersson at the farm Fristads Klockarebol.
His brother Carl Friedstrom is mentioned as Next of Kin at the casualty card, and the address of the brother is South 17th Street, Fort Dodge. You can see the map in the gallery above. I dont know if Mauritz lived there as well, but it is probable that they tried to stay together.
In the Swedish page at Ancestry it is mentioned by the relatives that he fell in battle, but he became sick and died of that and was initially buried at the American Cemetery in Libourne, Gironde, France, just two days after the Armistice, November 13th, 1918.
Mauritz is today buried at the American Cemetery in Suresnes, France.
I will now continue to check the material and it is always interesting to find individuals and try to find facts and make a little story about them, they come alive to me in a way, and I think it is important to remember and highlight what our Swedish ancestors did.
Imagine to be 19 years old, moving around with your unit in the Argonne Woods, far away from your home, and not be able to experience your 20th birthday. This is the story of the young boy from Säby, Tranås, Sweden, who went tu North America in his early years with his family, joined the American Expeditionary Forces and ended his days in The Meuse Argonne Offensive.
Sometimes I find information about the Swedish born soldiers that makes it possible to document their trip from Sweden, over to their new country, and further into the battlefield at the Western Front in the Great War.
I find it very interesting to connect the terrain to the individuals, and in this case I will try to give you the small story about Elmer.
It was not easy to find him in the archives, as Elmer did change his names a lot when he came over to his new country, North America. Elmer was born in Säby Parish, Tranås, Jönköping County, in the southern part of Sweden.
He was born and raised as Hjalmar Torsten Vallentin Nord by his mother Hulda Karolina Adolfsdotter and his father Konstantin Nord in Källås Norrgård, just south of Tranås. I can imagine it is good to change his Swedish name Hjalmar to Elmer, as it is easier to pronounce, and that gives me also some clues for the future when I research for other individuals called Elmer in their new country.
Elmer left Säby according to the documents in August 1904, and arrived in Boston, US, when he was 5 years old. His father Konstantin left already in 1901, as you can see in the note, in the church book above.
According to the casualty card his mothers adress is in Red Oak, east of the town Omaha in the state of Iowa. I assume this was the address of the family living in the US, when he left for the Army, and in the pictures below you can also see the street, how it looks today.
So now we know at least, that his mother lived at the address above. According to some documents there is also a note that Elmer lives in Red Oak 1915, probably at the same address. I havent found the registration card for Elmer, but I know that he is leaving for France in July in 1918 wih his unit, 168th Infantry Regiment, 42nd Division.
Elmers Unit was fighting in the Meuse-Argonne offensive from October 1918, when they relieved the 1st Division in october 13, 1918. The unit was involved in the attack on the large German Defence line, the “Kriemhilde Stellung”, a defence construction east of the Argonne Woods. Elmer was probably fighting with his unit near the village Landres et St. George, between Bantheville and Saint-Juvin, in Argonne Region.
Ofcourse is it hard to say where exactly Elmer was fighting, but I assume that he was within his unit.
Elmer was not even 20 years old when he fell in the offensive. He was injured during october 18th, and died october 19th, 1918, only at an age of 19. He is now buried at the Meuse Argonne American Cemetery.
I have now followed Elmer from his home in Sweden, to his home in the US, and also now mapped his last position, within his unit, the 42nd Infantry Division. Imagine to do this quite long trip in early years of your life. Imagine the experience he gained during his few months in France.
Elmer was born not far from where I live, and I will try to visit his old farm, just to see if I can find some more information about the family.
My daughter in 20 years old today, this date, July 27th 2021, and 20 today is not like beeing 20 back in that time, during the Great War. Each era has its own experiences.
May you, Hjalmar Torsten Vallentin Nord, rest in peace, you are not forgotten.
It is not often I read about Swedish born soldiers who fought for specific British units. A large part of the Swedish born individuals fought for the Canadian and Australian units who indeed belonged to the Commonwealth and the British Expeditionary Forces. But in my research I sometimes find soldiers who belonged to British regiments. Here is a small story about one of them.
Karl Eskil was born in Gothenburg, Sweden, the second largest town in Sweden, his father, Karl Johan Strömwall was a banker in Sweden. His wife, Ebba Alfhilda Josefina Strömwall became a widow in 1911, and it seems that Karl Eskil was the last child in the family.
Karl Eskil was born April 16, 1898, and right now I dont have any information when he left Sweden and became a clerk or similar at the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in London, but there is a note in the church book that his brother Tage went to England in February 1913, and probably Karl Eskil followed in his footsteps.
Karl Eskil registered for short service, for duration of the war, for Leicester Regiment in May 23 1917. Below you will find some documents from Ancestry about his registration in Leicester Regiment and some other documentation.
Karl Eskil belonged to the Leicester Regiment 8th battalion, and he was quite young when he was taken on strength in 23rd of May 1917. He was fighting near the area of Gheluveld SE of Ypres, and the unit was at camp near Fitzclarence Farm. He was wounded in action by gun shot wounds. He died October 17, 1917, age 21, probably at the 3rd casualty clearing station in France and buried at Ljissenthoek Military Cemetery.
Karl Eskil is the last soldier in my report who fell in Belgium part of the Western Front as I know about right now. I am now looking forward to when I can go down to the battlefields again and visit the places where the soldiers fell, and where they are buried or commemorated.
The 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion is organized at Valcartier Camp in accordance with Camp Order 241 of September 2nd, 1914. They embarked from Quebec City October 3, 1914 aboard on SS CASSANDRA and disembarked in England October 25, 1914. Onboard there were 44 officers and 1083 other ranks. They arrived in France February 11, 1915, belonging to the 1st Division, 1st canadian Infantry Brigade, and was reinforced during their time at the Western Front by 6th Canadian reserve Battalion.
The Diary of the 2nd Canadian Infantry battalion in late April 1915 informs us about the preparation of an attack, that seems to be from South East Kitcheners Wood, West of the village of St. Julien or Sint-Juliaan as the named are spelled today. The unit must, according to Col. LECKIE, disturb the enemy who has opened up a Trench that goes North-West of the unit. The attack was not successful due to the enemy machine guns that were operating in the flanks.
Here somewhere, between the April 22nd and 24th, 1915, one of the Swedes are missing from the fightings, and never found again. The other one is still fighting around what appears to be Juliet Farm, but he as well meets the end of his life sometime during April 26th, 1915.
The Swedish born soldiers that I am writing about in the text above is Edward Persson and Peter Nord. Here are their stories.
Edward (Per Erik) Persson is born November 5th, 1888, in Valbo Parish in Gästrikland, Sweden, by his parents Marta Eriksson and Per-Olof Persson. By the time of Edwards birth they live at the farm Alborga, south of Valbo. He leaves Sweden and arrives to Boston August 6th 1907 at an age of 18, with the Ship SS INVERNIA.
He applies for a Homestead in Alberta, Canada in 1908. During the time in Canada it is not known if he is joining the Canadian Army by his own will or if he is ordered to participate. During April in 1915 Edward is involved in the battles for St. Julien North East of Ypres in Belgium, at first missing in action, but later presumed to have died between April 22nd and April 24th 1915.
Edward has no known grave and is Commemorated at Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres.
Peter Nord, or Petrus Martinsson as he is called as a child, is born in Aspås Parish in Jämtland, Sweden, November 25, 1882, by his parents Brita Ersdotter and Martin Pettersson. He grew up at the farm Näset east of the town Krokom in Sweden, today called Aspånäset. He went to North America in 1900, at an age of 18, and later crossed the border to Canada in 1912, where he applied for a Homestead.
Peter was a farmer in about 15 years in North America and Canada before he voluntarily applied for to do his duty in the Canadian Army. He probably went over to France in accordance with the info regarding the 2nd battalion, together with Edward, who belonged to the same unit.
Peter was killed in action April 26, 1915, during the attack at St. Julien, probably in the area of Juliet Farm, in the same area as Edward. Peter has no known grave and is also Commemorated at Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres.
There is no known information at this moment if the both Swedes knew about eachother, but probably they did. Both of the Swedes were just in France for just over two months. Today the terrain looks like the photos below, the picture of Juliet Farm. Photos are taken both from East and South of the farm. Maybe they were here in this terrain, preparing for the attack at the village? We will never know.
Maybe one day they will find both Edward and Peter, but until that time, may they rest in peace.
A week at the battlefields goes very fast, I am now home again after spending a time in Belgium, both with some leisure but also some trips to the battlefields to follow up the Swedes who fell at the Western Front, within my ongoing project. The last post was about those Swedes who fought for the the Canadian Forces in the area and this post will cover the terrain and places where those who fought for AIF are supposed to have been fallen. Please join me.
We will start from the northern part and go south. Note that thye photos of any old trench maps are from the terrain, and may not cover the speciific time period connected to the soldier.
Augustus Wood – Hans Sebastian Hansson Killed in action
Hans Was born in Malmö, Skåne, Sweden December 24, 1890.
7261 Pvt Hans Sebastian Hansson – 35th Australian Infantry battalion – October 12, 1917
Hans belonged to the 35th Australian Infantry Battalion, that this day, october 12th 1917, was fighting in vicinity of Augustus Wood near Passchedaele. The battalion lost over 400 men this day. Due to the losses the battalion were forced to withdrawn and be built up again for the next upcoming months. Hans was killed this day, age 26, and are buried at Tyne Cot Cemetery.
Dairy Wood Area – Carl Flodström Killed in Action
Carl was born in Nederluleå, Västerbotten, Sweden, March 26, 1883
3076A Pvt Carl Flodstrom – 13th Australian Infantry battalion – October 21, 1917
Carl Flodstrom are assessed to have been near the area of Dairy Wood, mentioned in the Intelligence summaries and in the patrol reports. Carl is killed in action 21st of october 1917 in the battle of Passchendaele. Carl is commemorated at the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres.
Broodseinde Ridge – Oscar Wikström Killed in Action
Oscar was born in Helsingborg, Skåne, Sweden January 8, 1897
2271A Pvt Oscar Wikstrom – 50th Australian Infantry battalion – October 15, 1917.
Oscar Wikstrom fights with his unit around Broodseinde in the third battle of Ypres, which started on October 12, 1917. Oscar was buried in the masses of grenades that hit nearby. He is found injured by his comrades but dies of his injuries within an hour. They bury Oscar on the spot, but do not mark the spot. Oscars are not found, as many others are not found in this region. He died October 15, 1917 and is remembered in Menin Gate in Ypres. October 1917 was the worst period for the AIF during the entire war.
China Wood – Tage Ferdinand Ågren (Richardson) Killed in Action
Tage was born in Nosaby, Skåne, Sweden, July 14, 1890
Killed in Action from trenches near China Wood 10th of October 1917. The diary states that they received light caliber fire from the area between China Wood and Anvil Wood, and the place at the map are the place where Tages unit could have been. Tage is not found under the name Agren (Ågren), as he was called another family name, Richardson, which you find under the R page in the cemetery folder. He is buried at The Huts Cemetery near Dikkebus, southwest of Ypres.
2085 Gunner Tage Ferdinand Agren (Richardson) – 102 Field Artillery Battery – October 10, 1917
Celtic Wood – Carl Hjalmar Arring killed in action
Carl was born in Täby, north of Stockholm, Sweden.
The diary states that the unit were in the area of Celtic Wood, and it can also be the place where Carl was killed in 7th of October 1917. Carl surname wasnt found in any archive, but finally I found him under Eriksson in the church book, that mention all his other data, and he lived in the part of Täby that was called Arninge, and probably he took that name after the region he came from. Carl Hjalmar has no known grave and is commemorated at Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres.
5030 Pvt Carl Hjalmar Arring – 10th Australian Infantry battalion – October 7, 1917.
Anzac Ridge – Johan Eriksson Killed in Action
Johan is born in Norberg, Västmanland, Sweden January 17, 1894.
Johan Eriksson falls in battle in the area between Railway Wood and Anzac Ridge October 5th, 1917, before the battalion retreats to Steenvorde. The day before the British fights in the battle of Broodseinde north of this place. Battle of Broodseinde Ridge starts on October 4, the day before Eriksson dies in battle, and his position is judged to be between this place and Broodseinde Ridge. Johan does not have his own grave, and is therefore mentioned on the wall at Menin Gate memorial in Ypres.
3105 Pvt Johan Henrik Eriksson – 27th Australian Infantry battalion – October 5, 1917
Ravine Wood – Larch Wood – Eric Larson Killed In Action
Eric was born in Lindesberg, Örebro, Sweden.
Eric Larson fought for the 4th AIF Infantry battalion in the area of Ravine Wood and Larch Wood. By the time he was killed he was attached to the divisional baths, and in that situation killed in action 22nd of March 1918. It has been hard to find any information about that type of unit, but as far as I understand, he was transported to this unit after have been wounded, for some more easy duty. Eric is buried at the Lindenhoek Chalet Military Cemetery, one of two Lindenhoek Cemeteries.
7017 Pvt Eric Larsson – 4th Australian Infantry Battalion – March 22, 1918
In my next post I will cover the story about two Swedish born soldiers who fought for the Canadian units, Peter and Edward, who fought in the Area of Sint-Juliaan, north of Ypres, in 1915.
July 14th, I continued my tour at the battlefield i Belgium, and this day in company by Danielle, the woman from Antwerp, who got me hooked on this by giving very useful tips and links, how to search and where to look, she is responsible for me going totally into this now!
Yesterday I followed in the footsteps of the Swedes who fought for the Canadian and the Australian forces of the Commonwealth, and also one Swede who fought for the Brits. It is really interesting to actually stand in the terrain where the units where, and maybe get a small feeling of what they saw, but of course not about what they experienced, that would be quite hard to take in.
Here is two small overview pictures in what area we were in.
In this post I will start with covering those Swedes who fought for the Canadian troops. here are the small stories about each one of them. If there are any trench maps in the parts below, they can be from the area, but may not reflect the exact time when the soldiers were active in the area.
470031 Pvt Leonard Axel Larsson – 25th Canadian Infantry Battalion – November 11, 1917
Front Line 8th Nov – Leonard Axel Larsson Killed in Action
Born in Undersåker, Jämtland, Sweden, April 11, 1894.
Leonards unit was just in the Canadian frontline West of Passchendaele, and were about to charge to the objectives at the North-East side of the village. Leonard was Killed in Action at 8th of November 1917 at a place near the frontline, assumed at the map. Below some pictures from the terrain, and other files connected to the situation. I have assumed that Leonards unit were in support of the other battalions up front towards Passchendaele.
Leonard Axel Larsson is buried at Tyne Cot Cemetery.
201599 Pvt Andrew Bergman (Bergstedt) – 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles – KIA October 30, 1917 and 687450 Pvt August Johnson – 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles – KIA October 31, 1917.
Source Farm – Andrew Bergman Killed in action
Andrew was born in Kville Parish, Tanum, Bohuslän Sweden April 23, 1882.
Andrew Bergman was fighting with his unit 2nd CMR, around the area of Vapour Farm and Source Farm. Andrew fought in the same area and in the same unit as August Johnson. Both were never found. Andrew was killed the 30th of october 1917, in the battle of Passchendale. Andrew is commemorated at Menin Gate Memorial
Source Farm – Vapour Farm – August Johnson Killed in Action
August hasnt been able to verify when it comes to where he is born exactly, but he was born in Sweden November 10, 1874.
August was fighting with his unit, 2nd CMR, in the battle of Passchendaele, just north of the village Passchendaele, between Source Farm and Vapour Farm. August was killed the 31st of october 1917, and he is missing and therefore commemorated at Menin Gate Memorial.
267083 Pvt Edvin Robert Olson – 5th Canadian Infantry battalion – KIA November 10, 1917.
Meetcheele – Edvin Robert Olson Killed in Action
Edvin was born in Våmb Parish, Skåne, Sweden June 7th, 1896
Edvin falls in battle when his battalion supports the 7th and 8th battalions’ attack on Passchendaele, the third phase, which begins on November 10, 1917. He is not found and has no grave of his own, and is remembered at Menin Gate in Ypres.
100411 Pvt Karl Adrian Olson – 43rd Canadian Infantry Battalion – KIA October 27, 1917.
Bellevue Pillbox – Karl Adrian Olson Killed in Action
Karl was born in Väne-Åsaka, Västergötland, Sweden, March 25, 1888
Karl Olsson’s battalion advances towards German positions around Bellevue Pillboxes, and Karls falls in the beginning of the second phase of the battle of Passchedaele October 26, 1917. He is not found, and he is commemorated at the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres.
199046 Pvt Erick Anderson – 46th Canadian Infantry Battalion – KIA October 26, 1917
46th Bn Position – Erick Anderson Wounded in Action.
Erick Anderson was born in Floda, Södermanland, Sweden, February 1st, 1886.
Erick arrived in England from Canada July 6th, 1916 and is Taken on Strenght (TOS) to the 5th Canadian Infantry Battalion. According to thye Casualty card he is injured in his right arm by a shrapnel or a Gun Shot which penetrated his arm. He received this injury in the battle of Vimy Ridge in France, April 11th 1917. He was then fighting for the same battalion as another Swede, Axel Renyus Carlson, who you can find in my soldier list in the Main menu in this web page. Axel was killed in action in that battle.
Erick was discharged from Wharncliffe War Hospital in Sheffield June 11th 1917, and then later became attached to 46th Canadian Infantry Battalion in September 26, 1917. In October 26, 1917 he is reported to be wounded and missing, and later on reported to have been killed in action the same day. Erick has no known grave and he is commemorated at Menin Gate Memorial.
473075 Pvt Martin Swedberg – 16th Canadian Infantry Battalion – KIA June 13, 1916
Hill 61 – Martin Swedberg Killed in Action
Martin was born in Borgsjö Parish, Västernorrland, Sweden, May 26, 1875
Martin participates in battles east of Hill 61, which can be read from the diary, but otherwise there is not much information. He has no known grave of his own and is commemorated at Menin Gate in Ypres. On June 13, 1916, the Canadians fought over Mont Serrel a few hundred meters southwest of this place.
442081 Pvt Eric Carlson – 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion – KIA June 13, 1916
Mount Sorrel – Eric Carlson Killed in Action
Eric was born in Södra Barnabördsdhuset in Stockholm, Sweden, March 22, 1889
Eric Carlson falls as his unit advances south of Hooge towards Mount Serrel, where the Germans have taken large parts of the height, which is then recaptured by large parts of Eric’s units. Eric falls on the last day of the Battle of Mount Sorrel, June 13, 1916, the same day as Martin Swedberg, who fights north of Eric, around Hill 61. Eric is buried at Railway Dugouts Burial Ground just south of Ypres.
415222 (A15222) Corporal Bertil Albert Lindh – 13th Canadian Infantry Battalion – KIA April 19, 1916
The Bluff – Bertil Lindh Killed in Action
Bertil was born in Hedvig Eleonora Parish, Stockholm, Sweden December 31, 1892
Bertil Was killed and originally buried in Trench 33 the 19th of April 1916, when his unit was fighting close to the German Line in The Bluff Area.
The above information is about those Swedes who fought for the Canadian forces in the area of Ypres and Passchendaele. It was really interesting to walk around at the palces where I, myself, thinks they have been fallen, Sometimes I can get close to those places, like in Bertils case, but others is just an overview due to private land. But this gives you an overall picture how the area looks today.
Next post will be about those Swedes who fought for the Australian Forces in the same area within the same time frame. below some other nice photos from the area.
For over two years I have been thinking, talking, writing and dreamt about this. To finally start the next phase of my project, to go down to the actual battlefield and visit the sites and areas where the soldiers in my reasearch are assumed to have been fallen, and where they are commemorated or buried.
Finally the day came, and I decided to start the documentation in the area of Messines Ridge, to visit the places of five Swedish soldiers who fought at the Western Front, and sadly fell there.
Please follow me in my foosteps, it was not the best weather today, but we cant have the power over that, nor could the soldiers. Below an area-picture, that maybe makes it a bit easier to follow the pictures below in a more larger context.
Note: The trench maps below may not be from the correct time or period, but shows the terrain at that time.
5015 Pvt Nils Otto Lundius – 45th Infantry battalion AIF – June 7 1917.
Nils Otto Lundius takes part in an attack that starts on June 7, 1917, from the Stinking Farm location, and then through the defense systems to the east. Nils is killed during the first day’s battles, and is buried in Messines Ridge Cemetery just east of this place.
23149 Corporal Hilding Hedlund – 15th Canadian Infantry battalion – December 23 1915.
Hilding was spending his time in December 1915 at the area around Plogsteert Woods, when his unit 15th Canadian infantry battalion was moving between Kortepyp Huts, the Reserve position near Red Lodge area and the trenches, beleived to be around this position. Hilding was killed in action at 23rd of December 1915.
1216 Pvt Neil Nilsson – 33rd Infantry battalion AIF – June 8th 1917.
Neil Nilsson belonged to D Company who were connecting the different lines with communication lines, and it was probably in this area he was killed June 8th 1917, later buried at Plogsteert Wood, but is now mentioned at Menin Gate Memorial.
3402 Pvt Johan Hallberg – 57th Infantry battalion AIF – March 4 1918
Johan Hallberg’s battalion, the 57th battalion, conducts a number of raids to the east, in which Johan is estimated to be killed in March 4th 1918.
2421 Pvt Peter Conrad Hedberg – 58th Infantry battalion AIF – March 13 1918.
Hedberg is killed while serving in the defense systems East of Messines near Cinema Road trenches, when he is hit by a large splinter that cuts one leg and tears another. Conrad does not have time to be taken care of before he dies, and was buried near a casualty clearing station back in the defense system. Conrad died March 13 1918.
It has been very nice to actually be in the terrain and try to “feel it in”, but of course we will never know the exact situation. Maybe get a feeling from it when listening to recordings from those veterans who survived.
The next day I will spend in the area West of Passchendaele, and that time I will try to follow up 12 Swedish soldiers.
I am still in my fact finding phase regarding Swedish born individuals who fought in the Great War at the Western Front, and also killed and buried there.
Up to this date I am now working with 343 individuals who fall within the criterias mentioned above.
I decided to make some graphic out of the data I have in the database, and have made some diagrams that shows from what county the soldiers were, to, in the longer term, connect this data to data about Swedish emigration, to North America and Canada in particular.
First a graphic diagram that shows which army the Swedish born soldiers fought for. (Updated July 8th, 2021.)
The next diagram shows from which county in Sweden the Swedish born soldiers came from, those who were fighting for Commonwealth, French and German Armies.
Note that the figure 132 are those soldiers that I have confirmed to be born in Sweden, with a picture from the Church book at riksarkivet.se. The others are much likely born i Sweden as well, but I want to be consistent in my research.
Note also that the county of Halland in south west is empty, compared to the graph below. For some strange reason Gotland, the large island to the far East, is empty in all of the graphs, even if I know soldiers from Gotland participated in the War. But I have not anyone from Gotland who fell at the Western Front in my database. Yet.
The data you see in this graphic diagram suits well with facts that says that most of the immigration to Canada from Sweden went on in the 1880s. Mostly from the parts Stockholm and “Norrland”, North land. This to be compared to the data below, who shows the soldiers who fought for the American Expeditionary Forces. Of course this is just one conclusion. There were Swedes who went to US in this time as well, who decided to take a part in the Great War, for the Commonwealth, the Canadian armies, as US not participated yet. I have found a few things in my research that points on that.
The Immigration to US went on from around 1850 to 1910. Almost a million emigrants went to North America in this period. This from an amount of Swedish citizen in Sweden at that time, around 3 500 000 citizens in total.
I have no graph that tells us WHEN the soldiers emigrated, but briefly I can read from the data in my research that many Swedes who fought for the US army in the Great War, went to US around 1907-1914, and from the regions in the south like Västra Götaland, Småland, Kronoberg and Skåne.
As in those days, and still today, most of our population living in the southern part of Sweden, but it is interesting anyway to see that it is in some way connected to the emigration, and I am of course not surprised that it is.
Below you will fin a graphic diagram that shows the total of those 306 confirmed soldiers that I have in my research, of 343 in total.
I havent made any deeper conclusion yet, but the diagrams above shows anyway some interesting facts.
The most common reasons for Swedes to emigrate in these times are connected to climate changes, that caused hard times for the farmers and the Swedish food production, and the in general poor situation in Sweden at that time. Also the offer from US, of free land to the emigrants, meant a lot to this emigration.
I will in also try to draw more facts from my database to be able to do more comparisons in the future, but the main focus will always be the story of the individuals itself, the history of those, connected to the terrain in Sweden, and on the battlefield.
In my research about the Swedish born soldiers who fought and fell at the Western Front I always try to find good sources about the historic situation they might have been in, and one very good source of knowledge about the Great War is the Podcast “Old Frontline”.
The episodes are very good composed by Paul Reed, a military historian, that have a great experience of the battlefields, and he have also, back in the eighties, met several of the old WW1 veterans from that period, and recorded their stories, which, according to me, are great treasures!
On this particular day, 1st of July 2021, the 105th anniversary of the first day of the battle of the Somme, he had made an episode about some of the situations from it, and connects it to the terrain. In this episode there is also recordings from one of the old veterans.
In my own research I am inspired by his work, and I look very much into some of the structures he has in his books about walking the battlefields at the Western Front, and will try, in my little project, make a structure that look likes a bit of his, when I will try to document the faith of the Swedes who fell on the battlefield at the Western Front.
You can follow his work at the web page mentioned above, and also follow him at Twitter through this link.
I wish Paul good luck in the upcoming work, and I appreciate very much the work he does!
I was looking through some archives, as I use to do, and looked for some names that still are Scandinavian, but not so common, and I found the Swedish born soldier David Gerhard Lydell, born April 16th, 1892 in Norra Hestra Parish, Gislaved, Sweden. He was born in an old “Soldattorp” as his father, Josef Lydell, was a soldier in “Jönköpings regemente”, “Mo Härads Kompani 5”.
David left Sweden in 1910 with only $25 in his pocket. He went to France in August 1918, and Died of Decease not even a month after he arrived, age 26.
I decided to try to find the location of this “soldattorp”, in the small village of Flahult, Norra Hestra, and I think I have located it through some old maps from the Swedish Map Service “Lantmäteriet”. This place is only about 50 km from where I live. Below you can see some snippets from the old maps that I have found, and some from map sites at Internet. The area “Cb” in the small map looks exactly like the area in the larger old map.
Next step will be to try to visit these areas to collect information for my upcoming Battlefield Guide, that also will contain information about each individual, about their history connected to Sweden.