|Date of Birth||August 20, 1891|
|Place of Birth||Rat Portage (Kenora), Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Locomotive Fireman|
|Battalion||59th Infantry Regiment|
|Force||American Expeditionary Forces|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||May 14, 1914|
|Age at Enlistment||22|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Date of Death||April 20, 1962|
|Age at Death||70|
|Buried At||Washington Veterans' Home Cemetery, Retsil, Washington|
Charles Edward Norberg was born on 20 August 1891 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario. His father Charles Eric Norberg was from Sweden while his mother Marguerite Jensen was from Denmark, the couple marrying in Rat Portage. At the time of the marriage Charles Sr’s occupation was given as fireman, later given as fitter in the 1901 census. Other children born to the family in Rat Portage were Victor Albert (1894), Stanley Robert (1900), and Clarence Frederick (1903). In the spring of 1910 the family relocated to Seattle, Washington where Charles Sr found work as a railroad machinist and Charles Jr eventually as a locomotive engineer.
Charles enlisted with the National Guard in Seattle on 14 May 1914, serving with the 2nd Infantry Regiment, Company D until discharged in October of 1916. He reenlisted on 26 March 1917, occupation given as locomotive fireman. He was described as standing 5 feet 8 inches tall with blue eyes and brown hair. In the fall of 1917 the 2nd Infantry Regiment was consolidated with elements of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, District of Columbia National Guard to form the 161st Infantry Regiment. Charles was assigned to Company D and was promoted to Sergeant on 21 April 1917. The 161st Infantry embarked from Hoboken, New Jersey on 13 December 1917 aboard the President Lincoln to provide replacements for other units. The passenger list noted Charles’ father in Seattle as next of kin. Charles transferred to the 59th Infantry Regiment, Company E and was promoted to 1st Class Sergeant on 20 June 1918. The 59th was involved in the action at Aisne-Marne, St Mihiel, Lorraine 1918, and Champagne 1918. Charles embarked from Brest, France aboard the Great Northern on 21 February 1919, arriving in Hoboken, New Jersey on 3 March. He was honourably discharged from service on 3 April 1919 on demobilization.
Charles’ brother Victor signed a WW1 Draft card, having previously served with the Washington Guard. He served with the 2nd Washington Infantry Regiment during the war.
After the war Charles returned to Seattle, found lodging at a hotel on 3rd Avenue and working as a locomotive fireman for the 1920 census. On 11 June 1924 in Everett, Washington, Charles married Rose Simpson. Born in 1898 in Monikie, Angus, Scotland, Rose was the eldest child of gardener Charles and Annie (née Alexander) Simpson. Along with her parents and siblings, Rose had immigrated to Canada in 1909, arriving aboard the Pretorian on the 29th of November, destination given as Victoria, British Columbia. Rose had immigrated to the States in February of 1923. Charles and Rose lived in Seattle for a couple of years, then Spokane, and then back to Seattle by the time of the 1930 census. Charles worked as a mechanic for an adding machine and/or typewriter company while Rose was a telephone operator. It appears that the couple separated in 1931, with Rose later marrying Earl Stanley in 1936.
After the separation Charles lived in Walla Walla (1935) for a while before returning to Seattle by the time of the 1940 census. In 1942 he signed his US WW2 Draft registration in Seattle, described as 5 foot 7 inches tall, with blue eyes and brown hair. At the time he was working for the US Government in the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton and contact was given as Eddie Marrifield. Having worked as a both a driller and painter for the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Charles retired in 1954.
On 30 September 1955, in Seattle, Charles married Edna Jane (Monroe) Gallacher. Born in 1879, Edna was the daughter of Edward and Olivia (née Barrington) Munroe. Edna had previously been married to Charles Merrifield who died in 1915, and then married Charles Chester Gallacher in 1922 who later died in 1950. Predeceased by his parents, brother Clarence (1935), and brother Victor (1956), Charles died on 20 April 1962 in the Washington Veterans Home in Retsil, Washington. Edna was later admitted to the home and died on 15 February 1966. Charles and Edna are interred in the Washington Veterans’ Home Cemetery in Retsil.
by Judy Stockham
US Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists: The National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland
US WW2 Draft Registration Card: National Archives at St Louis
gravemarker photos courtesy of Margie & Bob on findagrave.com
obituaries: Washington State Digital Archives
US Headstone Applications for Military Veterans: National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC