Deonck, Boryss, Shuplakoff, Tober

February 28, 2015

William Deonck

  • William Deonck was born in Lida in Belarus; his original surname is unknown but his first name, as remembered by his family, was probably Thaddeus, which suggests a Belarusian or Polish origin. He came to Australia as a sailor when the war had already broken out, and deserted his ship in Newcastle.
  • A few days later he enlisted to the AIF and landed at Gallipoli in August 1915 with the 17th Battalion; he was one of the last to leave when the peninsula was evacuated. For his bravery there he was awarded a Military Medal. His commander, Lieutenant-Colonel E.T. Martin, wrote in his recommendation for the award, ‘As a bomber on Quinn’s Post, where bombing was exceptionally heavy, he proved himself reliable, keen and energetic. His demeanour among his comrades is invaluable owing to his cheerful disposition under the most adverse circumstances.’ In July 1916 he was wounded in the left shoulder at Pozieres, on the Western Front. Recovering in England, he was trusted to serve in the Provost Corps.
  • In London, he married an English girl, Kathleen Spinks, and returned with his wife to Australia. The settled in Sydney where he worked a motor engineer and painter.

Boleslav Boryss

  • Boleslav Boryss, a Pole from Warsaw, came to Western Australia in 1912 after service in the Russian Army. He worked as a mill-hand at the Mornington Mills.
  • Boryss served in the 28th Battalion at Gallipoli and on the Western Front, where he was wounded in the knee and hip at Pozieres in July 1916 and evacuated to Australia.
  • After the war he married a Russian woman and settled in Sydney where he worked as fitter and second-hand dealer.

John Shuplakoff

  • John Shuplakoff (his true name was Ivan Shokhin), came from a village near Tver in Central Russia. Arriving in Brisbane in 1911 from the Far East, he moved to Broken Hill and Adelaide, working as a labourer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he joined the 27th Battalion and fought at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. He was wounded at the battle for Pozieres a few days after Deonck and Boryss and died of wounds.
  • His father, a peasant from Turchaninovo, was found after the war and received his son’s medals.

Albert Michael Tober

  • Albert Michael Tober – he enlisted in the AIF as Michael Tober – was born in Volyn Province in Ukraine and probably had some Russian German heritage. He came to South Australia 1913 as a seaman. He worked in Adelaide as a blacksmith, motor driver and mechanic.
  • Enlisting in the AIF he served at Gallipoli with the 10th Battalion. During the service he became sick and was returned to Australia as medically unfit. In 1917 he reenlisted but served in the depot only.
  • He married an Australian girl, Lily Teresa Lawler, during the war, and lived in New South Wales, making an unsuccessful attempt to settle in a soldier settlement in 1919.

Haimson, Azieff, Schedlin-Czarlinski

February 26, 2015

David Haimson

  • David Haimson, a Jewish man from Beltsy in Bessarabia (now Moldova), came to Australia in 1911. He lived in Melbourne and in Bendigo with his brother Louis, working as a presser and hawker of drapery.
  • Enlisting in the AIF he deserted two months later, while still in the depot.
  • No trace is found about him after that.

Coultschouc Azieff

  • Coultschouc Azieff was an Ossetian from the village Humalag in the North Caucasus. He came to Australia from the Russian Far East on the eve of war.
  • He was the first Ossetian to join the AIF. Enlisting in Brisbane in the 26th Battalion he fought in the Gallipoli and on the Western Front. In October 1916 he died of wounds during the battle near Ypres.
  • After the war the Australian authorities managed to find his relatives in Ossetia and send them his military awards.

George Vincent De Schedlin-Czarlinski

  • George Vincent De Schedlin-Czarlinski was born in Warsaw in the noble cultured family, his mother was Belgian Baroness. His father Victor came to Australia in 1883 and worked as a hydrologist and engineer for the New South Wales Government. Four-year-old George came to Australia two years later with his mother and sister. In spite some financial troubles experienced by his father George received good education in Sydney (he spoke English, Polish and French) and later worked as a school teacher.
  • Although enlisting in the AIF in February 1915 George sailed to the active service more than a year later, as he had heart trouble. Nevertheless he reached battlefront in October 1916, but soon was transferred to England as medically unfit and worked as assistant in the military hospital.
  • After the war he lived in Mittagong.

Bartleson, Loosgie, Vasiliev

February 25, 2015

Rudolf Bartleson

  • Rudolf Bartleson, a Latvian engine fitter and sailor, came to Australia not long before the war.
  • He enlisted in Cairns, but did not embark with his regiment and no further records about his service were noted.
  • He continued his occupation as a sailor, moving to New York where he married and naturalised.

Stephen Loosgie

  • Stephen Loosgie, a Ukrainian, was born in the village in Chernigov Province. He came to Brisbane from the Far East in 1914 and worked on the railway construction sites.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served at Gallipoli and the Western Front with the 26th Battalion. In March 1917 he was wounded in the forearm in battle for Lagnicourt. Returning to the trenches after recovery, he left his unit, was caught and court martialled as a deserter. He pleaded not guilty, explaining at the trial that his 3 brothers were killed while serving in the Russian Army and his old father needed his help. His commander attested him as a ‘good man in the line’. Loosgie was found not guilty in desertion and returned to the trenches. In November 1917 he was gassed at Passchendaele and in July 1918 he was wounded again, shrapnel fractured his right arm. After that he was finally returned to Australia.
  • He made his living opening a fruit shop on Logan Road in South Brisbane, at the centre of the Russian colony there. In 1924 he made an attempt to return to Russia, but did not go further than Harbin, finally returning back to Australia.

Theodor Vasiliev

  • Theodor Vasiliev was a sailor from Novaia Kalisha near St Petersburg (Petrograd).
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Melbourne, he came to Gallipoli with the 23rd Battalion in August 1915. In November he was severely wounded in the shoulder, invalided back to Australia and discharged. Although he was granted a pension, he made one more attempt to enlist in the Army, but was found medically unfit.
  • He died in a sanatorium in Heidelberg near Melbourne in 1924 and his Australian friends Mr and Mrs Tracey placed an advertisement in an Australian newspaper, commemorating his death.

Granit, Sipan, Petroff

February 21, 2015

Rainer Granit

  • Rainer Granit was born in Kotka in Finland as Einar Matias Lautala. According to family legend he had to flee his country because of his uncompromising honesty in a court case. As a result in 1911 he landed in South Australia and made his living as a farm labourer and a seaman.
  • Enlisting in the 25th Battalion in Townsville he served at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. He was wounded at the battle for Broodseinde at Ypres in October 1917 and his left hand was amputated.
  • Returning to Australia, he became a coach painter. In 1920 he went to England, married an English girl, Amy May Green, brought her back to Australia and settled at Cummins in South Australia. Both their children served in the AIF during WWII.

Hugo Sipan

  • Hugo Sipan, a Latvian seaman, came to Australia around 1912 and continued his seafaring life, working on coastal and ocean ships.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Brisbane but any records after that about him wane; obviously he left the Army soon after enlistment.

Jackow Petroff

  • Jackow Petroff grew up in the village of Tokmak in the Tien Shan foothills, central Asia (now Kirghizia); although ethnically Russian, he knew Turkish as well. He served for three years in the Russian Cavalry as a Cossack and in 1912 came to Western Australia with another Russian. He worked in Holyoake district, Karridale and Collie on the railway construction as a sleeper cutter and hewer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served at Gallipoli and the Western Front in the 11th and 51st battalions.
  • In 1919 he was returned to Australia and seems to disappear from Australian records. It is quite likely that he returned to Russia where his widowed mother lived.

Gulevich, Carlson, Vengert

February 17, 2015

Nicholas Gulevich

  • Nicholas Gulevich from Odessa came to Brisbane in 1910 via the Far East. In spite of his training as a fitter, upon arrival he worked as a labourer on the Kannagur and Blackbutt railway line, north-west of Brisbane and then found a job as a tailer at a sawmill near Benarkin in the same area; by the time of the war he had become a sugar cane farmer in Cairns area.
  • Enlisting in Cairns, he sailed to Egypt with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment and served at the Western Front as a gunner. In 1918 he was invalided back to Australia after suddenly developing traumatic neurasthenia. His medical history has only a brief reference to its possible causes, stating that he was ‘well … until April 1918 – mistaken for spy – very nervy’.
  • He recovered in Australia and worked as an overseer in North Queensland shire councils.

Carl Carlson

  • Carl Carlson, a Latvian seaman from Riga, toiled the sea since his youth and claimed to serve as a marine in the American Navy. Landing in South Australia in 1909 he worked on coastal vessels, and later moved to Newcastle, where he worked as miner.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he was discharged two months later on medical grounds.

Jack Vengert

  • Jack Vengert, a cook from Ukraine, came to Australia in 1913 from the Far East and settled in Sydney.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he sailed to Gallipoli with the 18th Battalion. They landed at Gallipoli in August 1915; a few days later, during a fierce engagement at close range in the battle forHill 60, Vengert was bayoneted in the wrist. He was returned to Australia and worked as a railway watchman at Dora Creek Bridge near Newcastle. There he met Emma Adeline Gudshus, a fisherman’s daughter. They married and had a baby, but the marriage did not work; they separated, and Jack enlisted in the AIF once again. He sailed to England in July 1918 but arrived to the Western Front already after the armistice.
  • Returning to Australia, he had several turbulent years in Sydney running a ‘gyx-shop’ (illicit wine bar), allegedly selling ‘sly grog’ and being involved in a couple of court cases with prostitutes. Finally he left for Brisbane where he opened a fruit shop on Stanley Street, the focal point of the Russian-Jewish community. Later he returned to Sydney, making his living as a flat proprietor.

Kozakovshonok, Nesterinko, Bortzell

February 10, 2015

Vlas Kozakovshonok

  • Vlas Kozakovshonok (in Australian documents his name was misspelt in all possible ways) was a Russian seaman from Riga.
  • He came to Australia on the eve of the war and, joining the AIF in Sydney, sailed to Gallipoli with reinforcements to the 4th Battalion. He was killed a couple of days after the landing at the Lone Pine battle of August 1915.
  • Kozakovshonok’s parents in Riga were found in 1917 and received an Australian pension.

Phillip Nesterinko

  • Phillip Nesterinko was a seaman and locksmith from Konotop in Ukraine.
  • He enlisted in the AIF on the same day as Kozakovshonok, but Nesterinko’s service was short: he was discharged a month later on medical grounds by his own request and continued to work as a seaman.

Samuel Bortzell

  • The origins of Samuel Bortzell are a bit of mystery. Near the end of the war, when he took part in the recruiting campaign, he posed as a ‘Frenchman bred and born’ who came from Noumea to enlist in the AIF, but according to his enlistment application he was a Jewish man born in Irkutsk in Siberia. By the time of the outbreak of the war he lived in Sydney with his father.
  • He was just 21 when he enlisted in the AIF as an interpreter. In August 1915 he landed at Gallipoli with the 17th Battalion. A month later he was injured when a bomb exploded a yard from him and spent several months in hospitals. He continued his service on the Western Front where he was severely wounded at the battle of Passchendaele in October 1917; as a result his leg was amputated.
  • Returning to Australia he took part in the recruiting campaign, posing as a recipient of the Military Medal and Distinguished Conduct Medal, neither of which he had. For years he worked as a lift driver in Sydney and several times attracted the attention of the press due to his extramarital liaisons.

Chirvin, Rosalieff, Krantz

February 8, 2015

Peter Chirvin

  • Peter Chirvin was born on Sakhalin Island and worked as a newspaper reporter before coming to Brisbane in October 1914.
  • Three months later he enlisted in the AIF and sailed to Gallipoli with the reinforcements to the 9th Battalion. He continued his service on the Western Front in the 49th Battalion. In September 1916 he was wounded in the wrist at Mouquet Farm while serving as a stretcher-bearer. He was recommended for an award but did not receive it. After his second casualty in September 1918 he was awarded the Military Medal for his work as a stretcher-bearer during the St Quentin battle. He returned to Australia in April 1919 at the time of Red Flag riots in Brisbane and, being ‘ragged owing to being a Russian’ by other soldiers, committed suicide aboard the ship.
  • Chirvin’s story was told for the first time in ‘Russian Anzacs in Australian History’ and recently presented in the One Hundred Stories project at Monash University.

Nicholas Rosalieff

  • Nicholas Rosalieff was born in Samara Province near the Volga River. Being a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party – working for radical political change in the Russian Empire – he was arrested in 1906 and exiled to Siberia. In 1910 he fled Siberia and landed in Brisbane in 1911. Although working in Russia as a printer and locksmith, in Australia he had to transform himself into a cane-cutter.
  • Enlisting in the AIF together with Chirvin, he landed at Gallipoli in June 1915, but was soon returned to Australia for medical reasons. Waiting for reallocation he left the camp and was declared a deserter, ineligible for war medals. His reluctance to serve in the army was probably due to the fact that the Russian Socialists opposed imperialist war and discouraged Russians in Australia from serving in the Army.
  • After the February 1917 revolution he left Australia for Russia, joined the Communist Party and made a career as a Soviet public servant. In 1930 he was posted as a Soviet trade representative to Korea where he died two years later. He is buried in the famous Novodeviche Cemetery in Moscow.

Albert Krantz

  • Albert Krantz grew up in Novopavlovka in Ekaterinoslav Province. In 1905, at the age of 13, he came to Australia with his elder brother Samuel Krantz, following Jewish chain migration. He learnt the skill of a carpenter working in a Broken Hill mine, later moving to Sydney.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, Krantz landed in Gallipoli with the 17th Battalion. Later he wrote: ‘I landed on Gallipoli several days after the original landing and served there until the final evacuation’. He continued his service on the Western Front where he was severely wounded in April 1918 in the battle for Amiens. He received a gun shot wound to the right wrist and was evacuated to Australia.
  • Returning to Australia he learned the trade of electroplating and worked in Sydney. His wife Emily died in 1925, leaving their two young children in his care.