Divisional Commander's Congratulatory Card (1917) : Lance Sergeant A Ahradsen, 13 Battalion, AIF

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Albert Bapaume Area, Gueudecourt
Accession Number REL35985
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Award
Physical description Cardboard
Maker Unknown
Place made France
Date made 1917
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Divisional Commander's Congratulatory Card, from Major General Sir H V Cox, commanding 4th Australian Division, dated 23 February 1917. Presented to No 2778 Lance Sergeant A Ahradsen for 'his coolness under fire and good work with Lewis Guns during an attack on 4th/5th February 1917.'

History / Summary

Alexander Ahradsen, a 35 year old upholsterer working for the Marcus Clark Department Store at Newtown, Sydney, enlisted for service in the AIF on 26 July 1915 and was assigned as private to the 9th Reinforcements of 13 Battalion. Born in Wellington, New Zealand, he had served with the New Zealand Volunteer Company for six years before he emigrated to Australia. Ahradsen sailed for overseas service aboard HMAT A8 Argyllshire on 30 September 1915 and underwent training in Egypt. He qualified as a Lewis gunner and in April 1916 transferred to Machine Gun Section of his battalion. In May he was promoted to lance corporal. The battalion left Egypt for service in France on 1 August 1916. Ahradsen was promoted to corporal at the end of the month; to lance sergeant in January 1917 and to sergeant in March 1917. He twice received a Divisional Commanders Congratulatory Card, in December 1916, and February 1917, for work undertaken in the Gueudecourt area. Although the recommendation for the award of the second card has not survived it related to the battalion operations at Stormy Trench, near Guedecourt. Ahradsen was killed in action during the Battle of Bullecourt, on 11 April 1917. His wife, Emily, developed nervous paralysis when she learned of her husband's death and at one time it was feared that she would never walk again.