Zangey, Shlipnekoff, Brostrom, Poppel

June 30, 2015

Alexander Zangey

  • Alexander Zangey, an Ossetian from Vladikavkaz, came to Australia before the war and worked in Queensland as a labourer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served on the Western Front with an artillery division, having the ranks of gunner, acting corporal and driver. In November 1916 he was killed at the Somme.
  • After the war the Australian authorities made a number of unsuccessful attempts to find his family in Ossetia.

Conrad Shlipnekoff

  • Conrad Shlipnekoff, an engine fitter from Voznesensk near Vladimir in Central Russia, enlisted in the AIF in Brisbane.
  • He served with the 25th Battalion at Gallipoli and with the 49th Battalion on the Western Front. In November 1916 he received gun shot wounds to his side at the Somme and, after months in English hospitals, he was evacuated to Australia as medically unfit.
  • After the war he lived in Brisbane in Spring Hill and Wooloongabba.

John Brostrom 

  • John Brostrom was born in Svarto in Finland. He came to Australia in 1912, most likely as a seaman, and worked as a labourer in Bundaberg in Queensland and Grenfell in NSW.
  • He came to Gallipoli with the reinforcements to the 15th Battalion in October 1915. In November he fell ill with typhoid and was evacuated to Australia. Recovering, he returned to the service, arriving at the Western Front in June 1916. In August he was killed in the battle for Pozieres.
  • His father Fredrik Fritof Brostrom was found after the war in Finland.

Edward Poppel

  • Edward Poppel, an Estonian from Dago (Hiiumaa) Island, came to South Australia in 1911. He worked as a labourer in Edithburgh on the Yorke Peninsula.
  • He came to Gallipoli with the reinforcements to the 10th Battalion. In April 1916, on the way to the Western Front, he became sick with nephritis and pleurisy and was sent to an English hospital and then back to Australia.
  • After the war he served in the merchant navy, working in South Australia from Ceduna to Port Elliot, and was active in local RSSILA branches.

Gamson, Limbek, Pollejuke

June 28, 2015

Edgar Gamson

  • Edgar Gamson, a Frenchman born in Moscow, enlisted in the AIF in Brisbane.
  • With his 9th Battalion he served at Gallipoli, but upon return to Egypt he got sick and when discharged from the hospital became an illegal absentee.
  • He was never found.

Jack Limbek

  • Jack Limbek from Dago (Hiiumaa) Island in Estonia came to South Australia in 1910. He worked as a labourer and carpenter in the area between Quorn and Petersburg, as well as at Port Pirie.
  • Enlisiting in the AIF, he served with the 27th Battalion on the Western Front. In May 1916 he was court martialled for absence without leave, which was qualified as desertion. The sentence of three years was quashed in two weeks and Limbek was sent back to trenches. In November 1916 he was wounded in the right arm at the battle for Somme. In September 1917, at the Menin Gate battle, he was wounded for the second time, in the left hand, and evacuated to Australia as medically unfit.
  • After the war he lived in Port Pirie, working as a fisherman and occasionally getting into trouble with police as a result of excessive drinking.

Huon Pollejuke 

  • Huon Pollejuke had deserted from the Russian naval ship Gromoboi when it visited Australia to take part in the celebrations for Federation in 1901. At the time of desertion his name was recorded by the police as Ivan Polyxhonk, he also appeared in the documents as Pologouck and his original name can be reconstrusted as Ivan Poleshchuk, while in Australia he was known as Jack Pollock. He was a Ukrainian from ‘Ollenow, Podolia’, which probably was Olenevka in Podolsk Province. After his desertion, Pollejuke stayed in townships north-east of Melbourne and made trips to Tasmania and New South Wales. Later on he settled in Melbourne working as a kitchen hand and a cook.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he deserted three weeks later, probably finding the service too hard for him, as he was already not a young man.
  • The latest records about him relate to 1940, when he died in Sydney, a lonely man, working in Surry Hills as a hawker.

Robin, Snellman, Tarasowf

June 27, 2015

David Kalmen Robin

  • David Kalmen Robin, or Rabinowitz, from Belostok in Poland came to Western Australia in 1903 as a young man. He lived in Bunbury and Fremantle and was engaged in commence. In 1909 he moved to the US and applied for naturalisation there, but by 1913 he came back to Australia, settled in Sydney and married an Australian girl, Florence Rogan. In 1914 they had a son.
  • Enlisting in the AIF he fought with the 18th Battalion at Gallipoli and then was transferred to the Western Front, where he was killed on 16 April 1916, being the first to fall on the Western Front among the Russian born soldiers.
  • His son Max Robin served during WWII in the Royal Australian Navy in the North Africa and Middle East.

John Victor Snellman

  • John Victor Snellman, a seaman from Hango in Finland, came to Australia in 1912.
  • Enlisting in the AIF he landed with the reinforcements to the 18th Battalion at Gallipoli in September 1915. By December he became mentally ill, was was evacuated to Abbasia hospital in Egypt, and finally to Australia.
  • In Australia he recovered and worked as a postal assistant and tramway employee in Sydney. In 1916 he married Australian girl Grace Smith and had a family.

Thomas Tarasowf

  • Thomas Tarasowf, born in Minsk, Belarus, came to Queensland via the Russian Far East in 1913. He was a fitter by trade and worked in Townsville.
  • Enlisting in the AIF he sailed to Egypt with the 26th Battalion, but upon arrival was transferred to the 2nd Pioneer Battalion. He served for nearly 3 years in France, suffering from different ailments and occasionally getting into trouble for AWLs.
  • Returning to Australia he worked in Mackay and Rockhampton (probably as a cane-cutter) and then in Mount Morgan as a miner, until he succumbed to TB from which he died in 1940.

Lemish, Renaud, Dorfman

June 23, 2015

Aaron Lemish

  • Aaron Lemish from Vishnevichi in Volyn Province of Ukraine deserted from the Russian army soon after conscription and fled to Australia from Harbin in 1911. He worked in Brisbane and Bundaberg as a labourer and flour-mill hand.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Brisbane, he was discharged six months later as medically unfit.
  • In 1917 he married a Jewish girl, Rae Crucheck, in Melbourne and had a large family. During WWII he and his two elder sons enlisted in the AIF.

Martin Nicolay Renaud

  • Martin Nicolay Renaud from Riga in Latvia came to Australia in 1908, probably as a seaman. After working in coastal shipping and on smelters at Ravensthorpe in Western Australia, he settled in Perth.
  • He fought at Gallipoli with the 11th Battalion and then on the Western Front with the 51st Battalion. He was severely wounded in the head at Armentieres in July 1916 and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he settled in Mandurah, south of Perth, working as an orchadist, and made several trips to the UK.

Wolf Dorfman 

  • Wolf Dorfman came from Rovno in Volyn Province in Ukraine. After three years of service in the Russian Army he became engaged in trade in Eastern Asia.
  • Arriving in Sydney in May 1915, he enlisted in the AIF a few weeks later and sailed to Egypt with the reinforcements of the 13th Battalion. After training in Egypt he was transferred to the 54th Battalion and sent to the Western Front. A few days after his arrival in July 1916, he was reported as missing in action during his first battle. This was the battle of the Sugarloaf salient near Fromelles. It turned out that he was taken prisoner of war by the Germans and spent over two years in captivity, making an unsuccessful attempt to escape.
  • Upon returning to Australia in 1919 he settled in Melbourne and was engaged in trade with the Far East. In 1931 he married and had a daughter.

Brodsky, Gustafsson, Bartels

June 22, 2015

Louis Brodsky

  • Louis Brodsky, a Jewish seaman from Odessa, came to Australia in 1901. He was a sympathiser for the socialist cause. He lived in Sydney and then in Melbourne, working as a cleaner and dryer. He married and had a family.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he reached Egypt, but deserted from his battalion and sailed on the ships as a steward.
  • Returning to Australia after the war, he was not prosecuted. In the 1920s he tried to develop trade relations with Soviet Russia and made a trip to Russia. During WWII he tried to enlist in the AIF once again, and not long before his death he dreamt to take his new young family to the Soviet Union.

Gustaf Adolf Gustafsson 

  • Gustaf Adolf Gustafsson was born in Nyland (Uusimaa) in Finland and came to South Australia in 1912 probably as a seaman. He lived in townships on the Eyre Peninsula, working as a labourer and a packer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he came to Gallipoli with the reinforcements of the 10th Battalion and continued his service on the Western Front in the 4th Pioneer Battalion. In July 1917 he received shrapnel wounds to his back and right leg, but recovered and returned to the trenches.
  • After the war he left for the US, and had a family there.

John Bartels

  • John Bartels, a young sailor from Pärnu, Estonia, enlisted in the AIF in Sydney.
  • With reinforcements to the 3rd Battalion he sailed to Gallipoli, where he was wounded in the neck in December 1915. After recovery he was sent to the Western Front with his unit, where, as a result of conflicts with his NCO, he was court martialled in June 1916 and sentenced to one year’s imprisonment with hard labour, but the sentence was commuted and he was sent back to the trenches. A month later he was killed at Sugarloaf, in the first major battle.
  • His mother Anna Bartels was found in Pärnu in 1922 and received his medals.

Korenew, Merkulski, Sepp

June 18, 2015

Jan Korenew

  • Jan Korenew, born in Odoev in Tula Province, came to Australia in 1912. Although he had the trade of a cement worker and engineer, he worked on a poultry farm on the outskirts of Adelaide in South Australia.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he came to Gallipoli with the 12th Battalion not long before the evacuation of the troops from the peninsula. He continued his service on the Western Front with the 52nd Battalion. In September 1916 he was killed at the battle for Mouquet Farm.
  • His family in Tula was never found.

Johannes Benjamin Merkulski 

  • Johannes Benjamin Merkulski was born in the township Vaivara near Narva in Estonia. In his naturalisation application he provided his nationality as ‘Russian Finn’, but it is more likely that he was Baltic German or Estonian. Arriving to Australia in 1903, he settled in the township of Ross in the eastern part of Tasmania and was engaged in general farm and other work. He also mastered the trade of a blacksmith.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served on the Western front with the artillery brigade and finished the war with the rank of farrier sergeant.
  • After the war he moved to Melbourne and married an Australian girl, Josephine Hodgson.

Hendri Teodor Sepp 

  • Hendri Teodor Sepp, an Estonian seaman, came to South Australia in 1911 and settled in Port Adelaide, working as a wharf labourer.
  • He came to Gallipoli with the 12th Battalion not long before evacuation of the troops from the peninsula. He continued his service on the Western Front; in April 1917 he was wounded at Bullecourt and died of wounds the same day.
  • His brother, a seaman as well, was found after the war, while his Australian friends placed commemorative advertisements in the local newspaper on the day of his death, and remembered him for a long time afterwards.

Leksman, Brenka, Ivanoff

June 13, 2015

Richard Leksman

  • Richard Leksman from Vindava (Ventspils) in Latvia lived in Birkenhead (Port Adelaide) with the Glazbrook family.
  • He fought on the Western Front with the 27th Battalion. In November 1916 he was killed in the battle for the Somme.
  • He had no living relatives, but his Australian friends, the Glazbrook family, commemorated his death in the local newspaper.

John Brente Brenka

  • John Brente Brenka, when enlisting in the AIF, provided his place of birth as ‘Wolkowiskai’, which could be Vilkaviskis in Lithuania, but, according to the consular letter confirming his nationality, he came from ‘Vilkomir’, which is now Ukmerge in Lithuania. At the same time his name suggests that he might have been of German stock. He landed in Australia in 1914, deserting a ship, and worked at Shepperton’s Sawmills, Gumeracha near Blumberg in South Australia.
  • Enlisting in the AIF he came to Gallipoli with the 10th Battalion, not long before the troops’ evacuation from the peninsula. He continued his service with the 50th Battalion on the Western Front. He was wounded in June 1916, but returned to duty three days later. In August 1916 he received multiple gunshot wounds at the Mouquet Farm battle and died a week later in hospital in Boulogne.
  • His mother Agi Brenke was never found, but residents of Blumberg (later renamed Birdwood) commemorated his supreme sacrifice in the war memorial, where his name was listed along with other ‘Birdwood boys’.

John Ivanoff

  • John Ivanoff, a Russian ship’s fireman from Libava (now Liepaja, Latvia), came to Sydney in 1915 and enlisted in the AIF three weeks later.
  • He served with the 20th Battalion at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. During the war he was court matrialled a couple of times, but also commended for ‘excellent sniping work’ in May 1918 and recommended for the Military Medal in August 1918 for his bravery during the Amiens advance. His commander wrote: ‘during the attack […] an enemy machine gun greatly hampered the advance. This soldier on his own initiative outflanked and bombed the gun single-handed, which he captured, killing the crew of five’.
  • Earlier, in May 1917 Ivanoff was wounded in the chest and arm at the attack at Bullecourt. While recuperating in a British hospital he met a local girl, Lilian Fox, and married before he was despatched back to the trenches. In April 1918 he was wounded for the second time, but remained on duty, and finally, after his exploits in the Amiens advance, he was wounded in the right hand and evacuated to England just in time to meet his daughter Lillian Violet, born in September 1918.
  • Ivanov returned to Australia in December 1918, followed by his wife and daughter. In Australia they had three sons. Ivanoff, after working for several years stevedoring on the Sydney wharves, took on a shop in Alexandria, and then had a fruit run for some years at Newtown, which involved the whole family. Finally, owing to the Depression, ‘they moved to Berowra, where John worked on the Pacific Highway operating the jack-hammer at the construction site of the S-bends at Mt Kuring-gai’. During WWII John Ivanoff enlisted in the AIF and served in the garrison battalion at Hay Internment Camp, guarding Italian and Japanese POWs. His elder son Ronald John enlisted as well and served in the RAN.

Ravolaine, Adamson, Hendrickson

June 9, 2015

David Ravolaine

  • David Ravolaine, a Finnish sailor from Vyborg, came to Australia in 1910 and worked as a labourer in Bourke, Muswellbrook, Narrabri, and Wee Waa in NSW.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he was appointed Lance Corporal and joined the 3rd Battalion on the Western Front. In July 1916 he was killed in the Battle for Pozieres.

Hendrik Adamson 

  • Hendrik Adamson from Pärnu in Estonia came to Australia, probably as a sailor, in 1913 and settled in Port Adelaide.
  • He served with the 10th Battalion on the Western Front, was wounded in June 1916 and was returned to Australia as medically unfit.
  • After the war he lived in South Australia.

John Hendrickson

  • John Hendrickson, a Finnish seaman, served for three years in the Russian Army before coming to Australia.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he reached Gallipoli at the time of the evacuation of the troops in December 1915 and continued his service on the Western Front with the 29th Battalion. In December 1916 he was wounded at the Somme, but returned to the trenches; a few days later he died from a stroke. At that time he was 42 years old.

Kavitski, Weinberg, Fraser

June 7, 2015

Vasily Kavitski

  • Vasily Kavitski, a Ukrainian seaman from Kiev, came to Australia in 1913 and worked as a labourer in South Australia.
  • He served with the 27th battalion on the Western Front. In September 1917 he was returned to Australia suffering from ‘trench foot’, a condition that plagued the army during trench warfare.
  • After the war he lived in Port Pirie, working as a boilermaker. In the early 1920s he received permission to leave Australia and most likely returned to Ukraine.

Atti Weinberg

  • Atti (Otto) Weinberg from Riga worked as a labourer in South Australia.
  • He served with the 11th Battalion on the Western Front. In July 1916 he was wounded in his right arm at the battle for Pozieres and evacuated to Australia.
  • After the war he took different jobs in outback New South Wales: he lived in Broken Hill, Moree and Cootamundra.

Ernest Fraser

  • Ernest Fraser, a sailor from Riga, lived in Wyalong in New South Wales.
  • Enlisting in the AIF he fought with the 13th Battalion at Gallipoli, and then served on the Western Front as a gunner in the 10th Field Artillery Brigade. In October 1917 he was gassed at Passchendaele, but continued service, latter attaing the rank of Farrier Corporal.
  • After the war he lived in Liverpool, NSW.