26686 Gnr. August Larson was born in Gavle, Sweden on 4th July 1878 to Lars Larson. He arrived in Australia from England on the S.S. Clearpool in 1910 and worked at Bass, Glen Forbes, and Warburton, probably as a farm laborer. He settled at Rhyll in 1914, working as a crayfisherman with another Swede, John Norling. He was naturalized on 19thJuly 1915.
August enlisted on 20th December 1915 with the 3/8th Field Artillery Brigade, part of the 3rd Division Artillery. He embarked from Melbourne on HMAT Port Sydney on 7th September 1916 and disembarked at Plymouth on 29th October.
He marched in to Australian Army Training Depot, Park House near Tidworth, on7th November 1916.
He sailed overseas to the Australian General Base Depot, Etaples, France for further training.
He served in France from 9th January 1917 with the 3rd Divisional Artillery Details.
He was taken on strength with the 3rd Divisional Ammunition Column, part of the 3rd Division Artillery on 10th March 1917.
He transferred to the Australian General Base Depot on 20th March 1917.
He was taken on strength with the 8th Battery, 3rd Field Artillery Brigade, part of the 1st Division, on 28th April 1917.
“In May the 1st Division relieved the Second Division in the Second Battle of Bullecourt.
After a rest spell, the division returned to the Ypres Salient and participated in the Third Battle of Ypres, in which it fought with great success at Menin Road in September and Broodeseinde in October.
In April 1918 the 1st Division halted the German offensive at Hazebrouck. It remained there, apart from the other divisions for four months, engaging in a spirited and active campaign against the enemy. It rejoined the Australian Corps in the Somme region in 1918 in time to participate in the Battle of Amiens and fought on to the Hindenburg Line.”
August was admitted to 1stAuxilliary Hospital Harefield with influenza whilst on leave on from France on 26th October 1918. He embarked for Australia on HT Nestoron 12th December and disembarked on 1st February 1919, still suffering from influenza.
After the war he returned to crayfishing and in 1922 with Jack Burgess bought the crayfishing ketch Rachel Thompson from John Norling only to lose it in Bass Strait soon after.
He was working as a lighterman in the 1930’s on the lighter Carmen and was living on board.His last job was as a rigger at Williamstown, probably at the dockyard there.
“Mr A. LARSON. The death took place on Thursday last at the Williamstown Hospital of Mr August Larson after an illness of some weeks’ duration. Deceased, a native of Sweden, was 68 years of age, and had resided at 15 Ann St. for many years. He saw service in the last war with the 8th Battery, 3rd Divisional Artillery, A.I.F., and out of respect to his memory the flags at the town hall and Memorial Hall were flown at half-mast. The funeral, private, which was largely attended, took place on Saturday morning, leaving Ernest W. Jackson’s chapel for the Williamstown Cemetery.The coffin, covered with the Union Jack, on which rested his Digger’s hat and a laurel and poppy wreath from the dockyard branch of the R.S.S. & A.I.L.A., was carried to the grave by his returned comrades. The Rev. R. St Jenrquist held a service at the chapel and cemetery, and at the conclusion of the returned soldiers’ burial service the Last Post and Reveille were sounded.”
Williamstown Chronicle, 19th October 1945.
August Larson is commemorated on the Phillip Island RSL Book of Honour, the Phillip Island Roll of Honour and St Philip’s Roll of Honor, Cowes.