Eller, Esserman, Silander, Hannus, Holland

May 30, 2016

William Eller

  • William Eller from Dago (Hiiumaa) Island in Estonia came to Australia in 1906 and worked as a coal miner in New South Wales.
  • He served in the AIF as a sapper with the 1st Tunnelling Company on the Western Front. In March 1917 he was gassed and a year later wounded, but recovered and returned to his company.
  • After the war he lived in Neath working as a labourer.

Ernest Esserman

  • Ernest Esserman, a Jewish man from Latvia, came to Australia in 1892 and worked as a hawker in Wee Waa. Later he moved to Sydney, where he worked as a bookmaker. Before enlisting in the AIF he married a relative of another Jewish Anzac, Arthur Levy, Beatrice (Bessie) Hilda Grimish.
  • He served as a gunner and driver with the Howitzer Brigade and Ammunition column on the Western Front. In October 1917 he was wounded in the left hand at Passchendaele.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney with his family, working as an agent.

Karl Edwin Silander

  • Karl Edwin Silander, a ship’s carpenter from Mariehamn in Finland, came to Australia in February 1916 and enlisted in the AIF three months later.
  • He served with the 59th Battalion on the Western Front, was wounded in the fingers in March 1917, at Lagnicourt, and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he lived in Newcastle, continuing his occupation of a seaman.

Hjalmari Hannus

  • Hjalmari Hannus from Helsingfors (Helsinki) in Finland was brought by his parents to Australia when he was a baby in 1900. They were followers of the Finnish leader Matti Kurikka, who wanted to establish a Finnish colony in the North Queensland.
  • As a teenager Hannus served in the Australian cadets for 4 years and enlisted in the AIF when he was just 17; by that time he had the trade of a carpenter. He served with the 3rd Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front, where he was gassed in June 1917, but survived the ordeal and returned to his battalion.
  • After the war he got a soldier’s block near Tolga and started a farm. In 1922 he married an Australian girl, Norma Gwendoline Franklin, but his health failed and he died in 1930.

Johan Holland

  • Johan Holland, an Estonian seaman from Piarnu, came to Australia in 1912.
  • He served with the 36th Battalion on the Western Front. In June 1917, at Messines, he was wounded in his face, hand and knee, and three fingers on his hand were amputated.
  • After the war he continued working on the ships as a sailor and died in 1923.

Dossoeff, Oders, Gooliaeff, Orloff, Rehrick

May 29, 2016

Moysey Dossoeff

  • Moysey Dossoeff, an Ossetian from Ardon, served in the Russian Army in the Russo-Japanese war. He came to Australia in 1913 and worked in Port Pirie as a labourer.
  • He started his service in the AIF in a machine gun company, but later was transferred to the 13th Light Horse Regiment with which he reached England. After several months of training there he was returned to Australia as medically unfit.
  • After the war he worked in South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. In 1919 he received a permit to return to Russia via Vladivostok and in the early 1920s he disappears from Australian records; most likely he fulfilled his plan.

Alexander Oders

  • Alexander Oders, an Estonian seaman from Piarnu, came to Western Australia in 1913, deserting his ship, and continued seafaring in Australian waters.
  • He served with the 11th Battalion on the Western Front, where in August 1918 he was gassed at Chuignes.
  • In December 1918, while on leave in London, he married an English girl, Constance Evelyne Wakeman. They settled in Perth, where Alexander worked as a fitter’s assistant. They had a large family and their eldest son Alexander Robert served in the AIF in WWII, becoming a Japanese POW in Siam. Their two other children served in the AIF and Alexander himself served as a guard in 1941-1946.

Justin George Gooliaeff

  • Justin George Gooliaeff, a Russian from Dolgie Budy in Kursk Province, came from the family of a timber merchant. He studied at Moscow University, but, after a year there, came to Australia via the Russian Far East. He worked in Rockhampton, probably cane-cutting, although enlisting in the AIF he gave his occupation as a boiler maker.
  • He served as a gunner with artillery units on the Western Front.
  • While in a hospital in England, he met an English girl, Violet Maud Bullock, they married, and she followed him to Australia with their newborn son George Walter. Two years later their daughter Veronica was born. Justin took a block of land in the soldiers settlement in El-Arish, where he brought his young family. In 1925 he tragically died helping neighbours during a bushfire.

Steven Orloff

  • Steven Orloff, a Russian blacksmith from the Pskov area, came to Australia in 1912 via the Russian Far East and lived in Brisbane and Cairns.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Rockhampton together with Gooliaeff and served with the 42nd Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1917, at the battle for Broodseinde, he was severely wounded in the head, right foot, and right thigh, and was repatriated to Australia.
  • He never married and lived after the war in the North Queensland (probably cane-cutting). Later he moved to Sydney where he worked as a labourer. In 1947, when he applied for naturalisation, he was living in the unemployed camp in La Perouse.

Nicolas Rehrick

  • Nicolas Rehrick from Libava (Liepaja) in Latvia had a high school education and came to Australia in 1912 as a sailor; he lived in Victoria and Tasmania.
  • He served with the 29th Battalion on the Western Front. In September 1917, at Ypres, he was wounded in the arm; in May 1918 he was wounded in the thigh, but recovered and returned to his battalion.
  • After the war he lived in Melbourne, working as a seaman, iron worker, and rigger.

Hvitfelt, Permakoff, Ouchirenko, Skugar, Niemi

May 27, 2016

Ernest Alfred Hvitfelt

  • Ernest Alfred Hvitfelt, a Finn from Abo (Turku), came to Australia in 1914 and worked as a labourer in Gippsland and Riverina.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he served with the 2nd Battalion on the Western Front. In April 1917 he was wounded in the arm at Doignes but recovered and continued his service to the end of the war. For his gallantry and devotion to duty during the September 1918 battle at Hargicourt, where he worked as a stretcher-bearer, he was awarded the Military medal.
  • While in an English hospital he became acquainted with an English girl, Harriet Foskett; they married and sailed to Australia together in 1919, but his wife died the next year in Sydney. It is quite likely that he left Australia for America after that.

Nicholas Permakoff

  • Nicholas Permakoff, a Russian from Archangel, served in an artillery unit in the Russian army. He worked in Australia as a miner and lived in Dubbo.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he expected to be transferred to the Russian Army upon arrival in England. This was not done, but by that time the Russian Revolution had taken place and Permakoff refused to fight at all. He was court-martialled, but nevertheless he was brought to the Western Front with the 4th Battalion. In June 1918 he cast aside his weapon and in broad daylight went to the German trenches. An Australian Lance Corporal, fulfilling the order of the commanding officer, killed him before he managed to reach the German lines.
  • Permakoff’s mother in Archangel was never found.

John Ouchirenko

  • John Ouchirenko, a Ukrainian from Odessa and ship engineer by trade, came to Australia in 1915.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Melbourne, he served with the 39th Battalion on the Western Front. In July 1917 he was gas poisoned and then received a concussion in October 1917 at Broodseinde near Ypres.
  • In 1917, while in a training camp in England, he met and married an English girl, Clara Lane, but the marriage did not last. Upon return to Australia he worked as a ship’s engineer and in 1927 married an Australian girl, Doris Robertson. They lived in Ballarat and had five children. During WWII John enlisted in the AIF and served as a home guard.

Gerard Martyn Skugar

  • Gerard Martyn Skugar, a Pole from Vilno (Vilnius) in Lithuania, came to Australia as a seaman in 1914 and worked in the Bundaberg area, probably as a canecutter.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Rockhampton, he served with the 41st Battalion on the Western Front. In August 1918, at the battle near Hamel, he singlehandedly captured an enemy machine gun and continued excellent work until he was severely wounded in the head. For this battle he was awarded the Military Medal.
  • After the war he tried to settle in the soldiers’ settlement, then, during the Depression, for several years had no fixed place of abode. In the early 1930s he lived in Sydney working as a jeweller and for a brief time was an acting Polish Consul and the president of the Polish National Alliance. Later he moved to North Queensland, working as a miner and labourer. During WWII he enlisted in the AIF and was on home service.

Karl Niemi

  • Karl Niemi, a Finnish seaman from Killinkoski, enlisted in the AIF in Sydney.
  • He served with the 30th Battalion on the Western Front. In December 1917 he experienced severe shell shock, suffered from amnesia and was repatriated to Australia.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney, but after 1921 he disappears from the available records.

Holman, Brandt, Koel, Borszcer, Wilen

May 21, 2016

Victor Holman

  • Victor Holman (his true name was Kustaa Viktor Vastamaa), a former Finnish seaman from Pori, came to Western Australia in 1914 and worked as a farm labourer in East Tambellup.
  • He served with the 44th Battalion on the Western Front. In July 1918, at the battle for Hamel he was severely wounded in the arm and neck and died of wounds the following day.
  • His mother was found in Finland after the war.

William Brandt

  • William Brandt, an Estonian sailor from Oesel (Saaremaa) Island, came to Australia in 1912.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Warragul, a country town in Victoria, he served with the 5th Battalion on the Western Front. He was wounded in the right arm during the February advance in 1917, returned to the front four months later, and was wounded soon afterwards in the battle for Mennin Road, at Ypres, this time in the head. He was returned to the front in March 1918, when Russia had already withdrawn from the war. He refused to fight on these grounds and was court martialled. His 5-year sentence was eventually commuted and he was returned to Australia after the war.
  • After the war he continued working on coastal steamers living in Melbourne.

Peter Koel

  • Peter Koel, Brandt’s countryman from Oesel, was married in Estonia but continued seafaring. In 1913 he was shipwrecked in the North Sea and survived three days in the water before he was rescued. He came to Australia in 1914 as a seaman. In 1915 Koel and Brandt served together on the ship Westralia and a few months later enlisted together in the AIF in Warragul.
  • Koel was placed in the same 5th Battalion, but discharged five months later, suffering from rheumatism – a consequence of his exposure after the shipwreck in the North Sea.
  • After discharge he continued working on the ships in Australia and in the UK.

David Borszcer

  • David Borszcer, a Jewish musician from Bershad in Ukraine, came to Australia in June 1915 with the Belgian Band under the patriotic endeavour of raising money for the Belgian Relief Fund. A number of the members of this band were Russian nationals, and Russian music, including Tchaikovsky’s overture ‘1812’, featured as a highlight of their programs.
  • Borszcer stayed in Australia and enlisted in the AIF in April 1916; he was not accepted for overseas service but was allocated for service in the Australian Light Horse Band based at Menangle Park near Sydney. While serving he developed pulmonary tuberculosis, which was probably aggravated by his playing cornet. He was discharged from the army in 1917, but after recuperating he resumed his patriotic musical endeavours as a conductor of the Chatswood Orchestral Society in aid of the Red Cross.
  • After the war he stayed in Sydney continuing his occupation as a musician, but spent the last years of his life in provincial New South Wales, dying in Tumut in 1939.

Alvar Wilen

  • Alvar Wilen, a Finnish seaman from Fredrikshamn (Hamina), came to Australia in 1912 and worked in country New South Wales as a labourer and stockman.
  • He tried to enlist in the AIF twice, but was discharged on account of rheumatism.
  • He was naturalised in 1917 while working as a stockman at Moonan Flat, but disappears from the records after that.

Puikko, Tarasov, Kotton, Kovalevsky, Thomasson

May 18, 2016

Karl Johannes Puikko

  • Karl Johannes Puikko, a Finnish seaman from Oulu, came to Australia in about 1912 and worked as a labourer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Melbourne, he served with the 46th Battalion on the Western Front; later he was transferred to the machine gun battalion. In September 1917 he was gassed at Ypres and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he continued seafaring and finally returned to Finland.

Serge Tarasov

  • Serge Tarasov was a seaman from St Petersburg; his father was a history teacher there.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Newcastle, Tarasov served with the 34th Battalion on the Western Front. In May 1918 he was killed near Sailly-le-Sec on Somme.
  • The local Newcastle newspaper, commemorating his death, wrote ‘Young Tarasov was a midshipman, but deserted in order to join the fight against the Germans’.

Moisey Kotton

  • Moisey Kotton, a young Jewish man from Kremenchug on Ukraine, came with his family to Harbin and in 1912 moved to Brisbane in Australia. After trying a number of jobs in South Queensland, he finally settled in the small township of Naughtons Gap near Lismore in NSW, where he worked as a carter, winning the love and respect of local farmers.
  •  With the outbreak of war he made several attempts to enlist in the AIF. The local newspaper reported when he finally succeeded in his attempts: ‘Mr. M. Kotton, who succeeded in passing the medical test, is a naturalised Russian, and is only 5 ft. high. The minimum height is 5 ft 2 in, and Mr. Kotton was pleased when he was admitted as a bugler. He is very anxious to get to the front’. He served with the 4th Battalion on the Western Front; in September 1918 he was killed in the battle south of Peronne.

Andrew Kovalevsky

  • Andrew Kovalevsky from Blahoveshchenka in Ukraine came to Australia in 1913 from the Russian Far Est. He was probably a clerk by profession, but worked in Queensland as a labourer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Bundaberg, he served with the 26th Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1918 he was killed at the advance south of Peronne.

Thomas Thomasson

  • Thomas Thomasson, a Finnish seaman from Christinestad, enlisted in the AIF in Melbourne.
  • He served with the 29th Battalion on the Western Front until he got sick with otitis and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he lived in Melbourne.

Kilpinen, Reimers, Wathen, Tomrop, Stepanoff

May 17, 2016

Briynold Kilpinen

  • Briynold Kilpinen, a Finnish seaman, was seafaring in Australian waters in 1915, but he enlisted in the AIF in Goulburn as a miner.
  • Soon afterwards he was discharged, being considered ‘unlikely to become an efficient soldier’.
  • He made two more attempts to enlist in the AIF and disappears from the records after that.

John Reimers

  • John Reimers from Riga was probably of German origin.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Melbourne, he served with the 37th Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he lived in Melbourne.

John Wathen

  • John Wathen, a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors (Helsinki) came to Australia in 1913.
  • He served with the 36th Battalion on the Western Front. In June 1917 he was wounded in the arm at the battle of Messines.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney, working as a ship’s fireman. During WWII he was interned in Newcastle.

Ernest Tomrop

  • Ernest Tomrop, a seaman from Vindava (Ventspils) in Latvia, came to Australia in 1908 and was working as a labourer and rigger in South Australia and Melbourne.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served in Egypt, first in the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train, and then in the Australian Flying Corps.
  • After the war he served for five years in the Australian Air Corps and Flying School in Laverton. Later he settled in Sydney where he married an Australian woman, Amy Bell Kershaw, and worked as a rigger, particularly on the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

John Frederick Stepanoff

  • John Frederick Stepanoff from Krasnoiarsk in Siberia came to Australia with his mother and stepfather. They lived in Ipswich where John learnt the trade of a carpenter.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, when he was just 17, he served with the 54th Battalion on the Western Front. In May 1917 he experienced shell shock at Bullecourt. In October 1917 he was gassed at Passchendaele and evacuated to England. In June 1918 he was returned to his battalion, and wounded for the third time in the thigh near Rouen.
  • After the war he worked as a seaman in Australia and in the UK, where he married an English woman, Violet Conway.

Liljestrand, Seeburg, Halme, Kaufman, Puho

May 15, 2016

Erik Arvid Liljestrand

  • Erik Arvid Liljestrand, a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors (Helsinki), enlisted in the AIF in Melbourne.
  • He served with the 23rd Battalion on the Western Front, attaining the rank of Lance-Corporal. In May 1917, at the battle for Bullecourt, he was wounded in the head; recovering, he rejoined his battalion. A year later at Ville-sur-Ancre he was severely wounded in the back and arms. He was evacuated to England, but died of wounds and pneumonia three weeks later.
  • His Australian friend commemorated him in a newspaper advertisement after his death.

Frank Seeburg

  • Frank Seeburg, a seaman of German parentage born in Orel in Russia, came to Australia in 1907. He lived in South Australia working as a labourer and fireman.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Adelaide, he served with the 5th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he lived in Barmera in South Australia, working as a labourer.

Andrew Halme

  • Andrew Halme, a former seaman from Kuopio in Finland, first tried to enlist in the AIF in July 1915, but did not succeed. His second attempt in April 1916 in Goulburn was successful.
  • He sailed to England with the reinforcements to the 35th Battalion, but soon after arrival to Plymouth he was reported as absent.
  • His destiny is unknown.

Karl Kaufman

  • Karl Kaufman, a seaman from Wesenberg (Rakvere) in Estonia, enlisted in the AIF in Melbourne.
  • He served with the 58th Battalion on the Western Front and was killed in May 1917 at Bullecourt.
  • His family in Estonia was found after the war.

Alexander Puho

  • Alexander Puho from Olustvere in Estonia came to Australia in 1914 and worked as a locomotive fireman.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Cootamundra, he served with the 18th Battalion on the Western Front. On May 1917, at Bullecourt, he was wounded in the arm and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Constance Lilian Stone, and had a large family. Alexander became a dairy farmer and then a banana grower and lived with his family in Woolgoolga, NSW. He was active in the local sub-branch of the RSSILA and in 1942 was elected its president.

Blek, Mitskievich, Kaptein, Jaks, Fredrikson

May 8, 2016

Enoch Blek

  • Enoch Blek from Oulu in Finland came to Australia in 1893 with his parents. He worked as a fireman and lived in New South Wales. He was married to Elizabeth Grimwood and had two sons.
  • He served with the 2nd Tunnelling Company on the Western Front.
  • After the war he lived with his family at Redhead.

Adam Mitskievich

  • Adam Mitskievich, a Pole from Radom, served for 8 years in the Russian army. He came to Queensland and lived in Bundaberg working as a wood chopper.
  • He enlisted in Bundaberg, but was discharged two months later with mental health problems.
  • After the war he stayed in Queensland.

Johann Kaptein

  • Johann Kaptein, a seaman from Riga in Latvia, came to Australia in 1910.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Melbourne, but was discharged three months later because of insufficient English.
  • After the war he continued his occupation as a seaman.

William Frank Jaks

  • William Frank Jaks from the Kovno (Kaunas) in Lithuania area stated he was of Polish origin. He came to Australia in 1914 and worked as a carpenter and cabinet maker.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Adelaide and served with the 5th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front. In September 1918 he was severely wounded at the Hindenburg Line.
  • After the war he worked as a French polisher and upholsterer in country New South Wales and Sydney. In the mid-1930s he moved to Canberra, where he married an Australian woman, Madeline Mary Elliott.

Frans Oscar Fredrikson

  • Frans Oscar Fredrikson from Aland in Finland came to Australia in 1898 and worked as a fisherman and labourer in Western Australia.
  • He served with the 16th Battalion on the Western Front. In April 1917, at the Battle for Bullecourt, he was taken POW. After the Armistice he was returned to Australia.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Annie Magdalena Forsyth, and lived with his family in Fremantle working as a labourer. In 1940 he died in a traffic accident.

Halona, Maunula, Drachuk, Haiff, Gensberg

May 5, 2016

Mikael Halona

  • Mikael Halona from Helsingfors (Helsinki) in Finland enlisted in the AIF in Rockhampton.
  • He served with the 4th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front. In August 1917 he was killed by a shell.

George Jeremias Maunula

  • George Jeremias Maunula, a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors, came to Australia in 1914 and worked on railway construction in Queensland. He enlisted in the AIF together with Halona in Rockhampton.
  • He served with the 52nd Battalion on the Western Front. In September 1917 he was wounded in the neck at the battle for Polygon Wood near Ypres. In April 1918 he was gassed at Dernancourt.
  • After the war he worked as a labourer in Queensland, later moving to Newcastle where he lived in the Diggers’ Camp on Hall Street.

Paul Drachuk

  • Paul Drachuk, a Russianised Moldovian from Kishinev, served as a wireless operator during the Russo-Japanese war and stayed in Harbin after that. He married there and had a daughter. In 1915 he came to Australia and enlisted four months later.
  • He served in the 1st Wireless Squadron in India, where he fell seriously ill. After a letter criticising the AIF in India from Drachuk to his friend Grigory Shilov was intercepted by the censor, he was sent back to Australia.
  • In 1921 Drachuk returned to Soviet Russia, soon followed by Shilov, who was arrested and served his sentence on the White Sea Canal construction project. Drachuk settled in Moscow and worked as an economist. He married Olga Baranovskaia in 1923 and their daughter Rimma preserved his AIF diary.

Saul Haiff

  • Saul Haiff, a Jewish man from Odessa, came to Perth in 1909; two years later he moved to Sydney working as a tailor.
  • His first attempt to enlist in the AIF in February 1916 was unsuccessful, but he was accepted two months later. He served with the 53rd Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he married an Australian woman, Yente (Jeanette) Pelmothe, and lived in Sydney working as a tailor.

Jacob Gensberg

  • Jacob Gensberg, a Jewish man from Riga, came to Australia in 1894 after four years in London; he settled in Melbourne working as a bootmaker and then as a fruiterer. He was married and had a family. His son Alfred served in the AIF.
  • By the time of his enlistment in the AIF he was nearly 45, but he was accepted and sailed to the Western Front with the 23rd Battalion. When he got sick soon after arrival he was transferred to work in the Australian Veterinary Hospital.
  • After the war he lived in Melbourne, working as fruiterer, later moving to Reid’s Flat where he kept a hotel.

March-April 1916 enlistees without service records

May 4, 2016
  • Waldermer Ende, a Latvian seaman from Riga, came to Australia in January 1916 and enlisted in the AIF two months later in Sydney. Most likely he continued working on the ships after his discharge.
  • P. Kartnoff enlisted in the AIF in Victoria. No further data was found.
  • A. Mackinson enlisted in New South Wales.
  • August Einar Ronn, a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors, enlisted in the AIF in NSW. Obviously his service was brief as he was registered as an alien in Western Australia and continued seafaring.
  • Solomon Rosenberg, a Jewish man from Kamenets-Podolsk in Ukraine or Brest in Belarus, left Russia in 1898 with his parents as a child. He lived in Scotland and Argentina. In 1912 he came to Australia and settled in Sydney working as a wood carver. In 1914 he married Esther Finkelstein. He enlisted in Sydney, but his service obviously did not last long.
  • A.S. Islin enlisted in the AIF in NSW. No further data was found.
  • Victor Neborotchko was a Ukrainian seaman from Odessa. He enlisted in NSW and after a short service worked as a fireman and a wiper on American and British ships.
  • William Allias, an Estonian seaman, enlisted in the AIF in NSW. He did not serve long and in 1917 came to San Francisco in the USA, where he tried to enlist in the army twice: in WWI and WWII.
  • John Guzabali enlisted in the AIF in NSW. No other data available.
  • P. Kilpman enlisted in the AIF in NSW. No other data available.