Alexander Paul Sank


Russian spelling

Александр Абрамович Цанк

Born 4.08.1895

Place Aleksandrovsk (Zaporozhe), Ekaterinoslav, Ukraine

Ethnic origin Jewish / Russian

Religion Russian Orthodox & Russian Jewish (sic)

Father Abram Sank

Mother Elizabeth Sank

Residence before arrival at Australia Served in the Russian Army for 1 year

Arrived at Australia
from Port Dairen via Japan
on 9.10.1913
per St Albans
disembarked at Brisbane

Residence before enlistment Rockhampton, Brisbane

Occupation 1915 motor mechanic, 1918 engineer, 1919 motor driver, 1920 tram guard, motor engineer

Service 1
service number 2851
enlisted 24.07.1915
POE Rockhampton, Qld
unit 25th Battalion, 9th Battalion
rank Private
place Western Front, 1916
casualties WIA 1916
final fate RTA 31.08.1916
discharged 8.11.1916 MU

Service 2 (Home service)
enlisted 28.08.1917
discharged 19.03.1918

Naturalisation 1920

Residence after the war Brisbane, Halifax, Brisbane, Ipswich, Sydney, 1921-22 Harbin, China; 1922 returned to Russia, live din Khabarovsk, Novosibirsk, arrested in 1951, was in GULAG till 1956.

Materials

Digitised naturalisation (NAA)

Digitised service records (NAA)

Digitised Embarkation roll entry (AWM)

Digitised alien registration (NAA)

Blog article

Russian

English

Newspaper articles

Central Queenslanders in England. - The Capricorn, Rockhampton, 29 July 1916, p. 21

From Russian Anzacs in Australian History:

The front around Armentières was described as a 'nursery sector' since it was supposedly quiet, but many Australians experienced their baptism by fire almost as soon as they arrived. On 20 April [1916 ...] the farmhouse and outbuildings at Rouge de Bout, where 9th Battalion's C Company was billeted, received a direct hit under heavy shelling, which killed and wounded many men. C Company included many Russians: Akim Petroff, who was severely wounded in the knee and hands, was evacuated to England and had his right leg amputated; Nicholas Sholmatoff and Alexander Sank were also severely wounded. All three were repatriated to Australia. Lavrrenty Rogojnekoff was the only one of this group to escape from this shelling with only minor injuries, but a few weeks later at Sailly he sustained more serious wounds. These were the first Russian Anzac casualties on the Western Front.

[...] Beyond that, though, it [discharge certificate] also took on a spiritual significance. 'I'm, justly, highly proud in possession' of it, Alexander Sank wrote, seeking its speedy return from officials. This again was in connection with a naturalisation application, which Sank was making as he was in trouble with the police in Sydney for not registering as an alien: 'His excuse was that being a returned soldier, even though Russian, he did not think it necessary'. The police dealt with many other such cases leniently, but not Sank's. Major Jones, the Investigation branch director, wrote, 'A perusal of the police file showed that despite warnings, this man, then a tram conductor, took no notice, and failed to register, treating the police generally, both by word and deed, most insolently, and they were most desirous of processing against him'. With two years of army service, Sank clearly considered the demand to register as an alien to be an insult to his Anzac pride. He was prosecuted and fined 10 shillings.