During the First World War over a thousand Russian-born servicemen enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). They were the largest national group in the AIF after British, New Zealand and Canadian born servicemen. Besides ethnic Russians, these Anzacs included members of a score of different ethnic groups born within the borders of the Russian Empire. Their story is told in my book:

Elena Govor, Russian Anzacs in Australian History, Sydney, UNSW Press in association with NAA, 2005, 310 p., 44 ills

This site provides additional information about each of the Russian Anzacs, as well as statistical and other data. There is a page for each of these servicemen, containing biographical and service details, as well as links to further materials such as archival documents, newspaper articles, photographs, and quotes from books. In many cases these sources have been digitised and are available to view online.

This site was updated in 2014, and from early 2015 all old versions of the site will redirect to this main page. We apologise for any broken links, and advise to update old links to the new address (http://russiananzacs.net).

New! We are developing a map which shows the locations associated with the lives of the Russian Anzacs. The map is under construction, and currently shows birthplaces and residence before enlistment, with the addition of residence after the war underway.


Centenary of the First World War


To mark the Centenary of the First World War, this site will, in a weekly blog post, celebrate the Russian Anzacs who enlisted in the AIF that week. Their pages on this new site will be updated with the latest available sources and materials.

Welcome!


Latest Posts


March-April 1916 enlistees without service records

May 4, 2016
  • Waldermer Ende, a Latvian seaman from Riga, came to Australia in January 1916 and enlisted in the AIF two months later in Sydney. Most likely he continued working on the ships after his discharge.
  • P. Kartnoff enlisted in the AIF in Victoria. No further data was found.
  • A. Mackinson enlisted in New South Wales.
  • August Einar Ronn, a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors, enlisted in the AIF in NSW. Obviously his service was brief as he was registered as an alien in Western Australia and continued seafaring.
  • Solomon Rosenberg, a Jewish man from Kamenets-Podolsk in Ukraine or Brest in Belarus, left Russia in 1898 with his parents as a child. He lived in Scotland and Argentina. In 1912 he came to Australia and settled in Sydney working as a wood carver. In 1914 he married Esther Finkelstein. He enlisted in Sydney, but his service obviously did not last long.
  • A.S. Islin enlisted in the AIF in NSW. No further data was found.
  • Victor Neborotchko was, probably, a Ukrainian seaman. He enlisted in NSW and after a short service worked as a fireman and a wiper on American ships.
  • William Allias, an Estonian seaman, enlisted in the AIF in NSW. He did not serve long and in 1917 came to San Francisco in the USA, where he tried to enlist in the army twice: in WWI and WWII.
  • John Guzabali enlisted in the AIF in NSW. No other data available.
  • P. Kilpman enlisted in the AIF in NSW. No other data available.

Benson, Saarijarvi, Nummelin, Friman, Rantman

May 2, 2016

Henry Benson

  • Henry Benson, a Finnish seaman from Mariehamn, enlisted in the AIF in Melbourne.
  • He served with the 2nd Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front until he got sick and was returned to Australia.
  • His destiny after the war remains unknown.

Adolf Saarijarvi

  • Adolf Saarijarvi, a Finn from Orivesi, came to Australia in 1902 and worked as a labourer and selector in South Gippsland and Chinchilla.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Toowoomba, he served with the 4th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front. He was awarded the Military Medal for courage and ‘presence of mind’ at the battle of Dernancourt in April 1918. In August 1918, at the Amiens advance, he was wounded in the arm.
  • While in hospital in England, he met and married a Finnish woman, Anna Janne Tuomisto, but his heath remained poor and a month later he died of flu, meningitis and wound complications with his new wife by his side. After the war she moved to Queensland.

Karl William Nummelin

  • Karl William Nummelin, a Finnish seaman from Abo (Turku), enlisted in the AIF in Cootamundra.
  • He served with the 17th Battalion on the Western Front. In May 1917 he was wounded in the head at Bullecourt; four months later he was wounded in his side at Mennin Road near Ypres; for the third time he was wounded at Perrone in August 1918, but returned to his battalion and served to the very end of the war.
  • After the war he moved to San Francisco and continued working on the ships as a carpenter. During WWII he tried to enlist in the American army.

Nikolas Anders Friman

  • Nikolas Anders Friman, also from Abo, came to Western Australia in 1913 and worked as a miner and engineer.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Perth, but was discharged for misbehaviour.
  • After the war he married an Australian woman, Jessie, and worked as an engine driver and foreman. During WWII he he served in the Volunteer Defence Corps.

Jakov Robert Rantman

  • Jakov Robert Rantman, a seaman from Estonia, enlisted in the AIF in Melbourne.
  • He served with the 24th Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1917 he was killed at Broodseinde near Ypres.

Troyle, Tchorzewski, Brynkeveh, Wineberg, Mekenass

April 30, 2016

Konrat Jank Troyle

  • Konrat Jank Troyle, from Abo (Turku) in Finland, came to Australia probably as a seaman and worked in Western Australia as a farmhand.
  • He served with the 16th Battalion on the Western Front. Two months after arrival he was captured as a prisoner of war at the battle for Riencourt. He survived for sixteen months in German camps, but died from influenza in October 1918.

George Marion Tchorzewski

  • George Marion Tchorzewski, a Pole from Ukraine, came to Australia in 1882 as a child with his parents. His father was sugar-cane farming in the Bundaberg area.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, George arrived with the 52nd Battalion in England, but got sick and was returned to Australia.
  • After the war he married a Ukrainian woman, Polly Sakaranko, and continued farming in the Bundaberg area.

Hypolit Brynkeveh

  • Hypolit Brynkeveh, a Polish man from Lodz, worked in Australia as a cotton worker and miner.
  • He served with the 45th Battalion on the Western Front, attaining the rank of Lance Corporal. In June 1918 he was wounded in the head, but recovered and returned to his battalion.
  • After the war he worked on the ships as a greaser; in 1921 he married an Australian girl, Eva Kay. Soon after that he disappears from the records; he probably left Australia.

Harry Wineberg

  • Harry Wineberg, a Jewish man from Warsaw in Poland, came to Australia in 1900 and worked as a jeweller in Western Australia. He was married to an Australian woman, Sarah Shineberg.
  • He served with the 16th Battalion on the Western Front. In August 1916 he was wounded at Mouquet Farm and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he moved with his family in Sydney, where he worked as a salesman.

Alfred Joseph Mekenass

  • Alfred Joseph Mekenass (he served as Makeness), a Lithuanian from Panevežys, came to Australia in 1912 and worked as a labourer and gang overseer.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Newcastle and sailed with the 1st Pioneer Battalion to the Western Front, but while in Egypt was diagnosed with blindness and returned to Australia as medically unfit.
  • He married an Australian girl, Linda Irene Coward, in 1917 and lived in Hexham working as a rigger. In 1925 he was injured in an accident at work and died in hospital.

Peekman, Ronlund, Paulin, Limwerk, Averkoff

April 28, 2016

Edward Henry Peekman

  • Edward Henry Peekman from Turboneme in Estonia came to Australia as a seaman in 1909, worked on ships and was engaged in farming.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Adelaide, he served with the 5th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war the worked as a labourer at the stations in Victoria; in 1936 he moved to Sydney, where he worked as a carpenter.

Arthur Nicholas Ronlund

  • Arthur Nicholas Ronlund from Finland came to Australia in 1900 with his parents, who were followers of Matti Kurikka’s colonisation venture; they were farming in Cooroy in Queensland.
  • Arthur served with the 15th Battalion on the Western Front. In April 1917 he was wounded in the knee and taken as a POW by the Germans at Bullecourt. After the end of the war he was repatriated to Australia.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Ada Ellen Gohdes, and worked as a police constable in Queensland.

Karl Fritz Paulin

  • Karl Fritz Paulin from Vindava (Ventspils) in Latvia was a boatswain in mercantile marine. He came to Australia in 1905 and was based in Newcastle.
  • He served with the 34th Battalion on the Western Front, attaining the rank of Corporal. He was awarded the Military Medal for his conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in Battle of Ypres in October 1917, when he worked as a stretcher bearer.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Nora Geraghty, and lived in Sydney working as a carpenter.

August Limwerk

  • August Limwerk from Revel (Tallinn) in Estonia, although he sometimes provided his place of birth as Riga, came to Australia in 1914 as a seaman, leaving his wife and child in Estonia. He also had the trade of an electrical engineer.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Perth, but was discharged five months later as medically unfit.
  • He continued seafaring and died in 1920.

William George Averkoff

  • William George Averkoff came to Australia in 1910 with his family when he was twelve. They took up cane-farming near Innisfail. In 1915 his father died in an accident. To help his family – he had five younger siblings –William started to master the trade of bookbinder.
  • In March 1916, putting his age up, he enlisted in the AIF. He came to the Western Front with 47th Battalion and was killed at Messines, his first major battle in June 1917.
  • William’s mother, Anna Averkoff, raised the entire family after his death, and three of his younger brothers served in the 2nd AIF.

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