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More About Bernhard


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Somme-American Cemetery - Bony, France

Somme Cemetery, Bony FranceIt wasn't until 1921 that the United States created Somme-American Cemetery.  Bernhard was removed from Tincourt and reburied at Somme on October 10, 1922. 

Most families paid to have their sons' and husbands' remains brought home, although it sometimes took years to save the money to pay for their return. In 1927 the Bernhard's crossgaps left by empty graves caused the cemetery to be reorganized. Bernhard's grave number shifted by one.  We don't know if Bernhard was reburied or if the reorganization simply changed the numbering system. Since 1927 the location of Bernhard's grave is given as Plot D, Row 5, Grave 11. 
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Thor doesn't appear to have been given the opportunity to claim his oldest son's remains until over two years after Bernhard's death. Hints in the written record are reinforced by the timing of the funeral for Polk County war hero Nels Wold.  Wold also died in the last weeks of the war, but his funeral didn't occur until 1921.

Had Bernhard's mother still been alive, she may well have persuaded Thor to bring her son home.  It seems likely that Thor felt, especially so long after Bernhard's actual death, it was better to let his son rest in peace in France.

Although at least 4 of Bernhard's nephews fought in Europe during WWII, none of them seem to have known their uncle was buried at Somme. As far as is known, no family member has yet visited Bernhard's grave in France.  If you or someone you know has paid their respects at Somme, let the family know!  Email

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