865851 Pte. E. O. F. Bertelsen 44th C.E.F.

British War Medal and Victory Medal to 865851 Private Edvin Oluf Frederik Bertelsen
44th Battalion Canadian Infantry

Died of wounds received in action on October 27th 1917

Edvin Oluf Frederik Bertelsen was born on on July 22nd 1897, on the 2nd floor of Gothersgade 36 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
 

His father was plummer Alexander Christian Isidor Bertelsen, born February 20th 1874 in Copenhagen. His mother was Alexandra Andrea Henriette Bertelsen (Born Voer), born October 4th 1875 in Copenhagen.
They were married on April 19th 1897.
 

On July 1st 1909, Edvin's father died only 35 years old, leaving Edvin's mother Alexandra alone with four children (Carlo, Edvin, Ingolf and Orla). The family lived at Gulbergsgade 39, 4th floor at the time.
The next couple of years was probably very turbulent, as they moved from one place to another. Edvin's mother tried to make a living as a dressmaker.


In 1912 Edvin left Copenhagen for good. If he left Denmark for Canada at the same time is not certain, but quite possible (1) (2).


After his arrival in Canada, Edvin worked as a farmer. And that was his occupation when he attested for the 181st Overseas Battalion on November 24th 1916. He lived at Hargrave, Manitoba at the time.

He was 19 years and 4 months old, his height was 5 feet 2,5 inches, weight was 130 lbs., chest measured 38,5 inches, complexion was fair, eyes was blue, hair was brown, and he was a Lutheran.

At first Edvin listed his mother in Denmark as his next of kin. But it seems that he was forced to add another next of kin, as he didn't know his mother's address at the time. Instead he listed his friend, Jonathon Wilson from Hargrave (She was actually living at Amagergade 11 in Copenhagen at the time.)


Edvin sailed on the S. S. Grampian from Halifax on April 16th 1917. And arrived at Liverpool, England on April 29th 1917. Hes was the transferred to the 18th Reserve Battalion at Dibgate.

On June 21st 1917 he was transferred to the 44th Battalion. And Edvin found him self in the field the next day.

Edvin was attached No. 1 section of the 10th Canadian Machine Gun Company on October 13th 1917. It was with this outfit he went into action on October 26th 1917, during the Second Battle for Passchendaele (3).

 Photo of a similar Canadian Machine Gun Company durin the Second Battle for Passechendaele
 

The 10th Canadian Machine Gun Company supported the 46th Battalion defending the postition near Decline Copse, when the Germans launched a major counter-attack at 4:43 p.m. The Germans attacked from Crest Farm, Passechendaele, and Tiber House. The Canadians were greatly outnumbered.
Eventually the German attack wore down as they were also having problems with the mud, and with the fire from the 10th Canadian Machine Gun Company in support of the 46th, the Canadians were able to take back the rise near Decline Copse (4).
 

It was probably during one of the German counter-attacks that day, that Edvin bacame a casualty. He was hit be shrapnel in the chest and right leg. He was evacuated to the Dressing Station and later to No. 8th Canadian Field Ambulance, where he succumbed to his wounds the following day.
 

He was burried at Vlamertinghe New Militray Cemetery near Ypres.


It took some time before his mother Alexandra learned about Edvin's death. As her address was unknown, a request was sent to the British Red Cross at Tolbodgade 19 in Copenhagen to locate her. They must have found her, as Edvin's medals was despatched to her on March 30th 1921. She also received a Memorial Cross (3).

 Edvin's final resting place in Belgium. Vlamertinge new Military Cemetery XI,. F. 12.
 
(1) - Danish Police People Records for Copenhagen.
(2) - Danish church entries and census.
(3) - E. O. F. Bertelsen's service record and attestation papers.
(4) - Daniel Dancock Legacy of Valour - the Canadians at Passchendaele
(5) - Certificate of Death

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