Alexis Kopin


Russian spelling

Алексей Григорьевич Копин

Born 12.1888

Place Avustava (Augustov?), Poland (naturalisation)

Ethnic origin Russian? Polish?

Religion Roman Catholic

Father Gregory Kopin, in Minsk

Arrived at Australia
from Vladivostok
on 7.01.1912
per Nikko Maru
disembarked at Brisbane

Residence before enlistment Fairymead Sugar Plantation, Doolbi Sugar Mill

Occupation Carpenter

Service (Depot)
service number 66813
enlisted 16.06.1917
POE Melbourne
unit 35th MG Company
rank Private
discharged 28.09.1917 not likely to become an efficient soldier

Naturalisation 1914

Residence after the war 1917 Brisbane, left for Russia 31.12.1917 per Aki Maru

Materials

Digitised naturalisation (NAA)

Digitised service records (NAA)

Military intelligence file (NAA)

From Russian Anzacs in Australian History:

The case of the carpenter Alexis Kopin, a Russian from Poland, illustrates some of the difficulties Russians might encounter at the hands of training staff officers in military depots. Kopin enlisted in June 1917 in Melbourne, and started his service in the machine-gun company at Seymour Camp; but less than two months later he applied for a discharge: 'I find training difficult with my language and temperament. I desire to be discharged that I may go to Russia [and] there enlist.' In the orderly room, reported his commander, he stated 'that he would not soldier any more', preferring 'to enlist at any Russian unit being formed in Australia'. The commander appealed to headquarters: 'Cannot something be done to stop these foreigners enlisting in the Australian Forces particularly in technical units like Machine Gunners where a man has to have a far more intelligent mind than for other branches of the service. Kopin has a distinct German appearance.' His 'German appearance' apart, camp authorities were also suspicious because he 'was supposed to carry a knife' and had 'a suit of civilian clothes'; further incriminating material was 'some private correspondence in his possession in some foreign language'. Kopin, with his Russian papers, was taken off to the Intelligence section and, after being interrogated there, was discharged. A Victorian Intelligence officer sent a warning to colleagues in Queensland, where Kopin intended to go, that 'he has nearly completed a boat 34 feet long which he intends to use, and I am always suspicious of German looking Russians, who go to Seymour, learn machine gunnery, and then get discharged'. Did the Intelligence people fear that, with his newly acquired knowledge of machine-gunnery, Kopin would launch an attack on the Australian navy from his boat?