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.

What´s in my Database?

When I do my research of the soldiers that you see on my site, you only see a small part of my data that I have collected. In my large database, where I keep all the facts that I find, I collect following data about my around 100 soldiers that I have in the database for the moment:

Soldier Number
Full Name
Unit – Brigade and Battalion
Date of birth
Verified birthplace – Place of birth in Sweden – Churchbook link
Date of decease
Age when they fell
Status of Personal Page on site
Google Earth positions – where they fell – where they are buried (Virtual Tour link)
Unit diary from the day when they fell
Link to cemetery/monument where they are buried or commemorated
Country where they fell
Region where they fell
Participation of any specific battle
My aim is to get as much data as I can about above mentioned subjects, still some data to find, depending on which Army they served for, and the amount of data there is to find from different archives.

Please feel free to look around in the different links in the menu, and please dont hesitate to ask any questions, or post any comments.

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.

Updated soldiers list

The Soldiers list is now updated with more positions in the Google Earth Project. I will soon continue to develop the soldiers own personal pages. Please come back soon for more info.

Updating Google Earth Project

During this week the google earth project is updated with some more locations of the soldiers in the project. There are still some more to put up there. After that the update of the personal pages will continue.

Verify through church books

I have now almost found the date of birth of every soldier in my research, in the Swedish National Archive “Riksarkivet”. It is very fascinating to do this detective kind of work, to find their real names, and to get it verified that they were born in Sweden, which is one of my cornerstones in my research.

I have also now removed three of the names from my list, because I found out they were born in another country, but had Swedish parents though.

I still have my around 100 names to continue my work with, and I so long for the next opportunity to continue down to Belgium and France to document where they fell and where they are buried or commemorated.

Please feel free to follow my work here on my page, I will keep it updated with the latest facts along the way!

Church books

A very good source to verify the identity of aech soldier is to try to find them in the church books through the National Archive. Sweden has a long tradition to register different occasions in a persons life and now that is a very good thing, when searching for the roots of each soldier. I feel this is just the start in my work to try to widen the perspective of each individual.