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Pvt. Carl Westberg
Private Carl Andrew Westberg
2nd Canadian Infantry Division- 6th Infantry Brigade, Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders
At 5’11’’, 173 pounds, Carl Andrew Westberg was one of the many courageous men who fought for his country in WWII. Carl spent many long days in training and in battle. He was an average, small- town boy, who liked fishing and hunting, but that did not stop him from fighting in one of the biggest battles in Canada’s history.
Carl Andrew Westberg was born on February 8th, 1908, to John Alfred Westberg and Kristina, nee Haggquist, Westberg. Carl was born in Olbye, Sweden; the country where his parents were also born and married. He was able to speak both Swedish and English. In April 1910, when he was two years old, Carl and his family moved to Alexandria, Minnesota, then shortly after to Winnipeg, Manitoba. After living in Winnipeg for three years, the family moved, in 1913, to the Little Grassy River Area, in Bergland, Ontario. Carl grew up with one brother and four sisters; John, Alice, Judith, Alfreda, and Elenora. He did not marry and did not have any children.
Carl attended the McCrossen #1 school in Bergland up until grade 5. In order to get to school, Carl and his younger siblings had to row two and a half miles up the Little Grassy River everyday. In the winter they would walk or skate on homemade skates.
After attending public school, as a young man, Carl worked on the log drives and cutting timber in Bergland. Near the end of the 1920’s, tourist camps began opening on the Lake of the Woods. Carl was one of the first to work as a guide at camps in Nestor Falls, ON. This was a great job for Carl because one of his favourite hobbies was fishing.
Carl Westberg joined the Canadian Army on August 27th, 1942, while the Second World War was occurring. When he first joined the infantry, Carl was attached to the 102nd Canadian Army Basic Training Centre in Fort Williams, Ontario. Carl was then shortly assigned to A15 Canadian Infantry Training Centre, for all purposes, in Shilo, Manitoba, on October 10th, 1942. He continued to train there until January 24, 1943 when he was struck off service and attached to the Winnipeg Grenadiers, in Prince Rupert, BC.
Furlough was a temporary leave of absence, which soldiers were sometimes granted. Carl was granted furlough with traveling time and accumulated weekend leave from the tattoo in Prince Rupert, on April 2nd, 1943 to April 25th, 1943. He was also entitled to 50¢ per day. The tattoo, which Carl was granted leave from, was entertainment, consisting of music, marching, displays and exercises by military personnel. By January 4th, 1943 he got an increase of pay to $1.40, and by March 4th, he received an increase to $1.50 per day.
On July 12th, 1943, the 13th Canadian Infantry Brigade boarded four US transport ships in the ports of Nanaimo and Chemainus. Carl was sent as a senior administrative officer on special duty to Kiska, Alaska.
The Winnipeg Grenadiers were sent to the Kiska, Aleutian Islands to drive out Japanese troops, which had landed on the islands on June 7th, 1942. When the Canadian troops arrived they were surprised to find that the Japanese troops had secretly fled the islands under cover by fog. They did not engage in battle but the troops remained on the islands until January 1944.
On August 22nd, 1943, Carl was admitted to the 25 field ambulance because he was wounded in the field, possibly while in training. The brigade went through training to be able to survive the coldest weather ever encountered by the Canadian Army, anywhere in the world. He was then discharged on September 2nd. Carl and the rest of his unit stayed on the islands until January 3rd, 1944, building roads and piers for three months.
After months of hard work, Carl was granted thirty days of leave until February 5th, 1944. There is no record of where Carl spent his leave but it can be assumed he was in either Prince Rupert or at home.
A few months later, on December 1st, 1943, Carl finished being a member of home defence because he became a soldier, due to the National Resources Mobilization Act. Then, on April 10th, 1944, Carl was struck off service as a NRMA Soldier on enlistment in the active Canadian Army and from being officially certified for general service. At this time he was assigned the regimental number H. 43032.
After being enlisted in the active force, on May 25th, 1944, Carl went overseas by ship and arrived a day later in the United Kingdom. On August 7th, 1944, Carl was struck off service from the Winnipeg Grenadiers to the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, which was part of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division - 6th Infantry Brigade, where he completed his final days of the war as an infantry private.
On August 8th, 1944, the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders joined in the battle of Normandy by heading towards Falaise, France to close the gap on the Germans. The battle of Normandy’s purpose was to demolish transportation links and disrupt the German army’s increase of military strength. The QOCH were positioned close to Bretteville-Sur-Laize, France. The first attempt to takeover Falaise failed on August 9th and a second attempt was made on August 14th. At 1500 hours, the 6 Brigade entered Falaise on August 16th. After being joined by the Fusiliers Mont-Royal Regiment, on August 18th the 6th brigade had finally removed remaining Germans in Falaise.
By August 20th, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division passed over their occupation in the town of Falaise to the British. On August 21st, the Falaise gap was closed and on August 22nd the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division moved up the France/Belgium coast. Here the division was helping liberate France and Belgium and capturing the coastal ports, which the Germans occupied. The first German fallback point was at the Seine River near Rouen. In order to reach this point the soldiers had to cross the mountainous wooded area known as the Foret de La Londe. By the 27th of August the generals of the 3rd and 2nd Division met and decided it was time for the 2nd Division to move forward across the river because the 3rd Division was already across.
On August 29th, 1944, the day of withdrawal, the South Saskatchewan Regiment caused a confusion and panic to the soldiers, which resulted in a messy retreat. During this time Carl was shot by a sniper and pronounced dead upon admission to the 10 field ambulance.
Carl Westberg spent a few days, during his time in the army, in field ambulances. The first time was on August 22nd, 1943, while he was in Kiska, Alaska. Carl was admitted to the 25 field ambulance because he was wounded in the field.
The second time was on August 29th, 1944, when he was admitted to the 10 field ambulance and was pronounced dead due to wounds.
Carl was only 37 years old and was a part of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division- 6th Infantry Brigade, when he died. Carl was awarded the 1939-1945 France-Germany Star and a 1939-1945 War Medal. The 1939-1945 France-Germany Star was awarded to those soldiers who served one or more days in France, Belgium, Holland or Germany, between June 6th, 1944 and May 8th, 1945. The 1939-1945 War Medal, Carl received, was awarded to full-time soldiers of the armed forces and merchant marines, for serving 28 days between September 3rd, 1939 and September 2nd, 1945.
He was first buried in MR 019015, Bourgtheroulde (Cross Roads), France cemetery. On February 3rd, 1947 he was reburied to grave 14, row D, plot 20, in the Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian Military cemetery, in Bretteville-sur-Laize, France. Carl was reburied by the Canadian government so he could have a dignified funeral and burial services. As well, he was reburied to a Canadian military cemetery so the government could maintain his grave. Buried here are those who died during the late stages of the Battle of Normandy, the capture of Caen and the closing of the Falaise gap.
Carl Andrew Westberg was one of the many brave men of Canada who fought in WWII. He fought for our country with great dignity. Over his time spent in the war, Carl put his life on the line many times and never gave up. His time and effort will never be forgotten.
By: Kaylie Lundgren