Soldier stories

VX55149 PERSSON, FRANK MAURATZ. Submitted by Debra Persson (granddaughter).

Frank Mauritz Persson was born 17 January 1900 in Tgarby, County Hallands, Sweden to Per August Henrikson and Bina Andersdotter.

At the age of 13, he joined the Swedish Merchant Navy and sailed around the world a couple of times. He jumped ship in Fremantle, Western Australia, was caught and jumped ship a second time.

He tells a story about sleeping under the Sydney Harbour Bridge before it was finished, then following the dam building before settling around Lake Victoria where he met my widowed grandmother Elsie Maude Rolton (nee Anspach). He married her, settled down and built a mud brick home at Buronga, New South Wales.

As he spent about 15 years at sea, I always wondered why he did not join the Royal Australian Navy but he must have just followed with other mates around the Mildura area when World War 2 came along. I know that in the Merchant Navy he reached a position of Bosun. This may have been why he was detached to the Tug and Lighter Company in the Middle East.

As far as I know, my grandfather was shot by friendly fire. A young soldier was cleaning his gun and it went off. Pop was sitting around a fire at the time and the bullet went in the front of his right shin, out the back, then into the back of the thigh and lastly left the front of the thigh. He showed me the scars as a child.

He was sent home early and never spoke about his service, as the others in his Battalion were lost at sea.

My grandfather worked with the Mildura Council for a number of years digging ditches.

He would most likely have been nicknamed the Swede as he never lost his accent.