Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 4, 1888
Place of BirthBellvik, Dorotea, Västerbotten
CountrySweden
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinSigrid Bergstrom, mother, Strandquist, Minnesota, USA
Trade / CallingMining
ReligionRoman Catholic
Service Details
Regimental Number409671
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion13th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentNiagara Camp, Ontario
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentAugust 18, 1915
Age at Enlistment27
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathNovember 21, 1922
Age at Death34
Buried AtMission Covenant Cemetery, Strandquist, Minnesota, USA

Bergstrom, Arthur

Olof Artur (Arthur) Bergström was born on 4 April 1888 in Bellvik in the parish of Dorotea in Västerbotten in northern Sweden. His parents Olof Johan (Ole) Bergström and Sigrid Mathilda Г–stlund were both from Dorotea, marrying on 5 July 1885. Arthur had an older brother Johan Alfred (John) (1886) and younger siblings Hilma Mathilda (1891), Ingvid Amandus (1893), and Sara Katarina (1895). Ole and the two older boys, John and Arthur, immigrated to Canada first, leaving the parish on 26 June 1896 and arriving in Canada aboard the Mongolian on 8 August. Although the passenger list indicated that they were on their way to Winnipeg, they settled in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario where Ole found work as a miner. Sigrid and the remaining children left Dorotea on 7 July 1903, arriving in Canada on the Mayflower on 10 August, on their way to Rat Portage.

With the abundance of farm land, Northern Minnesota attracted a lot of recent Swedish immigrants. Although it appears that Ole maintained a residence in Rat Portage/Kenora, most of the family was also to farm in the area of Strandquist in northern Minnesota. The 1905 US census found Sigrid and children Arthur, Ingvid, Sara, and newcomer to the family, baby Anna, living in Strandquist. For the 1910 census Ole was back with the family, with household members listed as Ole, Sigrid, and children Arthur, Sara, Anna, and another new addition to the family, Lillie. Hilma was living with a nearby family, working as a domestic. It appears that John stayed in Canada, settling in the area of Margo in Saskatchewan along with a number of recent Swedish immigrants. That July Ole crossed back into Canada at Emerson, on his way to Kenora. Sadly, ill for some time, he died on 6 December 1910 and is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. A death notice in the Kenora Miner and News indicated that his wife had found him dead in bed in their house on Hennepin Lane, with Arthur given as next of kin on his death record.

Living in Kenora, with his trade/calling given as mining and his mother Sigrid in Strandquist as next of kin, Arthur signed his attestation papers on 18 August 1915 at Niagara Camp, Ontario. As a Private with the 37th Battalion, Arthur embarked from Halifax aboard the Lapland on 27 November 1915. Once in England he was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion at Shorncliffe and then on to the 13th Battalion in March of 1916, joining the unit in the field on the 16th. That August Arthur was admitted to the No 3 Canadian Field Ambulance with tonsillitis and then to the No 6 Canadian Field Ambulance that September with an infected blister on one foot.

First admitted to the No 3 Canadian Field Ambulance on 24 November 1916, Arthur was admitted to the No 6 Casualty Clearing Station on the 27th, dangerously wounded at Vimy Ridge. On the 24th he had sustained gunshot/multiple shrapnel wounds to the face. A foreign body struck his left nostril and passed through his nose to his right cheek, exiting through the right temporal bone. It caused a compound fracture to the nasal bones, fracture of his upper jaw, and knocked out thirteen teeth. On 12 December he was transferred to the No 10 General Hospital in Camiers and then on to the Military Hospital in Edmonton ten days later. In early January Arthur was admitted to the London War Hospital, discharged in early March to the Military Convalescent Hospital Woodcote Park, Epsom. Arthur underwent surgery in France as well as in England. He was invalided to Canada aboard the Scandinavian in June of 1917, arriving in Quebec on the 23rd. A Kenora newspaper spoke of his return in an article dated June 30th. In Winnipeg Arthur underwent another four surgeries and was fitted with a plate of false teeth. Disfigured, eating continued to be difficult for him, requiring a soft diet. Arthur was discharged from the Manitoba Military Convalescent Hospital Tuxedo Park on 7 June 1918, assigned to the 10th Canadian Garrison Regiment. He was discharged from service on 14 January 1919 in Winnipeg, character and conduct described as very good and intended residence given as Strandquist.

The 1920 US census found Sigrid, Ingvid, Arthur, Sara, Anna, and Lillie farming in the Strandquist area. Sadly Ingvid died on 19 May 1921 followed by Arthur on 21 November 1922. The brothers are interred in the Mission Covenant Cemetery on the outskirts of Strandquist. The next year Sigrid and Lillie moved to Kinistino in Saskatchewan where Sigrid’s brother John Г–stlund was farming. In 1927, in Kinistino, she received Arthur’s medals and decoration, plaque and scroll, and a Memorial Cross, Arthur’s death deemed due to his service. Sigrid died on 12 May 1951 and is interred in the Kinistino Cemetery. It appears that his sister Anna married Ollie Nelson, sister Lillie married John Nordin and died in 1942 in Snowden, Saskatchewan, and sister Sara married William Wikstrom and died in 1987 near Strandquist. A Hilma Bergström, likely his sister, died in 1986 in Grand Marais, Minnesota. Arthur’s brother John enlisted in Winnipeg in 1916 and served with the Canadian Forestry Corps in the UK. Farming in the Margo, Saskatchewan area, John retired to Vancouver where he died in 1961. He is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in North Burnaby.

By Judy Stockham

gravemarker photo: courtesy of ShaneO on findagrave.com


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