An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten


No. 77260 Corporal, 7th Battalion (1st British Columbia),
Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Born 29 April 1886,
Died 9 September 1916, aged 30 years.

Buried in Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension,
Somme, France, Grave VI.A.15.

Died during the Battle of the Somme, in the northern part of the sector. This cemetery extension contains 1,331 First World War Commonwealth graves.

Oscar Svennson was the son of Anders Gillis Svensson, of Gothenburg, Sweden, and Isabella Jane Svensson, of Redcar. The family lived at 14, Newcomen Street, Redcar, and the school Register notes his father as an engineer, while Census returns describe him as an analytical chemist. Oscar had three older brothers who each attended Coatham Grammar School, Olof, Gillis and Robert. There was also a younger sister in the family, Vala. Oscar joined the school as a very young day boy in March 1894, just one month before his eighth birthday. He remained for 22 terms, leaving in July 1901 when he was 15. His occupation on leaving is unknown but 1911 Census records him as an agricultural engineer, still living at home in Coatham. However, in April 1911 he emigrated to Canada. Giving his occupation as a ‘vanman’, on November 6th 1914 he volunteered for the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force at Victoria, British Columbia, joining one of the first COEF contingents to be formed. Those contingents arrived on the Western Front in France in early 1915 and suffered very heavily at the First Battle of Ypres in March of that year. Oscar’s brother Robert also served in the War, as a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps.