During this week I am looking through some names that I haven’t been able to confirm in the Swedish Church books, to actually be those individuals they say they are.
Swedish born soldier Charles Anderson is one of them. If I go back to my created “ww1 Swedish names convention” it can be a Karl Andersson. But both Karl, Carl and the surname Andersson is one of the most common names in Sweden, even back at those times. I decided to try to find more information about him.
This is what I know about our Charles Anderson so far. He claim to be born in Helsingborg in Sweden in December 29, 1888. In his Canadian registration forms he doesn’t mention any Next of Kin from his family, only a friend named Pete Mcdonald. Further down in his papers he is writing his Military Will to a Miss Lydia Smith, Hastings street West No 5, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. There is no information about the relation between Charles And Lydia.
The only thing I can use in this case is the Place of Birth (PoB) as he says is Helsingborg, and also his Date of Birth (DoB). I have found one individual born in Helsingborg, with the correct DoB, in Helsingborg, with the name Charles, and also has some similar notes in the church book, which I so often find on other soldiers that I have in my database.
He is a sailor, as many Swedish born soldiers were, before they went over to their new home countries and became soldiers to fight in the Great War. There is also some notes about that he is absent. He is also removed from the files in Helsingborgs Naval Corps, due to his absence.
His name is Charles Otto Waldemar Jörgenson. Right now it is only one of his names, Charles, DoB and PoB that matches this Charles Anderson. I have tried to find more information about this Charles Otto Waldemar, but it has been difficult. Maybe he finally stopped in Canada and decided to become a citizen after all his travels around the world? We will probably never know. One more document that may indicate that this is Charles Anderson is the registration of his death. In the Swedish Church books he is finally declared dead in 1943, which can explain that his relatives never received any information about his death, as they were not mentioned as Next of Kin.
Even if Charles Anderson is Charles Otto Waldemar or not, I have looked into his military service. Charles served as a soldier in 2nd Canadian Tunneling Coy, as I understand also was a part of 2nd canadian Division. The unit were formed in Alberta and British Columbia and this Company moved to France and into the Ypres sector for instruction. Shortly afterwards, in April 1916, relieved 172nd Company between Tor Top, Armagh Wood and St Eloi. (link)
When reading the diary from the date of Charles Anderson death, which is March 10, 1918, it is mentioned that one O.R (Other Ranks) is killed that day, and that person is according to the diary buried in Wieltje, Nort-East of Ieper, Belgium. Charles is buried at Wieltje at Oxford Road Cemetery. Charles can be the O.R that is mentioned in the diary. In the diary it is also mentioned some places where the unit worked those actual days. Those places are named “Bremen” and “Jackdaw”.
If I search for those places in some trench maps I find “Bremen Redoubt” a bit East of Wieltje, which could mean that they moved to that area and worked. This must be just before the German Spring Offensive which starts March 21. The other place, “Jackdaw” is connected to several places, mainly in the Zillebeke area. Below you can see some snippets from some trench maps, but not from the exact period in 1918. You can also see a map showing the area which the Germans took back in the Spring Offensive, marked with red lines, and also a red marked area which explains the area of the other trench maps.
I really hope I can find more information about this Charles Anderson, if he is connected to Charles Otto Waldemar or not, future will tell. The work in the tunnels must have been very stressful, especially during those countermeasures against German tunnel diggers. They performed a very dangerous work.
As mentioned above, Charles Anderson is buried at Oxford Road Cemetery. He was granted leave and returned to his duty February 11th, 1918, and one month later he was killed by shrapnel. I will visit him later on this summer, to take photos of the area where he worked and where he is buried. May Charles rest in peace.