Westminster Regiment

Ivar Eskil Lindström belonged to Westminster Regiment (motor) according to this link.

$_12

Off to England …
‘In early 1940 the Westminster Regiment converted from a machine gun unit into a motorized regiment designed to provide infantry support to armoured regiments. After almost two complete years of training in places all across Canada, the Westminster Regiment sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia to arrive in the Talvera Barracks of England on November 13, 1941.

… and then to Italy
The training in England was very intense as it was conducted in blackout conditions with no road signs to guide the troops as they maneuvered around England. In September 1943, under conditions of great secrecy, the ”Westies” embarked on ships that they were told were sailing for Ireland. The reality, as indicated by the mosquito nets, was that the Regiment was going to Italy.’

www.missionmuseum.com

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Carefully Registered

The Canadian army has registered Ivar Eskil as ‘son of Lars John Alfred and Nanny Elina Lindstrom of Donalda, Alberta, Canada. Brother of Ranger (Ragnar), Uno, Jerald (Gerhard?), Leonard, Enga (Inga) and Thora.’

The siblings left in Sweden are not named and some names does not match the names specified as their first names in the book about Stensele Municipality where the family originally comes from.

Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of Ivar Eskil, just one of the family in Canada.

john-nanny

To the left is Ivar Eskils parents, John and Nanny. The boy to the very right is his brother Leonard who died in a strange place called Uranium City in 1977. The picture below is from the book Donalda Root’s and Branches. A kind librarian in Donalda has photocopied it for me.

image1

Private Lindström Was Not Hard to Find

It was a cousin of mine who found out that one of our grandmother’s brothers, Ivar Eskil Lindstrom, died in World War II where he was a soldier in the Canadian Army. She just googled his name – and there he was!

Private Lindstrom’s young life ended in connection with a military offensive called “Melfa River Crossing” on 24 May 1944. He was born in Stensele in Västerbotten in the north of Sweden the 8th May 1916. He was 11 years old when the family emigrated to Donalda in Canada.

Ivar Eskil enlisted in Edmonton in December 1942 when he was 26 years old. Over 40 per cent of all Canadian males of military age participated in the war. Maybe they were attracted by messages like this:

krigsbild

Ivar Eskil belonged to a Canadian regiment, Westminster Regiment (now the Royal Westminster Regiment). His tomb – a real stone – is in the Cassino War Cemetery which is located approx 140 kilometers south of Rome.

Many lost their lives
The result of the four-month fighting at Monte Cassino was that the British and American divisions could begin their march on Rome, which was captured by the Allies on June 4, while the German troops left the city. Along with Ivar Eskil seventeen of his comrades from Westminster Regiment also lost their lives in connection with the offensive on May 24.(Much has been written about the battle of Monte Cassino. I will write more about that another day.)

Cassino War Cemetery seem to be very well organized. When I found this page I decided I really had to go here, sooner or later.

 

Tickets Booked

The least I expected when I started researching my grandmother, who lived a quiet life in Lapland in the north of Sweden, was to find out that one of her brothers was killed in action in Italy in May 1944.

grav-lindstrom

The grave in Monte Cassino War Cemetery is well kept.

The reason Ivar Eskil  Lindström ended up in Italy has to do with the Swedish emigration to Canada. In 1927 my grandmother’s parents,and most of her brothers and sisters, left their hard lives for a brighter future on the Canadian prairie.

Off to Cassino
Yesterday Anders, Karin and I booked a trip to Cassino in Italy, the place where my great uncle is buried. Up till our departure in May I will try to find out as much as I can about Ivar Eskil and the Canadian troops in Italy, focusing on the Battle of Monte Cassino/Melfa River Crossing where Ivar Eskils young life ended.

I have got in touch with an Italian woman, dr Danila Bracaglia, who has promised to be our guide in the Monte Cassino area where many events took place during WWII and where Ivar Eskil’s grave is to be found:

Dear Ewa,
thank you for your kind email and I would love to be your guide in Cassino area. I know exactly where the Melfa River crossing area is located and I was there with 13 Canadian Veterans 7 years ago for the 65th anniversary of the battle when also a plaque to remeber the action was put. I would suggest a day tour as we will visit the battlefields area but also the monastery of Monte Cassino, not to be missed with the stunning views and of course the war cemetery. My home town, located about 50 kms from Cassino, on the route where the Canadians fought and we can do all the advance to Frosinone and see the battlefields in the Liri valley where the westeminster regiment was involved in fierce fighting. (more…)