Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 2, 1875
Place of BirthNyköping, Södermanland
CountrySweden
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinIda Granath, wife, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingMachinist
ReligionLutheran
Service Details
Regimental Number913037
Service Record Link to the Service Record
Battalion197th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 22, 1916
Age at Enlistment40
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathDecember 15, 1944
Age at Death69
Buried AtForest Lawn Cemetery, Burnaby, British Columbia
PlotLot 147, Grave 5

Granath, Gustaf Alexander

Gustaf Alexander Granath was born on 2 May 1875 in Nyköpings Västra, Södermanland, Sweden. He was the first son of Carl Alexander Olsson and Karin Lundgren, his parents having three more sons and one daughter. The Stockholm archives in 1890 showed he moved to Stockholm from Eskistuna at the age of 15 and was living alone with the last name of Olsson. On 7 July 1891 he moved back to Eskilstuna. On 23 September 1897 he moved back to Stockholm with the last name of Granath and had been in the Swedish Army in Field Artillery where his last name was changed and his Military record number was 39-114-1896. His trade was listed as Blacksmith. On 22 October 1900 the archives showed he was unmarried and was a Metal manufacturing worker, in iron.

On 26 December 1900 Gustaf married Ida Katarina Svensdotter. The archives showed on 21 October 1901 he was living with his wife and son and on 16 July 1902 he moved out of Stockholm to the USA. On 31 July 1902 he arrived in Boston on the ship S.S. Commonwealth. His wife Ida and his first two sons arrived in Canada on 18 July 1903 on the ship Kensington. The family lived in Winnipeg some of the time and in North Bay, Nipissing, Ontario some of the time. They had a total of seven sons and one daughter. One son lived for only three months and died in North Bay. In North Bay, Gustaf worked as a lumberjack. They sometimes lived in Kenora, Ontario where they were living at the time of his attestation.

Canada was supplying lumber to England for WWI, but the German U boats were sinking too many shipments, so in January 1916 a British inquiry asked if Canada could supply expert timbermen to produce lumber in the United Kingdom. On 22 February 1916 Gustaf enlisted with the 197th Battalion (Vikings of Canada) in Winnipeg and his trade was listed a Machinist. On 6 February 1917 he disembarked from the Scandinavian in Liverpool, England to start working as a lumberjack. He was taken on strength with the 11th Reserve Battalion as Acting Corporal. From 7-19 February 1917 Gustaf spent twelve days at Shorncliffe, England before being transferred to the Canadian Forestry Corps at Sunningdale, reverting to the rank of Private.

According to a letter from Gustaf to Ida, by April 1917 Gustaf was only working 1/2 days as a soldier/lumberjack. That October he was transferred to the 53rd District, CFC at Egham and then on to the 54th District at Southampton in September of 1918. While in England, Gustaf met Helen Staveley in London and she became pregnant. On 12 January 1919, Gustaf was on a ship back to Canada. Gustaf was discharged on 28 February 1919.

While Gustaf was back in Canada his English girl friend gave birth to a son on 23 January 1919. Letters from the English woman about the birth of his son reached his wife while Gustaf was trying to get back together with his family. His wife did not want him back and on 10 June 1925 she and their daughter moved back to Sweden. All of the sons moved to the USA to start their lives in the USA. On 26 June 1927 the English woman and their son arrived in Canada on the ship the Empress of France to start living with Gustaf.

On 15 December 1944 Gustaf died in Vancouver, British Columbia at the age of 69. The English woman was listed as his wife on his death certificate, but no record of marriage has been found. Gustaf was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Burnaby, BC.

by Ron Granath

 

 


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