2020 didn’t stick to the plans at all, when it came to travels to the battlefields of the Great War. Those trips are a vital part in my project to commemorate those Swedish born soldiers who fell at the Western Front.
Let’s hope it will be possible to travel again during summer and autumn in 2021, and I wish you all a Happy New Year!
I have just started a small YouTube channel where I will describe my work in the way of small clips, which will describe the reason of my research in general, but I will also go in a bit deeper into some specific subjects, and when I think some things that I work with can be interesting.
If you want to follow my work, you can click on the link in the menu to the right. Expect normally some kind of weekly update.
Right now you can follow my Google Project page through the main menu “Virtual Tour” in order to see the location of the soldiers I have in my database. You can see the location where they are assumed to have fallen, when that position is known, and where they are buried or commemorated.
In addition to this I have now started up another project, where I will put those Swedes who fought for the American Expeditionary Forces, AEF, in WW1 at the Western Front.
I will put up a link to that project when the database is more developed and put the link under “Virtual Tour” in the main menu. Stay tuned.
The research that I do is mostly about those Swedes who fought for the Commonwealth in one or another way. One reason is that the databases and archives with facts about these are quite rich, and it is easy to connect the information to the Swedish databases and the Swedish archives. That makes this job quite interesting and quite easy.
But now and then I cant stop thinking about those Swedes who fought on the other side at the Western Front. At the German side.
I do this by looking at the normal archives, and I want to find those who fought and fell at the Western Front, not only those who participated. But that turns out to be a much harder task.
I know from earlier, that it is hard to search for information in The databases at Volksbund. I just want to try to find a method in how to start my search. I know that great parts of the German archives sadly were destroyed in the Second World War.
I started at Ancestry archives, and reached some information, and then tried to find out their faith in the list of the German Casualties, and then tried to find out if they fell, or became injured and made their way back to Germany again.
I tried to find where in Sweden they were born, and I made some connections. Here are some info that I found.
But when it comes to my aim in my project, to find the Swedish born individuals and connect them to the units they fought for, and where they fell at the Western Front, I feel now that it will be quite hard to do this when it comes to the German soldiers.
They are, as I can see now, mostly born by parents who are not born in Sweden, which is one of my criterias. I will continue to try find more information about those Swedish officers that decided to support the German side in the war at the Western Front, even if they were quite few.
My main focus will still be those Swedes who fought for the Commonwealth, mainly because that it is quite easy to find information, and will be more easy to connect them to the main goal I have with my research. But it is also very important not to forget the effort the soldiers did at the German side, and I will do my best to commemorate those I have in my database, no matter what side they fought on.
They were individuals, with families who worried about their sons or brothers, and they deserve my fully respect, and I so hope I will be able to do that in my projects, that later on will turn out in a book or two.
… and so much information that I want to find about Swedes who emigrated to North America, especially when they did it in their youth, and then joined an army in another country. Were they obliged to it? Did they do it because of their own beliefs and ideals?
Here is one of those Swedes I want to know more about. Alfred Theodor Hermansson, from Håsjö, Bräcke community, in Jämtland, Sweden. His father was a ranger at the Jemtland Ranger Corps. Alfred emigrated to Canada at the age of 18, together with his family, and according to some facts he belonged to the canadian army, and spent some time at the canadian training camp, Camp Sewell, later renamed to Camp Hughes. The note states he was 30 years old at this time, but I assume he joined the Canadian army earlier than that.
He went back to Europe again, belonging to the 15th battalion in the beginning, and was then transferred to the 28 Canadian infantry battalion, when they arrived to Liverpool in England, before he continued to France.
He became subject for some medical issues during his time in the field, but always came back to his unit. He got the Good Conduct Badge 6th of March 1918, and must have been proud of that. You can read more about the good conduct badge here.
At the 11th of october he went out on a scout mission, but he never came back from the mission. He was killed in action the same day during fights near the village of Iwuy., when his battalion pushed eastwards against the German Army.
Alfred is buried at the Niagara Cemetery in region Nord in France, and he can be sure of that I will visit him as soon it will be possible. May you rest in peace Alfred, we are grateful for your effort, and you will always be remembered.
I will put Alfred in my Virtual Map Project in near future, and through the link “Virtual Tour” in the main menu you can follow all my soldiers on the Google Earth Map.
Sometimes when I do my research, and want to verify that the soldiers I have found, really are born in Sweden. Then I sometimes have to combine a lot of sources, to stumble over some new leads, and finally get the right facts.
This was the case with Lance Corporal John Nelson, or Jöns Nilsson as his name was when he was born. It was not easy to find out that Gustav perish, Malmöhus county, stated in some documents from The Swedish church in USA, actually today is called Börringe Perish.
So, after all, I found you Jöns! May you rest in peace.