Three Swedes in Battle of Pozieres

Three Swedes from three different places in Sweden end up at the same place on the Western Front in July-August 1916. All three fall in the battles.

John Anderson from Stockholm was born in 1872 probably as the person Johan Axel Erik Wilhelm Andersson by the factory worker Anna Andersson. For some unknown reason, John ends up by his foster parents in Australia and then signs for the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) in August 1915.

Ernest (Ernst) Fogelström was born in Gothenburg in 1887 in Karl Johan’s parish and grew up with his father Oscar Fogelström on Karl Johansgatan 43 in Gothenburg. He applied for Australian citizenship in 1913 and then signed for AIF in April 1915.

Egbert Swansson (Swensson) was born on Öland in 1877 in Vickleby parish and grew up with Nils Gustaf and Sofia Swensson. As a sailor he went to Australia and signed up for AIF in August 1915.

These three individuals fight in the Battle of Pozieres, Somme, France, which takes place July 23 to September 3, 1916, where Fogelström falls in the battles on July 26th, Anderson falls on August 15th and Swansson falls the day after August 16th, 1916.

These three fight for three different units, the 3rd, 13th and 20th Infantry Battalions. These three are not found after the battles or are buried in places that are then destroyed during upcoming battles and therefore have no grave of their own.

These three Swedes are now named on the walls of the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial in France. Maybe they knew about each other, we will never know. May they rest in peace.

Captain Richard Scott Carrick ‘M.C’

In my research for Swedish born soldiers who fell at the Western Front in The Great War, I sometimes come across individuals with some remarkable history, and in this case with Swedish connections. In this case though, he survived.

Richard Scott Carrick was born in Gothenburg, Sweden October 11th 1878. His UK born father Robert Carrick was working in Sweden at that time, and he was later on settled in Gävle, Sweden.

Right now I don’t have any information about when he emigrated to Australia, but he joined the Australian Imperial Forces in 1915, at an age around 37, and it is also stated in his application that he has served in the UK for Nothhumberland Fusiliers in 3 months, and then was discharged by his own will. He probably went to Australia after that. Later on he went to Europe, via Alexandria in Egypt, to participate in the The Great War and ended up in the war theatre in France in June 1916 as a 2/lt and the bacame Lt in the field in July 1916.

In September 22nd 1916 he became injured from a Gun Shot Wound and was evacuated. He reported himself back for duty in March 24th 1917, and then served with 4th Field Engineers. He was temporarliy promoted to Captain in field May 2nd 1917, but later in June there is a note about that he has relinguished that temporary promotion to Captain.But in July 18th 1917 he becomes promoted to Captain again.

But before this period the diary states an remarkable note. In April 7th 1918 he is specially mentioned in Gen. Haig Despatch probably because of his acting in the field and in the fightings.

His father must have been mighty proud of his son at this point.

Later in 1917 Richard is fighting with his unit in the area of Corbie, France, during the battle of Hamel, and in July 4th 1918, he manage to do some remarkable actions in the field and for that he is later on awarded the Military Cross. In the picture below you can see the withdrawal from the diary at that point, and also specified in a specific letter.

The interesting part of this specific battle, Battle of Le Hamel, was that the AIF was cooperating with the forces of the American Expeditionary Forces, AEF, and the battle was fought with combined arms in a trench warfare situation.

In August 9th 1918 Robert Scott Carrick is awarded the Military Cross for his actions of 4th of July 1918. And he is also awarded two oak leaves to put on his Military Cross to show that he was mentioned in the Despatch of Gen. Haig April 7th 1918.

He survives the war and Richard is later on granted a leave to Sweden to be able to visit his relatives and he stays in Sweden for about six months, between 2nd of February to 2nd of August 1919. He goes back to Australia not later than 3rd of August 1919.

The archives then states that he emigrates to United States from Australia in 1925, and then emigrates to Canada in 1927, but he yet again applies for American Citizenship in 1931, and are later settled down in California, and he dies at an age of 93, and he is buried at the Hanford Cemetery, Kings County, California.

Imagine what an experience, to travel around the world in these times, performing in The Great War, be mentioned by Gen. Haig in a specific Despatch, and the awarded The Military Cross.

To read about this is one of the reasons that I am so interested in to follow up individuals with connection to Sweden that has participated in The Great War, even if this person didnt fell at the Western Front.

Soldiers from the same region

Smålanders on the Battlefield during the First World War, on the Western Front. Did their paths cross during the war?

We will never know, but what I know right now is that Lieutenant Willy Höglund belonging to Småland’s Hussars, fought with German Royal Infantry Rgt No 347 during 1917-1918 in the area around Roisel in France. Willy dies from his shrapnel wounds July 1, 1918, after have been wounded 16th of June same year. Willy is buried in the Montcornet region, France

Corporal Otto Mauritz Wilhelm Armfelt, born in Hunnerstad, Höreda parish, Eksjö, Sweden, served at the same regiment, Smålands Husarregemente (Småland’s Hussars) in 1916, and went to Canada in 1917, and then served in France with 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles and tragically fell 5 days before the armistice on 6 November 1918, together with his comrade Olof Lundmark from Lögdeå, Nordmaling, Sweden.

On the battlefield, not far from the area where Willy Höglund falls, William Lovegrove Champernowne, born in Nässjö, Småland, Sweden, also fights for the 2nd Australian Infantry Battalion, but he is killed in action later than Höglund, on 18 September 1918.

Three “Smålanders” with completely different fates in completely different armies, dedicate their lives to their units, in the First World War, and fall on the Western Front.
I honor them through this post, and attach some pictures, excerpts from church books and from my own compilations. May they rest in peace.

Swedes in US Army at the Western Front

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.

Swedes on the German side

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.

The future will tell.

So many questions …

… 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.

Long shot

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.

Close but no cigar …

… The work with trying to find all the small pieces in every individial puzzle is not so easy as it look sometimes. You think you are close to some information just to close the gap for a moment, but then you cant find the last information you need to make the initial picture clear enough. Then it is time to try to ask the outer world for some tips, but that can also take some time.

One thing that is good with this work is that you learn a lot of how to find information, and you are also getting better and better to try other ways of finding data.

But the most interesting thing is that you are getting thoughts in your head that opens up other perspectives on things that you bring up in your research. This job will never end, it is so interesting, and will keep me busy for years and years to come.