The People

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These are the stories of Kenora participants in the First World War.

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  • Olson, August Valfrid Oskar Image
  • Olson, August Valfrid Oskar

  • August Valfrid Oskar Olsson was born on 12 October 1895 in Westland, Skon, Vasternorrland, Sweden (spelling of name on birth registration; as many Swedish immigrants did, August gave Sundsvall as his birth place as it was the nearest city to his village of birth). His father, August Olsson was from Klintsjon, Nysatra, Vasterbotten but had come south to Skons in search of work. On 22 January 1888 he married Stina Cajsa (Karin) Norlander in Filland, Skon, Vasternorrland.

    August’s father August and uncle Anders Olson left Sweden in 1902 for Canada, lured by the promise of good farmland. They ended up near Eriksdale, Manitoba and his mother, August, and his siblings left Sweden in late August 1904, sailing from Liverpool aboard the Tunisian for Canada to join them. August’s siblings were Olga Ester, Erik Oskar Hjalmer, Anny Katarina, Einer Gottrid, Bror Petra “Patrick”, Andrew Olger Eugene, and Ernest Gustaf, the only child born after immigration. Travelling by oxcart from Winnipeg to Eriksdale, the family lived in a tent while a home was built by August senior and the older boys in the family. Life was very difficult on the homestead as the land had to be cleared of the many rocks before any planting could begin and a well dug. Most of the children eventually left the homestead with only Hjalmer staying and John farming in nearby Lundar.

    August signed his recruitment papers in Winnipeg on 4 June 1918. With the B Company of the 260th Battalion Canadian Rifles he was sent to Willow Camp for training in Victoria, British Columbia. While there he became ill with influenza, spending 15 days in the camp hospital from 28 October to 11 November 1918. He embarked from Vancouver aboard the Protesilaus on 26 December 1918, arriving in Siberia 15 January 1919. On 10 February 1919 he was admitted to the #11 Stationary Hospital In Vladivostok for tonsillitis and was later discharged on the 2nd of March. He embarked from Siberia on 21 April 1919 and was officially discharge on the 12th of  May in Winnipeg.

    After the war August married Christina Bystrom Sundberg on 4 November 1921 in Winnipeg. Christina was the daughter of Anders Bystrom and Emma Sjogren, also Swedish immigrants to the area. The couple followed August’s sister Ester Lawliss and brother Andrew to the Kenora/Keewatin area where he found work at the Lake of the Woods Milling Company. Unfortunately the flour raised havoc with his asthma and eventually he had to leave the mill. During WW2 he worked for Trans Canada Airlines in Winnipeg and after the war returned to Keewatin to work as a carpenter for Thorpes. August and Christina had three children: Ervin, Myrtle, and Irene. August was a lifetime member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 13, Keewatin.

    Predeceased by Christina in 1972, August died after a short illness on 27 April 1985. At the time of his death August had seven grandchildren and four great grandsons. He is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

    by Judy Stockham

    photos: courtesy of the family
    obituary: Kenora Miner and News 30 April 1984

    Olson family at Eriksdale circa 1923

    Olson family at Eriksdale circa 1923

    August in later years

    August in later years

    KMN

    KMN

    Lake of the Woods Cemetery

    Lake of the Woods Cemetery

  • Regimental Number:
  • 3347018
  • Service Record:
  • Link to Service Record
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Battalion:
  • 260th Battalion
  • Place of Birth:
  • Westland, Skon, Vasternorrland
  • Country:
  • Sweden
  • Next of Kin:
  • Mr. August Olson, father, Eriksdale, Manitoba
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Eriksdale, Manitoba
  • Date of Birth:
  • October 12, 1895
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Farmer
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • June 4, 1918
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 22
  • Religion:
  • Lutheran
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Conscripted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Siberia
  • Date of Death:
  • April 27, 1984
  • Age at Death:
  • 88
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 40E-13-1
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • August Valfrid Oskar Olsson was born on 12 October 1895 in Westland, Skon, Vasternorrland, Sweden (spelling of name on birth registration; as many Swedish immigrants did, August gave Sundsvall as his birth place as it was the nearest city to his village of birth). His father, August Olsson was from Klintsjon, Nysatra, Vasterbotten but had come south to Skons in search of work. On 22 January 1888 he married Stina Cajsa (Karin) Norlander in Filland, Skon, Vasternorrland.

    August’s father August and uncle Anders Olson left Sweden in 1902 for Canada, lured by the promise of good farmland. They ended up near Eriksdale, Manitoba and his mother, August, and his siblings left Sweden in late August 1904, sailing from Liverpool aboard the Tunisian for Canada to join them. August’s siblings were Olga Ester, Erik Oskar Hjalmer, Anny Katarina, Einer Gottrid, Bror Petra “Patrick”, Andrew Olger Eugene, and Ernest Gustaf, the only child born after immigration. Travelling by oxcart from Winnipeg to Eriksdale, the family lived in a tent while a home was built by August senior and the older boys in the family. Life was very difficult on the homestead as the land had to be cleared of the many rocks before any planting could begin and a well dug. Most of the children eventually left the homestead with only Hjalmer staying and John farming in nearby Lundar.

    August signed his recruitment papers in Winnipeg on 4 June 1918. With the B Company of the 260th Battalion Canadian Rifles he was sent to Willow Camp for training in Victoria, British Columbia. While there he became ill with influenza, spending 15 days in the camp hospital from 28 October to 11 November 1918. He embarked from Vancouver aboard the Protesilaus on 26 December 1918, arriving in Siberia 15 January 1919. On 10 February 1919 he was admitted to the #11 Stationary Hospital In Vladivostok for tonsillitis and was later discharged on the 2nd of March. He embarked from Siberia on 21 April 1919 and was officially discharge on the 12th of  May in Winnipeg.

    After the war August married Christina Bystrom Sundberg on 4 November 1921 in Winnipeg. Christina was the daughter of Anders Bystrom and Emma Sjogren, also Swedish immigrants to the area. The couple followed August’s sister Ester Lawliss and brother Andrew to the Kenora/Keewatin area where he found work at the Lake of the Woods Milling Company. Unfortunately the flour raised havoc with his asthma and eventually he had to leave the mill. During WW2 he worked for Trans Canada Airlines in Winnipeg and after the war returned to Keewatin to work as a carpenter for Thorpes. August and Christina had three children: Ervin, Myrtle, and Irene. August was a lifetime member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 13, Keewatin.

    Predeceased by Christina in 1972, August died after a short illness on 27 April 1985. At the time of his death August had seven grandchildren and four great grandsons. He is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

    by Judy Stockham

    photos: courtesy of the family
    obituary: Kenora Miner and News 30 April 1984

    Olson family at Eriksdale circa 1923

    Olson family at Eriksdale circa 1923

    August in later years

    August in later years

    KMN

    KMN

    Lake of the Woods Cemetery

    Lake of the Woods Cemetery

  • « Return to all stories
  • Olson, August Valfrid Oskar Image
  • Regimental Number:
  • 3347018
  • Force:
  • Army
  • Battalion:
  • 260th Battalion
  • Place of Birth:
  • Westland, Skon, Vasternorrland
  • Next of Kin:
  • Mr. August Olson, father, Eriksdale, Manitoba
  • Date of Birth:
  • October 12, 1895
  • Survived War:
  • Yes
  • Branch:
  • Canadian Infantry
  • Country:
  • Sweden
  • Address at Enlistment:
  • Eriksdale, Manitoba
  • Trade or Calling:
  • Farmer
  • Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Place of Enlistment:
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Date of Enlistment:
  • June 4, 1918
  • Age at Enlistment:
  • 22
  • Religion:
  • Lutheran
  • Enlisted or Conscripted:
  • Conscripted
  • Saw Service In:
  • Siberia
  • Date of Death:
  • April 27, 1984
  • Age at Death:
  • 88
  • Buried at:
  • Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario
  • Plot:
  • 40E-13-1
  • Prisoner of War:
  • No
  • Olson, August Valfrid Oskar

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