Alexander Mike


Alexander Mike
Courtesy of Mike's family

Alias original name Alexander Maiko

Russian spelling

Александр Григорьевич Майко

Born 4.08.1892

Place Zatitova Sloboda, Igumen (Cherven), Minsk, Belarus

Ethnic origin Belarusian

Religion Church of England (at enlistment), Russian Orthodox

Father Gregory Maiko

Mother Anna Maiko

Family

Wife Florence May Gallard Mike, married 1924; daughter Beryl b. 1925, son Frank b.1926

Residence before arrival at Australia Left Russia in 1909, worked in Canada and USA

Arrived at Australia
from Canada via New Zealand
on 25.05.1915
per Marama
disembarked at Sydney

Residence before enlistment Nimitabel, Brisbane, Sydney

Occupation 1916 chauffeur, motor driver, 1920 and later: farmer

Service
service number 2986
enlisted 24.01.1916
POE Casula, NSW
unit 30th Battalion
rank Private, Lance Corporal
place Western Front, 1916-1918
casualties WIA 1918
final fate RTA 28.06.1918
discharged 21.11.1919

Naturalisation 1921

Residence after the war Springfield, near Gosford, Sydney, Gosford

Died 4.07.1960, Concord, Sydney

Materials

Naturalisation (NAA)

Digitised service records (NAA)

Digitised Embarkation roll entry (AWM)

Beryl Bowen archives, Gosford, NSW

Alexander Mike, The story of my life (as told to his wife, Florence May Gallard Mike, and recorded by her), 1957.

Alexander Mike [Biography].

Beryl Bowen, Alexander Mike - my father.

Beryl Bowen, Our Russian connection.

Florence Mike, letter to children, 30.03.1962.

Family tree on Ancestry.com

Publications

Елена Говор, Белорусские Анзаки, Białoruskie Zeszyty Historyczne, 2013, no. 40, c. 53-108.

Blog article

Russian

English

From Russian Anzacs in Australian History:

So, yes, finally they were coming home -- or at least returning to the country that was to become their home. Many of them had no other place to call home. That was how the Byelorussian Alexander Mike remembered it: 'In 1918 I was wounded in the chest at Corbie. I was 12 weeks in hospital in France, then 6 months in hospital at Harefield, England. I came back to Sydney a cot case and went straight to Randwick hospital. I was in hospital a total of 17 months-and-a-half and it was just like home after all that time.' These months in a hospital bed were the first period in his life that he was not working, that he was being looked after. It is not by chance that he kept photos of himself with hospital staff and other patients.

Mike was finally released from hospital and discharged from the army. He remembers: 'I tried several jobs but could not keep one as my wound would break out every 3 months. In 1920 I bought 15 acres of bush land at Springfield, Gosford. I cleared half and planted an orchard of orange trees. I had not seen oranges growing before. When I arrived in Springfield I bought a dog for company. I built a 16 x 7 foot shed ... and made a bed of saplings and wire netting. ... I had plenty of advice given me but I found out later it was only by hoboes who had nothing and had done nothing to improve themselves. Anyway, I cleared a few patches and planted potatoes and cabbages. The potatoes when ready were only worth 2/6 a cwt. and not worth digging. I thought of leaving the place, but in the meantime I got a job handy at £3.12.0 a week. That fixed me up a bit.'

He would keep planting his fruit-trees and experimenting with his vegetables for years to come. This was the eternal dream of a Byelorussian peasant -- to own a block of land. It had come true for Alexander Mike for the first time in his life here, in Australia. From now on this country was indeed becoming his home.