015 – Private Olaf Ernest Ohlson

Private Olaf Ernest Ohlson Died of wounds
26 February 1917

On 22 February The Tasmanian Mail, published a short article saying that Mr Olaf Ohlson of Adventure Bay, Bruny Island had been notified that his son Olaf serving with the 40th Battalion had been wounded in action and that his condition was ‘dangerous’. Olaf and Hilda Ohlson had already lost their youngest son Thomas, who was killed in action at Mouquet Farm in September 1916 whilst serving with the 12th Battalion.

The two brothers did not enlist together, Olaf waiting two more months before he volunteered at which time the 40th Battalion was being raised. On being accepted Olaf, who stated that he was a 21 year old single labourer. He was allotted to the Machine Gun Section of the 40th Battalion.

In mid-January 1917, whilst in the Armentieres Sector near the Belgium border, raiding parties were formed by members of the 10th Brigade. After undergoing training nearby, the real raids took place in late January. Their purpose was to take prisoners and to find out more about the enemy – particularly to identify which unit or units were involved. Among the wounded was Private Olaf Ohlson who had sustained a gunshot wound to his left foot. After passing through the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station he was transferred to the 13th Stationary Hospital at Boulogne. The Initial report to Base Records indicated that his condition was serious, but later reports stated that he was improving. It is possible that his wound turned gangrenous. Without antibiotics there was little that doctors and nursing staff could do. Private Olaf Ohlson died on 26 February 1917 and was later buried in the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery located behind the town.