New book released April 2017
Falling Stars: The story of Anzacs from Ukraine is a collective biography of the men and women who came from the territory of present-day Ukraine to Australia at the beginning of the twentieth century, fought in the Australian Army in the First World War, and made their post-war lives in this strange and distant country. Through interviews, material history, and archival research, it brings their stories back to life.
Elena Govor, Falling Stars: The story of Anzacs from Ukraine, Canberra, Alcheringa Press, 2017, 239 p., ills
The book is available from the following stockists:
Watch this space for more news about the new book!
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! A map which shows the locations associated with the lives of the Russian Anzacs.
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.
September 16, 2018
- John Kasak, a Latvian or Estonian sailor from Riga, came to Australia during the war. Before that he had already registered for military service in the USA in 1917.
- In May 1918 he enlisted in the AIF and was sent with reinforcements to England. In October he became severely ill with pneumonia and was returned to Australia.
- After the war the continued serving on ships in the USA.
- Daniel Nazarow came from the village Zaplavnoe, near Astrakhan. Ethnically he was Russian, but belonged to the Judaizing Talmudists by denomination. He spent two and a half years in Palestine and came to Western Australia in 1912, leaving behind his wife and two children. In Australia he worked as a labourer, clearing land, and then as a miner in outback areas; in 1917 he was injured in a dynamite explosion.
- In May 1918 he enlisted in the AIF, but was discharged soon afterwards due to medical reasons and lack of English.
- After the war he worked as an umbrella mender, and then again as a miner, living in Sydney and different areas of Western Australia.
- Joseph Goldberg, whose true name was Joseph Albert Rosen, bas born in Warsaw and came to Australia in 1902 as a seaman. He lived in South Australia, working as a pastry cook.
- In May 1918 he enlisted to the AIF and was sent with reinforcements to England, but arrived after the armistice.
- After the war he married Margaret McInerney and lived in Sydney, working as a salesman.
September 4, 2018
- Antti Helppi, a Finnish seaman from Vyborg, came to Australia in 1916 and served on the ships in Sydney and Brisbane.
- In May 1918 he enlisted in the AIF in Brisbane and sailed with reinforcements to the Western Front. He was sent to France on 6 November 1918, a few days before the armistice.
- After the war he continued serving on the ships in Australia and died in 1927.
Frederick August Dambelis
- Frederick August Dambelis, a Latvian seaman from Riga, came to Australia in 1913 and lived in Sydney, working as a rigger and motor driver. In 1917 he married a widow, Mary Raymond Goddard.
- Enlisting in the AIF in March 1918, he was allocated to the Australian Flying Corps as a 2nd class mechanic. He was not sent to Europe and discharged after the end of the war.
- After the war he worked in the Australian Gas Company; he lost his wife in 1924.
Anton Wicktor Henrickson
- Anton Wicktor Henrickson from Vardo, Aland Islands, in Finland, came to Western Australia as a seaman in 1908. He was working as a timber worker in the south-western areas of the state, but later moved to Newcastle.
- He tried to enlist in 1916, but was rejected because of insufficient English. He got in the trouble with the law several times and after finishing a 3 month prison term enlisted in the AIF in March 1918 in Newcastle and was accepted. He was sent to England with the reinforcements to the 55th Battalion but arrived too late to fight on the Western front.
- He died in 1921, soon after returning to Australia and his discharge.
- John Warro, a young Estonian seaman from Revel (Tallinn), by the time of his enlistment in the AIF, was working as a labourer in Port Pirie.
- Enlisting in Port Pirie, he sailed with reinforcements to England, but his unit reached France only after the end of the war.
- After the war he stayed in Australia, working as a fireman on the ships, but by the 1920s moved to the USA and continued seafaring there.
Erik Hugo Eriksson
- Erik Hugo Eriksson, a Finn from Mariehamn, by the time of his enlistment was working as a labourer in Sydney. During the war he served in the 5th Light Horse unit in Citizen Forces.
- He enlisted in the AIF in March 1918, but was discharged soon afterwards.
- It was impossible to trace his life after the war.
September 1, 2018
- Aron Traub, a Jewish man from Pilica, Poland, came to Australia in 1900 and worked as a hairdresser. After 3 years in Sydney, he moved to Albury, where he married Kathleen Miller. They had two daughters, later moving to Melbourne.
- Enlisting in the AIF in Melbourne, he sailed to England with the reinforcements to the 58th battalion, but his unit landed in France 11 days after the Armistice.
- After the war he lived with his family in Melbourne, working as a hairdresser and warder.
Felix Witold Roth
- Felix Witold Roth, a sculptor from Warsaw in Poland, came to Australia from Japan in 1911. He lived in Sydney, where he married Australian girl Lynda Thelma Johnson and had a daughter.
- Enlisting in the AIF in February 1918 he arrived to England with reinforcements, but was sent to France only after the end of the war and later worked in the Modelling Subsection of the Australian War Records Section in London.
- After the war he lived with his family in Sydney, working as a sculptor.
- Samuel Ettingove, a Jewish man from Mogilev Province in Belarus, came to Australia in 1912 to join his uncle Sidney Myer. He studied at Melbourne University.
- He enlisted in the AIF in February 1918 and was trained as a gunner, but a month later he was severely injured when his motorcycle collided with a tram. He died two months later.
- His army mates paid tribute to him in newspaper advertisements years after the war.
August 26, 2018
- Michael Elecoff, an Ossetian from the North Caucasus, came to Australia in 1914 and was working as a labourer and wheeler at the mines.
- He made several attempts to enlist in the AIF, but was rejected on medical grounds. His last unsuccessful attempt was in February 1918.
- After the war he was working as a miner and in 1924 married an Australian girl, Ivy May Shaw, in Lithgow. They had four children, but Michael died early.
- Woldemar Larin, a Russian born in Verny (now Almaty, Kazakhstan), took part in the Russo-Japanese War and came to Australia in 1905 as a political refugee. He lived in the remote areas of north-western Australia, working as a prospector and miner, later moving to Fremantle. When he applied for naturalisation, the intelligence officer suspected him of being an anarchist.
- In January 1918 Larin enlisted in the AIF in Fremantle in the Medical Corps as a pharmacist, but was discharged soon afterwards due to poor vision.
- After the war he settled in Fremantle, working as a lumper, and when he got older, as a watch repairer. He was known by the nickname ‘Russia’ and often got into trouble with the local police for minor offences.
- Jacob Wolfson, a Jewish man from Mogilev in Belarus, came to Australia in 1917 as a seaman and deserted his ship.
- He enlisted in the AIF in Sydney and sailed for the Western Front as a gunner in the 4th Division Artillery Column, but they arrived to France only in January 1919.
- Returning to Australia he worked as a labourer in Sydney.
- Charles Bockmelder, a seaman from Riga, was seafaring in the South Pacific already at the end of the nineteenth century. He came to Australia in 1901 and continued working on the ships.
- Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he served on the Western Front with the 34th Battalion, where he injured his leg and was returned to Australia.
- After the war he worked as a labourer in Sydney.
- Peter Pannel, an Estonian seaman from Arensburg (now Kuressaare on Saaremaa Island), came to Australia in 1914.
- He enlisted in the AIF in January 1918 in Sydney, but was discharged soon. His service records have not been found.
- After the war he continued seafaring from Sydney, but after 1920 disappears from the records.
John Oscar Williams
- John Oscar Williams enlisted in the AIF in January 1918 too and was discharged soon after. His service records have not been found.
Read more on the blog