The Berserker

Major Axel “Rass” Rasmussen †
97th (American Legion) BattalionRasmussen

Rasmussen was a big, handsome man; fearless in war and pitiless to four-flushers anywhere, any time.

(J. W. Pegler, Evening News, 26 June 1918, 2)

“But so far I’ve always found that a man has time to get down to avoid the fragments— if he moves fast. If it’s got your initials on it— well, no one but a prime so-and-so wants to live forever!”- Maj. Rasmussen

(E. S. Johnston,  Americans vs. Germans: the First AEF in Action, 1942, 33)

Axel Thorvald Rasmussen was one of the American Legion’s most famous members. The thirty-eight year old, Danish-born resident of Oregon was a veteran of the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection. During the Mexico Revolution, he fought in support of General Obregón’s army. Regarding his previous fights as “mere skirmishes,” in 1916, Rasmussen traveled to Canada in order to join Lieutenant Colonel Wade Jolly’s 97th American Legion.

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The Ice Man

Lieutenant Colonel H. Marino Hannesson
223rd (Canadian Scandinavians) BattalionHannesson

Col. Hannesson thinks we should have a Canadian flag. He sets forth the case for it in much the same way we have seen it stated with monotonous repetition over a course of several years. The agitation comes from the same small source but sustained as it has been by a clique that arrogates to Itself the shaping of Canada’s destiny, nothing comes of It. It is a babbling stream that never lengthens, never widens, never rises. The people of Canada, broadly speaking, have taken no interest in it.

(Winnipeg Tribune, 24 Jan 1928, 9)

Born in Iceland on 27 November 1884, Hannes Marino Hannesson immigrated with his family to Manitoba in 1886. A graduate of the University of Manitoba, Hannesson practiced law in Winnipeg and Selkirk at the outbreak of the First World War. A member of the 90th Winnipeg Rifles, he enlisted as an officer with Lieutenant Colonel Hans Albrechtsen’s 223rd Battalion in March 1916.

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