The mystery on the Western Front

Published: 8 March 2024

By Jocke Hallberg
via the Swedes At The Western Front website

Bernt Arvid Johansson and his book

Bernt Arvid Johansson and his book about his experiences as a Doughboy in World War I.

One of the main reasons for working with my research is the connection to the individuals I discover through my intense work trying to find as much facts as possible to be able to tell their amazing stories, as soldiers on the Western Front in the Great War.

When having my talks I try to transfer the feelings I feel, to the audience, and most of the time the audience feels and understand what I am trying to tell, both the stories about the individuals and also the connection between the soldiers locations back in Sweden, to their final resting place in Belgium and France.

For about a week ago one of the guests to my guided tour in 2023, who also had heard me talking about my research a couple of times, contacted me about a book find. He wanted me to have it and asked me if he could send it to me as a gift.

That made me very happy of course. It turned out to be a story written by a Swedish born soldier, who fought in the great war, and kept the stories from his experiences in a diary, which the book is based on. An amazing piece of information, printed in 1959.

The book “Tillbaka hem”, “Back home”, written by the soldier in the 130th Infantry regiment USNG, 33rd Division, American Expeditionary Forces, who fought on the Western Front from August to November 1918.

But there is a mystery inside, that I haven’t been able to sort out yet. The story about his best friend, Dan, who fought and fell in a very tragic way, November 10th, 1918.

Please follow me in the story of Private 1/cl Bernt A Johnson (Bernt Arvid Johansson) and the great loss of his friend Dan.

Bernt Arvid was born in Västra Torsås parish, Kronoberg county, Sweden, March 2nd 1891. He was raised by his parents Kristina Jonsdotter and Johan Eriksson in Öveshult, Lönashult, Småland. Bernt had 6 siblings.

In the book he writes that he was 18 years old when he left Sweden and emigrated to North America in 1913, but as I will experience later on when I read the book, I think he struggled a bit with remembering his stories a bit differently to what they actually were.

Bernt Arvid was born in 1891 and left Sweden already in 1911, according to Swedish church books, which means he was around 20 year old when he arrived Ellis Island in New York together with his four friends. They split up and he is left all alone in New York, no money or nowhere to live.

In this situation he randomly passes one special place for the Swedish Immigrants, The Svea Hotel, and it was in this situation he met his friend and later on soldier in the same unit, Dan. Dan invited him for free, and from there Bernt found a way how to continue his life in the great country in the West. I haven’t yet found any information about this Swedish Immigrant safe haven.

Read the entire article on the Swedes At The Western Front website here:

External Web Site Notice: This page contains information directly presented from an external source. The terms and conditions of this page may not be the same as those of this website. Click here to read the full disclaimer notice for external web sites. Thank you.


Share this article

Related posts