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51982 Rifleman Albert Edvind Bendiksen – New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Albert Edvind Bendiksen was born on 21st March 1896 the son of John and Maria Bendiksen[i]. Albert was of Norwegian decent most probably was born in Tromso, Norway. Tromso is a northern Norwegian city above the Arctic Circle with
close links to the sea.

Albert went to sea as a young man his military files note he had an appendix removed at Tromso, Norway in mid
January 1911 and a hernia developed in the same area when he was serving on the Norwegian barque in October 1911.

On 5th March 1915 the Evening Star reported the arrival of a Norwegian tramp steamer the ‘Hesperos’ arriving in
New Zealand with a shipment of Canadian wheat.  Among the crew listed is Chief Engineer A Bendiksen[ii], possibly
Albert but he would have been a very young engineer so could have been sailing with a relative.

On 26th February 1917 Albert Bendiksen is listed. along with another 13 Wellington men, as volunteers for military service. As a foreign national Albert had no difficulty in enlisting as his military papers indicate that he was a British
National who had been born in New Zealand and lived in the country for twenty six years although he was only twenty.

Albert Bendiksen’s military file note that his trades as a sailor and labourer and that on enlistment he was working as a farmer on the farm of B Mexted, Tawa Flat who he listed as his New Zealand contact point.  The military medical examination conducted in August 1916 noted the minor hernia but Albert was passed as medically fit.

51982 Private Albert Bendiksen entered Trentham Military camp on 3rd March 1917 with 24th reinforcements later transferred to the 26th Reinforcements and left for overseas service on 8th June 1917 with G Company 26th Reinforcements.

Private Bendiksen had been in Tawa long enough to be part of the community and leave one ‘sweetheart’ behind when
he left, another Tawa Flat farmer Wilf Mexted wrote back to his family in June 1918[iii]:

I had a letter from poor old Albert yesterday also, he had heard of his step-mothers death in Norway
and had not heard from Iris for two mails. I couldn’t help laughing though the way he put it and he
said ‘ong – ong’ there’s plenty more fish in the sea ‘ong – ong.’ He still thinks he has a big chance of
getting back to NZ.

On arrival in England the 26th Reinforcements went to the Sling Military Camp where Private Bendiksen was posted, as 51982 Rifleman Bendiksen, on 16th August 1918 to the 5th Reserve Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade (NZRB).
Following more training Rifleman was posted to France on 18th October 1917 and was posted to B Company,
3rd Battalion, 3rd NZRB. The Battalion had been heavily engaged in the Battle of Passchendaele and was regrouping
and retraining at Henneveux.[iv]

The Brigade moved back to the front in mid November 1917 to the Becelaere Sector then Broodseinde Sector of the
Ypres Salient and periods of stationary trench warfare.

On 22nd February 1918 Rifleman Bendiksen was sent to England and on 29th April 1918 was admitted to
No 2 NZ General Hospital Walton on Thames for a hernia operation. Following the operation Rifleman Bendiksen
went before a medical board and was declared unfit for active service and was transferred to Brocton Camp where
he served until 2nd December 1918 when he was shipped back to New Zealand.

Rifleman Bendiksen was discharged in New Zealand on 8th February 1919 ‘ no longer physically fit for war service – hernia.’
Albert initially returned to Tawa Flat but by 1920 had moved to The Heights, Shannon where he signed for his British War and Victory Medals.

Albert Bendiksen applied for naturalisation in 1920[v] and it is probable that he also started using the spelling of
Bendikson as his surname.  Bendikson was used in a item on the engagement of A Bendikson, the Heights, Shannon
to Miss M Cook, also of Shannon in 1921[vi].

The engagement did not last and Albert married in 1926 Margaret Catherine Chisholm.[vii]  Margaret died in 1927 and Albert re-married in 1928 her younger sister Annie Chisholm. In 1928 Albert Bendikson is registered as a farmer of Tawa and Pauatahanui. Albert and Annie by the early 1930’s are listed as living in Tawa Flat.

Albert Edvind Bendikson died in the Wellington Region on 11th August 1972.

References
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files
Paperspast Online.
NZ BDM
Letters Home: unpublished letters from Wilf Mexted
The Official History of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Photo

[i] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 51982 Rifleman Albert Edvind Bendiksen
[ii] Wheat arrives, 5th March 1915, Evening Star
[iii] Letters Home, 29th June 1918,
[iv] After Passchendaele:  The Official History of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade
[v] Archway Archives New Zealand
[vi] Shannon News, 20th December 1921, Horowhenua Chronical.
[vii] NZ BDM Chisholm – Bendikson.
Men of the 3rd Battalion with wounded comrade