The story of WX9561 Corporal Albert Edward DAHLBERG of Augusta, Western Australia
Fitter 88th L.A.D. attached to 2/4th MGB
Augusta WW2 Memorial
Albert’s mother Bertha Dahlberg was known to have premonitions during her lifetime and foretold many events.
She told her family that during the early hours of the morning of the day Albert died, 10th February 1942, he came to say goodbye to her. Dressed in white he called out to Bertha at the doorway to her bedroom “Mum“.
She replied “Oh my son, you are home, thank God you are home. I have prayed for this” but as Bertha moved towards Albert, her son’s image receded and faded into the room behind.
In the family kitchen the following morning, a distressed Bertha told her family her story and of seeing Albert. She knew he was dead. The family believed her to be overwrought and because she was so worried about Albert, her dream appeared so vivid.
Albert Dahlberg was KIA Reformatory Road, Ulu Pandan, Singapore on 10 February 1942 during the one week’s battle to save Singapore 8-15 February.
Tragically he did not return home with most of the battalion and Bertha and the Dahlberg family did not receive official confirmation of Albert’s death until early 1946.
His mother wrote in his death notice:
The midnight stars are shining
Upon a soldier’s grave.
Where my darling son lies
The one I could not save.
The grief within my heart
No human eyes can trace.
Albert Dahlberg was born 23 July 1911 at Hamelin Bay, Western Australia. His parents were born in Finland.
Charles Alexander Dahlbo changed his surname to Dahlberg married 1905 Karridale to Beate ‘Bertha’ Long. They had a family of four sons and two daughters.
Charles Dahlberg was born 31 July 1877, Partann Wasa, Finland came to Australia in his late teen years about 1894. His sister Johanna Maria ‘Hannah’ Dahlbo also came to Western Australia from Finland and was residing in Augusta when she died April 1937. The siblings were very close, Charles built her a home known as ‘Blackwood’ in Augusta with a beautifully crafted interior of jarrah and blackwood.
Albert’s mother, Bertha Long was born 1875 Portom, Lansi-Suomen Laani, Finland. We believe Bertha came to Australia with her parents.
The Dahlberg family resided in the Augusta area. For the last decades of his life Charles Dahlberg was involved in building/construction of homes/businesses and local government infrastructure.
In the early years Charles was employed by M C Davies Co. (later Millars Timber & Trading Co.) and worked on various constructions jobs in and around the Augusta area.
Some of his jobs included being a maintenance man on the Hamelin Bay jetty, foreman on the Flinders Bay jetty and ganger on the Karridale to Flinders Bay railway line. Charles also worked on the completion of the Flinders Bay junction yards.
Charles Dahlberg was a prominent builder in the area. Other places he built according to Shire of Augusta-Margaret River Heritage Inventory (July 2012) between 1905 and 1930 include the old newsagent’s store in the centre of town (for W Ellis – general store), the hall next door (since burnt down), ‘Dingle Dell Guest House,’ ‘Callalup’ (his own farmhouse), and the Butchers Shop – in Augusta, and McCaullay’s store at Witchcliffe. He also did most of the carpentry in Augusta Hotel (1912).
Below: ‘Blackwood’, Augusta, the home Charles Dahlberg built for his sister Hannah in 1926-1927. She had previously been employed at Methodist Ladies College, Claremont.
Once the Dahlberg family home, ‘Callallup’
When Albert enlisted 4 Dec 1940, he had been working with his younger brother Oscar for several years at Hoffman Mills, 27 kms, north east of Harvey.
On 7 July 1941, Albert was given a community farewell at Augusta – this would have been at the time of departing for South Australia. On 23 July Albert turned 40 years old. Within seven months he would be KIA.
Included in the July 1999 letter sent to Murray Ewen from Albert’s nephew Vern Tinley of Augusta was a further sad story.
He wrote that he learned that whilst at small family social gathering with Albert’s only living sibling, his brother Oscar and his wife and several close friends that Albert and his sweetheart Mary became engaged before he went to Singapore, they however decided to keep this event secret and not tell their families.
Mary, then in her 80’s (1999) was very interested in viewing the family’s photos including those with Albert and said
“I have a lovely photograph of your mother (Vern’s mother), (sister to Albert) with her brother Albert, and a photo of Albert in uniform before he went away“.
Vern was intrigued and asked how she, Mary knew Albert and his mother.
Mary replied “I was engaged to your uncle when he went away. I still have the ring he gave me. We didn’t tell anybody as we thought we would announce the engagement when he came home. When Albert died I thought it best to say nothing.”
We know nothing of Mary or where she was from. Did she ever marry? Such a sad story of unfulfilled dreams and plans for a young couple.