Youngest Canadian soldier a Swede?

Reading digitized newspapers from the period of the Great War is so interesting, and this day I stumble over a small article that mention that the soldier who claims to be the youngest enrolled soldier in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces was a Swede with the name of Frank Burstrom. I decided to look this up.

The article says that he just after his 15th birthday left his home in Edmonton, Canada and went to join the Canadian Army.

I easy find his papers from when he registered in the Canadian Army in 1916, and in those papers he claims to be born September 3, 1898, but it also says that he is born in Tromsö, Norway, and other facts points on that.

Some other facts I found in archives says that his father, also named Frank Burström, is Swedish and his mother, Nora, is Norwegian.

I find out that his father is born in Sweden as Frans Bjurström, August 13, 1874, in Norra Råda, Värmland, Sweden, and in the Swedish Church Books I connect the information in the Canadian census file, that he left for North America in 1908.

Franks mother Nora, left a few years after father Frans, and that is also connected to the Canadian census, that mention that she emigrated in 1912. She went over with their sons, Frank was one of them, stated in the papers to be 10 years old, which maybe make it more probable that he was born in 1902, and not in 1898, that he states in the registration papers.

Frank went to England and France in 1917 and was connected to the 77th Artillery battery, and according to the newspaper article he went through the war of a period of 14 months ans a ammunition driver, without any injuries.

His father, Frans, was also over on the Western Front, and he fought for the 197th Regiment. Noth father and son survived, father Frans arriving home in Canada before his son, and I can imagine the joy in the family when all was gathered again.

There is no other evidence than the travel documents that Frank Burström was born in 1902, I havent yet found any data from Norweigian church books, but there is a note in Ancestry Archive that he is born september 3, 1901, but it isn’t confirmed in any way.

Probably the correct date is 1901, if he now claim to just been 15 years when he register for the Army.

So, the article tells us about that a Swede that claims to be the youngest soldier in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces, but it turns out that he is probably born in Norway and raised by a Swedish father, and a Norweigian mother, and maybe the date September 3, 1902 is correct, many things points on that.

From a Scandinavian perspective it is an interesting piece of history.

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