Patrick Andreas OHLSTROM

Badge Number: S7495, Sub Branch: Burnside
S7495

OHLSTROM, Patrick Andreas

Service Numbers: 416, 5262
Enlisted: 5 July 1915, Keswick, South Australia
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 32nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Warooka, South Australia , 16 December 1890
Home Town: Edithburgh, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Natural causes, Adelaide, South Australia, 10 June 1940, aged 49 years
Cemetery: West Terrace Cemetery (General)
Memorials: EdithburghHB1*, EdithburghM1*
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World War 1 Service

5 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 416, Keswick, South Australia
18 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 416, 32nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Geelong, Adelaide
18 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 416, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
5 Jun 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN 5262, 32nd Infantry Battalion
Date unknown: Wounded SN 416, 32nd Infantry Battalion

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Biography

 Patrick Andreas Ohlstrom enlisted in the Australian Imperial force on 5 July 1915 at the age of twenty-four and a half. Born at Warooka on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, Ohlstrom was working as a clerk at the time of his enlistment, a profession to which he returned on his discharge in 1919. 

Serving with the 32nd Australian Infantry Battalion, Ohlstrom was promoted to corporal in August of 1915. Embarking for the Middle East in November, Ohlstrom spent his first Christmas at war in the trenches, guarding the eastern side of the Suez Canal from Ottoman advances. The next few months were spent in similar duties, with occasional diversions such as dysentry and camel riding, which Ohlstrom thought "weird".1 The 32nd also had the opportunity of sightseeing at their post at Tel el Kebir, complete with "gruesome sights" and bones from the battle of 1882, when the British and Indian armies under the command of General Wolseley subjugated Egypt for the Empire.2 

In June, they shipped out to France and witnessed their first air raid on 29 June, the day after a surprise visit from General Birdwood described by Ohlstrom in his diary as the "Soul of Anzac".3 July saw heavy shelling, exhaustion and the "honors of going over the Top first."4 After 19 and 20 July, the horror of European trench warfare hit home to Ohlstrom.

 Have passed through a night of Hell on earth. It was awful the noise and the sights of dead & dying men. The boys took three lines of German trenches, easily but after hanging on all night were compelled to let go and fall back on our own line. Every devilish invention was used against us including liquid fire and gas. I never want to go through another dose of it. Our casualties were very heavy but no worse than theirs.5   

An infection saw Ohlstrom out of commission and hospitalised in England from August until the end of the year, although that seemed to do little to stop him from thoroughly enjoying himself. He returned to serve at the No. 2 Officers Cadet battalion at Cambridge in August 1917 before being hospitalised again in November.

In January 1918, Ohlstrom finally returned to the 32nd battalion to be severely wounded in a gas attack in 14 May 1918. Two days later was promoted to second lieutenant. He returned to hospital, where he spent the remainder of the conflict before rejoining his unit at the end of November 1918 and returning to Australia in February 1919, having been promoted to full lieutenant on 25 June 1918. 

Once back home, Ohlstrom returned to law, first clerking and later becoming a partner in the firm Jessop, Ward and Ohlstrom. Also remembered as a prominent baseball player and cricketer, Patrick Andreas Ohlstrom died in 1940 at the age of 49.6 

 

1. Patrick Andreas Ohlstrom, "Diary by CPL P. A. Ohlstrom from the day of Embarkation," p. 13.

2. Ohlstrom, Diary, p. 12.

3. Ohlstrom, Diary, p. 17.

4. Ohlstrom, Diary, p. 19.

5. Ohlstrom, Diary, p. 20.

6. "Obituary - P. A. Ohlstrom," The Advertiser, 11 June 1940.

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