WW1 history around the corner

Once again I was searching through old digitized Swedish-American Newspapers, and stumbled over a small note, who said, in my perspective, interesting facts. I saw the name of my village, where I live today.

The small text informed me about a father who was grieved his lost son, who was a soldier in the 122nd Bayerische Infanterie Regemente, and the father had just received info that his son fell, but it didnt tell any date. You find the small note below, and beneath it I have translated it into english.

I made two pictures, one with the text and one with the text but also including the date from The newspaper, The Texas Post from early January, and I assume his son fell in 1917.

Jönköping. Swedish Iron Cross Knight dead in the war. The 2nd Lt in the 122nd Bavarian Infantry Regiment, Iron Cross Knight B. J. W. Swahn, has according to a message to his father in Smålands Taberg died in a war hospital in Schwaben, 29 years old.”

It is always interesting to find this information in a American Newspaper from Texas, from over 100 years ago. I understand now, from reading a lot of those newspapers, that it was important for the Swedish Emigrants in North America to read about the faith of their countrymen.

I assume that B J W Swahn died in 1917, and he should then be born around 1888. The thing I know is that his father probably also has the surname “Swahn”.

I first search in the archive from Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, and I search for “Swahn”. You can see the result below.

It must be him. 1888 and Jönköping is correct, and also that he died in 1917 is also correct. Now I have date of birth.

I go into the Swedish Archive portal “Arkiv Digital” and search for Wilhelm Swahn, born September 24, 1888. And there he is, with all his family. B. J. W. Swahn becomes Bror Jonas Wilhelm Svahn, born in Jönköping, Sweden, and raised by his mother, with the quite unusual name Aqvilina, Sandberg as Surname, and his father Johan Wilhelm Swahn.

Bror´s father is a military, from Jönköping Regiment, I 12, which later on together with Kalmar Regiment becomes Norra Smålands Regemente I 12, in 1927, my regiment, where I started my career.

Bror does his conscript, probably at the same regiment as his father, but later on becomes a sergeant, today the level of OR7, up North in Sweden, at Norrlands Artillery Regiment, A4, before he goes down south again.

On the map below you can see some of the places where he lived with his family, after has been born in Jönköping city.

You will find, underlined in red, some places that are mentioned in the church books, and also the small place called Sjötorp, with a map from just North-West of the word Taberg on the larger map, and how a house, that is called Sjötorp today, looks like. It can be in the same plot. I live in the area called “Gärdet” on the map.

I don’t find a lot of info from Bror and his history in the German Imperial Army, but I have some facts that says that he went to North America in 1910, but I haven’t found any information about when he went back again. I assume he did.

I have tried to find his regiment, to which Division he belonged, and it is highly likely that he belonged to the 122nd Infantry Regiment from Wurttemberg, in the 243 Infantry Division. There is a small text below from that regiment history, from 1917.

Bror Jonas Wilhelm Swahn is buried in Germany, in Schwaben region, in the cemetery of Kriegsgräberstätte in Schwäbisch Gmünd-Leonhardsfriedhof. May Bror rest in peace, I will remember him.

I will in february 2022 have a lecture in my local community, and I will of course mention him and, so far, three other individuals from the parish, who fought in the Great War, on the American side, but those other three survived. Maybe they met eachother? Who will ever know …

In this case I will not register Bror in my database, as he is not within the criterias, but nevertheless I will think about him and his family when I walk around in the area next time. Imagine, such interesting history, just around the corner.

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