Morga, Airikka, Prap, Forsblom

April 20, 2017

Stefan Morga

  • Stefan Morga, a Pole from Częstochowa, came to Sydney in 1915 and worked as a blacksmith.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in March 1917, but deserted a month later.
  • In 1922, as a result of a confrontation, he killed another Russian immigrant in Cairns, and was wounded himself, becoming blind. He was sentenced to hard labour for life, but was later released due to his blindness. In 1946 his vision returned and he worked in Wongaville Colliery in NSW.

Kansta Airikka

  • Kansta Airikka, a Finnish ship’s carpenter from Vyborg area, came to Australia in 1913.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Kempsey, NSW, and allocated to the 1st Pioneer Battalion, he missed embarkation. Moving to Victoria, he reenlisted, but was discharged a month later.
  • After the war he moved to Sydney, working as a carpenter. During WWII he enlisted in the AIF, worked in the Army workshop, and died in an incident while serving in 1940.

Michael Prap

  • Michael Prap, a Polish seaman from Warsaw, came to Port Pirie in South Australia in March 1917 and enlisted a few days later.
  • He served with the 43rd Battalion on the Western Front. He was wounded for the first time in April 1918, but continued his service. In July 1918 at the battle for Hamel he was severely wounded for the second time, was evacuated to England and had his leg amputated.
  • After the war he lived in South Australia.

Swen Walter Forsblom

  • Swen Walter Forsblom, a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors (Helsinki), like Prap came to Port Pirie in South Australia in March 1917 and enlisted a few days later.
  • He served with the 48th Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he continued working as a seaman and labourer. During WWII he enlisted in the AIF and served in the garrison battalion.

Walters, Berg, Hellman, Harast

April 17, 2017

Philip Walters

  • Philip Walters, a Jewish man from Ludza in Latvia, emigrated to Western Australia with his relatives as a teenager; some of them changed their original surname, Pasvalsky, to Walters. Philip worked in Perth as a tailor.
  • Before enlisting in the AIF he was a sergeant major, working on troop training. Two of his uncles, Louis Pasvalsky and Isidore Walters, enlisted in the army earlier, and Louis, aged 19, was killed in September 1916, at the battle for Mouquet Farm. In 1917, when Philip was 22, he enlisted himself and served on the Western Front with the 26th Battalion. During an operation to the east of Mont St Quentin, near Peronne, on 3rd September 1918, he was engaged, according to his recommendation for award, ‘with a bombing party in bombing the enemy out of a portion of trench required to establish our line. His officer being killed early in the operation, he took charge of his party, and when it was held up by heavy machine gun fire, he decided to go forward himself, with one volunteer, to attack the position. By great courage and daring, he attacked and dispersed the enemy, thus allowing his party to establish a post at the required position’. For his heroism he was awarded a Military Medal.
  • Philip married an Australian woman, Fanny Morris, before his departure to the Western Front, but she died in 1921. Later he married Sylvia Fay and lived in Perth, working as a financier. During WWII he served in the AIF in the audit section.

Arnold Berg

  • Arnold Berg, whose original name was Arne Kanttinen, was a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors (Helsinki). He came to Australia in February 1917 and enlisted a few days later.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Adelaide, he served with the 43rd Battalion on the Western Front. In May 1918 he was gassed and spent several months in English hospitals.
  • While recovering in London, he married an English girl, Carrie Ethel Robinson, and returned to Australia with his wife. After the war he was farming in Greenock and Kielpa in South Australia, raising a large family. During WWII he enlisted in the AIF and served with the 5th Volunteer Defense Corps Battalion, while his son Arnold Hjalmar also served in the AIF, being taken POW by the Japanese and working on the infamous Burma railway.

Edward Hellman

  • Edward Hellman, an Estonian from Dorpat (Tartu), was seafaring for several years, before he came to Western Australia in 1913. He worked in Australia as a sleeper hewer.
  • He tried to enlist for the first time in the AIF in March 1916, but was rejected as medically unfit. In March 1917 he was accepted and served with the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade on the Western Front.
  • Returning to Australia, he settled in Sydney with his wife Gertrude, working as a restaurant keeper and chef. During WWII he enlisted in the AIF and served in the 1st Motor Regiment.

Alexander Harast

  • Alexander Harast, a sailor from Revel (Tallinn) in Estonia, came to Australia about 1913 and by 1917 lived in Ravine in New South Wales.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he was allocated to the machine gun reinforcements, but in August 1917 he deserted the camp.
  • The following years he spent hiding in the Snowy and Blue Mountains in Victoria and New South Wales. He lived in caves and to survive stole weapons, blankets, and food from settlers; later he started stealing horses. He used several aliases and his description in Police Gazette mentioned that he ‘speaks several languages, fond of sketching and writing religious passages in his notebook’. The police apprehended him several times; he served several years of hard labour, but as soon as he was released the crimes resumed. In 1934, when he was terrorising the Nawendoc area of New South Wales, a policeman whom he threatened shot him dead.

Wilenius, Corsair, Ipp

April 14, 2017

John Vaina Wilenius

  • John Vaina Wilenius, a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors (Helsinkli), sailed around America, the West Indies and Africa. He lived in Sydney, working as a rigger.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served with Field Squadron Engineers in Egypt as a sapper.
  • After the war he lived in Queensland and probably moved to America in 1922.

Alexander Corsair

  • Alexander Corsair, born in St Petersburg, came to Newcastle in Australia in 1887, most likely as a seaman. He moved to Western Australia, where he worked as a miner and mining carpenter. He became part of the tough world of outback mining communities, living in the mining camps and fighting for the rights of his mates.
  • Although he was over fifty, he enlisted in the AIF and was allocated to the tunnelling companies as a sapper, but seven months later he was discharged as medically unfit.
  • After the war he continued working as a carpenter for the railway department.

Joe Ipp

  • Joe Ipp, a Jewish man from Kovno (Kaunas) in Lithuania, emigrated with his family to South Africa. In 1914 he came to Melbourne and worked as a fruit merchant.
  • Enlisting in the AIF he served as a gunner and a driver in the 1st Artillery Brigade on the Western Front and was discharged in England after the war.
  • In 1921 he returned to Australia, where he married Ethel Fabricant and continued working in the fruit business.

Cooper, Rayzner, Uppeneeck, Solomon

March 16, 2017

Roland Arthur Cooper

  • Roland Arthur Cooper came from a family of a British engineer who was working in Russia. He was born in Mariupol in Ukraine and later lived in Volsk, but in 1909 the whole family moved to Sydney. Cooper was trained as a draughtsman, and with the outbreak of the war, he served in the Militia in Sydney before his parents allowed him to enlist in the AIF in 1917, when he was nineteen.
  • He served as a gunner and a driver in the artillery regiments on the Western Front in 1918.
  • Returning to Sydney after the war, he worked as a newsagent, taking over his father’s business. In 1932 he married Eileen Emily Moss.

Alexander Rayzner

  • Alexander Rayzner, a Jewish man from Odessa, had lived in Hong Kong for four years prior to his arrival in Australia. Coming to Australia in 1913, he worked as a tailor in Sydney.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he was assigned to the Light Trench Mortar Battery, serving in a Depot, and was discharged half a year later as medically unfit.
  • After his discharge Rayzner moved to Victoria, living in Melbourne and Armadale, where he settled with Ethel Bennett in 1918 and continued his occupation of a tailor.

Nicholai Charles Uppeneeck

  • Nicholai Charles Uppeneeck, a Latvian from Riga, who had some experience of service on the submarines in the Russian Navy, came to Australia in 1911.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Adelaide, he was discharged four months later as medically unfit.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Ettie Lavinia Grigsby, and raised a large family, working as a bicycle mechanic.

Gilbert Solomon

  • Gilbert Solomon, a Jewish man from Siberia, came to Australia around 1911 and settled in Perth.
  • He was discharged from the AIF soon after his enlistment as medically unfit.
  • After the war he lived in Katanning, working as a tailor.

Kouvaldin, Bridihin, Bowson, Doposky

March 14, 2017

Alexis Kouvaldin

  • Alexis Kouvaldin, a Russian seaman from Moscow, served for 5 years in the Russian Navy before he came to Australia in 1916.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he served with the Australian Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company on the Western Front.
  • After the war lived in Newcastle, working in the port.

Alexis Bridihin

  • Alexis Bridihin, a Russian blacksmith from Orel, came to Brisbane via the Russian Far East in 1911. He found employment at the Ipswich railway workshops. His wife Tatiana and their children joined him four months later.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Ipswich, he was allocated to the Australian Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company, where Alexis Kouvaldin was also serving. He served on the Western Front to the end of the war.
  • After the war the Bridihin family with three young children moved to Wamuran, where they were engaged in growing fruit. Being among the first settlers, they had a local road named after them as Bridihin’s Road. Their youngest son Alexis was killed in a tragic accident when he was sixteen, while the elder son Boris served in the AIF during WWII in New Guinea.

Abraham Bowson

  • Abraham Bowson, a Jewish man from Lomza in Poland, came to Australia in 1907. By the time of his enlistment in the AIF he married to a woman named Jetta and was working as a dealer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he served with the 3rd Battalion on the Western Front. In April 1918, at the battle for Hazebrouck, he was wounded in the foot and back, and was returned to Australia.
  • After the war he worked as a baker and cook. During WWII he enlisted and served in a garrison battalion.

Samuel Doposky

  • Samuel Doposky was probably Jewish. He came from Warsaw in Poland and worked at a smelter in South Australia.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Adelaide, but deserted two days later.
  • He stayed in Australia after the war, being listed among passengers travelling from Melbourne to Brisbane in 1928. Any other records about him have not been found so far.

Kallio, Kataja, Nyland, Lazarus

March 12, 2017

Evert Aleksanter Kallio

  • Evert Aleksanter Kallio, a Finnish seaman from Abo, came to Brisbane in January 1917 and enlisted in the AIF a few days later.
  • He served with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment in Egypt.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Mildred May, and lived with his family in Brisbane, working as a labourer. He got sick with TB and died in 1936, leaving seven young children.

John Kataja

  • John Kataja, a Finnish seaman from Wasa, enlisted in the AIF together with Kallio.
  • They served together with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment in Egypt.
  • After the war he returned to Finland and served in the Karelian Guard Regiment there.

William Nyland

  • William Nyland, a Finnish seaman from Abo, came to Newcastle in 1912 and worked as a mechanic in the mines.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in West Maitland, but was discharged as medically unfit three months later.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Ethel, and lived with his family in Newcastle, working as a miner. Their elder son and daughter served in the AIF during WWII.

Isaac Lazarus

  • Isaac Lazarus, a Jewish man from ‘Nienstaught, Russia’ (most likely this was Taurage in Lithuania) came to Australia around 1890. First he took up peddling in South Australia, where he married Johanna Boon in 1894. Soon after that they moved to Ballarat and then to Bendigo, where he worked as a dealer. They had eight children and three of his sons born in Australia served in the AIF.
  • Although he was in his forties, Isaac enlisted in the AIF and sailed with the 58th Battalion to England, from where he was returned to Australia because of old age.
  • After the war he was engaged in poultry and pig farming and the family supplemented their income by keeping a boarding house.

Orgeson, Soderholm, Erickson

March 10, 2017

Christian Orgeson

  • Christian Orgeson, a seaman from Estonia, had a Danish father and a Finnish mother. He came to Sydney in 1917 and worked as a sailmaker.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served with the 35th Battalion on the Western Front. A month after his arrival, at the battle for Broodseinde near Ypres, he was wounded in the hand and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney working as motor mechanic, but in the 1920s he moved to America, continuing his occupation of a seaman.

Otto Harold Soderholm

  • Otto Harold Soderholm, a Finnish seaman from Abo, came to Australia in 1914 and worked in Victoria as a farm labourer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Warrnambool, he served with the 21st Battalion on the Western Front. In July 1918, being affected by a gas shell explosion, he left his unit and was court martialled, but the sentence was remitted and he was sent back to the trenches.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Nellie Doreen Shepherdson, and lived with his family in Fish Creek and Alberton, Victoria, working at a cheese factory. During WWII he served in the garrison battalion.

John Konrad Erickson

  • John Konrad Erickson, a Finnish seaman, enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in Trentham, New Zealand, and served in Gallipoli. Falling ill, he was returned to New Zealand and came to Australia.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Port Pirie, he sailed with the 10th Battalion to the Western Front, but became ill in England and was returned to Australia.
  • After the discharge, in March 1918, he sailed to the USA, where he registered as a native of Sweden for Army service there. His trail disappears after that.

Bell, Krauklys, Lundfend, Prinz

March 9, 2017

Isaak Bell

  • Isaak Bell, a Jewish man from Krasnoiarsk in Siberia, came to Australia in 1909 and worked as a watchmaker in Melbourne.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he arrived with the 21st Battalion on the Western Front, but three months later, being mistreated by other soldiers, he left his unit, was caught and court martialled. He had resolved not to stay in his unit, had a self-inflicted wound, and then left the unit again. After he was caught the cycle continued, with another court martial, a self-wounding, AWL, and a new court martial. After the war his term was suspended and he was finally returned to Australia.
  • After the war he married and lived in Sydney, working on the wharves.

John Robert Krauklys

  • John Robert Krauklys, a Latvian seaman from Riga, came to Sydney in January 1917 and enlisted three days later.
  • He came to the Western Front with the 18th battalion, but was later transferred to the 37th Battalion, where his cousin Ian Rosing served. He was killed in August 1918 at the battle for Peronne, being mentioned in dispatches for his bravery.

Wilhelm Lundfend

  • Wilhelm Lundfend, another Latvian seaman from Riga, came to Australia in 1916 and enlisted in the AIF together with Krauklys.
  • He served with the 18th Battalion on the Western Front. After several AWLs, he was wounded in the hand in August 1918 and was returned to Australia.
  • While in England he married Clara Maud Millbood, but his wife did not follow him to Australia, where he lived in Sydney, working as a cleaner.

Carl August Prinz

  • Carl August Prinz, a Latvian seaman from Vindava (Ventspils), came to Australia in 1909 and enlisted together with Krauklys and Lundfend.
  • He served with the 18th Battalion on the Western Front to the very end of the war.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney and then in Launceston, working as a carpenter.

Goldberg, Platkin, Hocklind, Odenberg

March 8, 2017

John Goldberg

  • John Goldberg, a Jewish man from Grodno in Belarus, came to Australia in 1904, at the age of 14, to join his relatives there. He lived in outback New South Wales, in Gundagai, Harden, Adelong, Burrowa, and Dubbo, working as a draper, running a shop with his brother George.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he arrived in England with the reinforcements to the 36th Battalion. He developed nephritis and was returned to Australia, where he served in a medical unit.
  • After the war he married Nellie Rosenberg and lived in Sydney, working as a fruiterer and carrier.

Haim Platkin

  • Haim Platkin, a Jewish man from Rogachev in Belarus, emigrated to England at the end of the nineteenth century. He worked as a theatrical manager and came to Australia in June 1914 with The Cherniawsky Brothers, a group of Russian-Jewish instrumentalists.
  • After participating in fundraising for patriotic endeavours, he enlisted in the AIF himself. He was sent to the N.C.O. school and Duntroon College, but, boycotted by other servicemen as a ‘Russian’, he went to the front with an artillery unit. While in England he applied for transfer to the 42nd Battalion (Jewish) of the Imperial Army.
  • After the war he lived in Syria, running ‘Anzac Harry’s Bar’.

Oscar Hocklind

  • Oscar Hocklind, a Finnish seaman and blacksmith from Helsingfors (Helsinki), most likely came to Australia during the war.
  • He enlisted in the AIF with another Baltic seaman, Adolf Odenberg. A week later he was discharged and continued sailing, working on American vessels.

Adolf Odenberg

  • Adolf Odenberg, an Estonian seaman and blacksmith from Tallinn, came to Australia in November 1916.
  • Two months later he enlisted in the army, but was discharged soon afterwards.
  • During the following year he sailed in Australian American waters, and died in 1918 in San Francisco.

Trinkoon, Seuff, Gusaroff, Kairi

February 12, 2017

Jack Trinkoon

  • Jack Trinkoon, a young man from a Russian-Polish family from Riga, came to Brisbane with his parents and siblings in 1911. He worked as a station hand, and then as a carpenter in Brisbane.
  • He first enlisted when he was just 17 in December 1915, but got into trouble and was discharged after being court martialled for desertion. As soon as he was released, he re-enlisted again and served in Egypt with the 14th Australian General Hospital.
  • After the war he lived in Brisbane, working as a cabinetmaker and motor body builder. In 1921 he married an Australian girl, Matilda Jane Stokes. Their son Thomas John served in the AIF during WWII.

Samuel Seuff

  • Samuel Seuff, a Jewish man from Shiauliai in Lithuania, visited Australia during the war as a seaman.
  • He first enlisted in the AIF in January 1916, but was discharged a few days later. During the next visit in December 1916 he enlisted again and was sent to Europe with the 45th battalion. While aboard the ship he attempted to commit suicide and was returned to Australia and discharged.
  • Upon return he lived in Sydney, working as a wharf labourer.

Alexander Gusaroff

  • Alexander Gusaroff came from a family of tugboat pilots, in Lebiazh’e near St Petersburg. He worked on English ships, landing in Australia in October 1916.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney he served with the 55th Battalion on the Western Front suffering heavy wounds to his legs during the Hindenburg Line Offensive in September 1918.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney working as a labourer.

Andrew Kairi

  • Andrew Kairi, a Latvian seaman from Libava (Liepaja), came to Western Australia in 1916 and enlisted in the AIF.
  • He sailed with the 44th Battalion to the Western Front, but was diagnosed with tuberculosis while in England and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he had some troubles with law as a result of drunken brawls in pubs and succumbed to death in 1926.