Archives


Budrewicz, Cotton, Fitisoff, Kretovitch, Saario

June 29, 2016

Joseph Budrewicz

  • Joseph Budrewicz, a Pole from Radziwiliszki in Lithuania, was a mechanic by trade. He worked for five years on the railways in Russia and but in 1913 he emigrated to South America. Two years later left Argentina for Australia with a big group of Russians and landed in Darwin in the Northern Territory. From Darwin he made his way to Perth, where he enlisted in the AIF.
  • Three months later he left his 43rd Battalion and was discharged as a deserter.
  • It is most likely that he settled in the USA after the war.

Lewy Cotton

  • Lewy Cotton, a Jewish man born in Odessa, left Russia in his youth and spent several years in France and England, where he was trained as a waiter. Coming to Australia in 1914, he worked as a waiter in Perth and Adelaide.
  • Enlisting in Perth as Cotten, he served with the 16th Battalion on the Western Front. Being transferred to London in February 1918 he served in the Australian Provost Corps.
  • After the war he settled in Adelaide where was married to Ivy Gertrude Jenkins and had a son. He became quite famous as the chief waiter in the South Australian Hotel in Adelaide and his biography appeared in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Michael Fitisoff

  • Michael Fitisoff, a seaman from Russia, was seafaring from the age of 13. In 1915 he came to Australia and worked as an assistant steward on Australian coastal ships.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Perth, he served with the 43rd Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1917 he was wounded in the right hand at the battle for Broodseinde, near Ypres, and repatriated to Australia.
  • It is most likely that after the war he left for the USA.

Bronislaw Kretovitch

  • Bronislaw Kretovitch, a Polish man from Vilna (Vilnius, now Lithuania), came to Australia from Harbin in 1911. He settled in Melbourne, where he worked as an engine fitter.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in June 1916, but was discharged as medically unfit.
  • Although he had some plans to return to Russia after the war, he stayed in Australia, working as an engineer. He was a good chess player and often participated in tournaments at the Melbourne Chess Club.

Oscar Wilhelm Saario

  • Oscar Wilhelm Saario, a Finn from Orjuva, came to Australia in 1909 probably as a seaman and worked as a farm labourer in South Gippsland in Victoria.
  • He served with the 3rd Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Ellen Elizabeth Winckle, and had a large family, farming in Gippsland.

Feldman, Soderberg, Baschbauer, Volkofsky, Myer

June 25, 2016

Israel Feldman

  • Israel Feldman, a Jewish man from Odessa, was a widower with a young daughter who spent several years in Egypt and Palestine before coming to Australia. In 1915 he came to Perth where his parents and brother lived. Like his father Israel worked in Australia as a marine collector.
  • Enlisting in the AIF he sailed with the 51st Battalion to England. While there he got sick with trachoma and was returned to Australia.
  • After the war he lived in Perth, naturalising in 1925, but soon after that he disappears from the records.

Arvid Soderberg

  • Arvid Soderberg, a Finn from Helsingfors, came to South Australia in 1910, settled in Renmark and worked as a fisherman.
  • He served with the 32nd Battalion on the Western Front until he got sick with nephritis and was returned to Australia in 1917.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Dorothy May Patey, and had a large family. He continued his occupation of a fisherman living in the Renmark area.

Edward Ernest Baschbauer

  • Edward Ernest Baschbauer from Vindava (Ventspils) in Latvia came to Western Australia in 1910 as a seaman and worked as a millhand, mill wright, engineer, and carpenter. When interviewed for his naturalisation application in 1913 the policeman commented ‘he appeared to me to be rather a superior individual in his dress and manner’.
  • He served with the 5th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front attaining the rank of Lance Corporal. In May 1917 at the battle for Bullecourt he was severely wounded, his right am was amputated, and a month later he died of sepsis in an English hospital.
  • His family in Latvia was found after the war.

Theofil Volkofsky

  • Theofil Volkofsky, a man of Polish-Ukrainian origin from Lipki near Kiev, received education in a teachers’ college and came to Australia in 1910 from the Russian Far East. Trying several labouring jobs he started a business, fishing in Bourke.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Dubbo, he was diagnosed with TB and discharged from the army in December 1916.
  • Working in the Bourke area, he made his way to one of the prosperous sheep stations. In 1928 he married an Australian nurse, Thelma McKean and had three children. His son Thomas told the story of the outback endurance of his father.

Norman Myer

  • Norman Myer, a Jewish boy born in Tatarsk, near Mogilev in Belarus, came to Melbourne in 1909 on the invitation of his uncle Sidney Myer, the founder of the Myer Emporium.
  • He was a student of Wesley College when he enlisted in the AIF at the age of 19. He served on the Western Front, being allocated to artillery units, where he made his way from a Driver to Lieutenant.
  • After the war he stayed in London, studying silk manufacturing as part of his vocational training. Returning to Australia in 1920 he joined his uncle’s business, the Myer Emporium. Knighted in 1956, he was chairman of the Sidney Myer charity trust, well known all over Melbourne.

May-June 1916 enlistees without service records

June 25, 2016
  • E. Litala, most likely of Finnish origin, enlisted in the AIF in NSW.
  • A. Kilson enlisted in NSW.
  • J. H. Petersohn enlisted in NSW.
  • M. Temby enlisted in NSW.
  • Francis Hayek might have been of Czech origin, posing as Russian subject. He enlisted in Victoria.
  • S. Oshenganoff enlisted in Queensland. He could be the same man as John Osheganoff, born in Viatka, who arrived in Australia in 1911 from the Russian Far East as John Osiganov and worked in Babinda.

Rappeport, Kolesnikov, Wist, Hansen, Karein, Turunen

June 11, 2016

Samuel Rappeport

  • Samuel Rappeport, a Jewish man from Nikopol in Ukraine, came to Western Australia in 1904 with his parents and siblings. In Australia he worked as a boot maker and was employed by his father in their fruit shop.
  • He served with the 43rd Battalion on the Western Front. In May 1918 he was gassed and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he married Clara Dabscheek and lived in Perth working as a boot maker. During WWII he enlisted in the AIF and served in a garrison battalion.

William Kolesnikov

  • William Kolesnikov from Peretin in Chernigov Province consistently provided his place of birth as Kiev, which suggests that he preferred to be associated with Ukraine. He came to Western Australia in the Russian ship Neva in 1907, left the ship and worked in different parts of the state clearing land, mining, gardening, working in a café and in a bark mill. In 1911 he moved to Sydney, working as a hotel useful.
  • He served with the 55th Battalion on the Western Front and was severely wounded in September 1917 at Polygon Wood near Ypres. He was wounded in the left arm and had his jaw fractured and tongue shot away. After months in hospitals he was returned to Australia.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney. In January 1923 his coat and hat were found at a Sydney beach. It is most likely that he drowned himself.

Woldemar Wist

  • Woldemar Wist, a seaman from Revel (Tallinn), came to South Australia in 1915.
  • He served with the 27th Battalion on the Western Front. In August 1918, during the Amiens advance, he was severely wounded in the right shoulder and legs.
  • During his service, while in England, he married a nurse, Gertrude Helen Hazell, but she died in December 1918. Returning to Australia, Woldemar married a local girl, Florence Ettie. He received training as a saddler and established his saddler’s shop in Edithburg, where they settled.

Harry Hansen

  • Harry Hansen, another Estonian, from Piarnu, was a ship’s carpenter. For five years he lived in South America before coming to Australia.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Claremont in Tasmania, he served with the 40th Battalion on the Western Front. In April 1918 he was accidentally wounded in the left hand and it was amputated.
  • After the war he lived in Hobart and Melbourne.

Emil Karein

  • Emil Karein, a Finnish sailor from Helsingfors (Helsinki), enlisted in the AIF in Claremont together with Hansen.
  • A month later he was discharged, considered ‘unlikely to become an efficient soldier’.
  • Afterwards Karein continued seafaring in the USA, where he registered for service in WWI in 1918.

Edward Turunen

  • Edward Turunen, also a seaman from Kotka in Finland, enlisted in the AIF in Port Pirie.
  • He served with the 36th and 33rd battalions on the Western Front. In June 1917 he was wounded in the back, left leg and wrist at Messines. In June 1918 he was gassed and in August 1918 wounded in the thigh at Bray near Rouen.
  • Recovering, he was discharged in London, intending to return to Finland.

Matson, Tortsan, Kalson, Ankudinow, Remez

June 7, 2016

Henry Matson

  • Henry Matson from Finland came to Australia in the 1890s and worked in country Victoria as a wood-cutter, labourer, and miner. In 1899 he married Christina Gregg, a widow with children, and they had a son and a daughter. In 1917 their son Henry John, who was born in 1900, enlisted in the AIF by raising his age.
  • Henry, enlisting in the AIF in Melbourne, sailed with the 21st Battalion to the Western Front, but upon reaching England got sick and was returned to Australia.
  • In 1918 he died in a Melbourne hospital of cancer. His son returned from the war safely.

Max Tortsan

  • Max Tortsan, a Jewish man, was probably from Nesvizh in Belarus, although he also claimed to be born in Capetown and just ‘Russia’. His family emigrated to Capetown when he was young and he served in the Capetown Highlanders regiment, participating in warfare.
  • He came to Sydney in August 1915 and enlisted in the AIF a week later. His first service was not a success: over a few months he had 4 AWLs and was discharged in December 1915 as ‘undesirable’. Five months later he enlisted once again and sailed with the reinforcements to the 1st Battalion to the Western Front. For most of his service he was sick or had AWLs and was court-martialed twice.
  • Returning to Australia he lived in Sydney, working as a steward and salesman. During WWII he enlisted in the AIF and served in a garrison battalion.

Alfred Kalson

  • Alfred Kalson, a Finnish seaman, enlisted in the AIF in Sydney.
  • He served with the 20th Battalion on the Western Front and was killed in May 1917 at Bullecourt.
  • His relatives in Finland were found after the war.

Michael Ankudinow

  • Michael Ankudinow was born in Odessa and as a child moved with his mother and stepfather to Vladivostok. His stepfather was a prominent personality in the economic and cultural life of the young city and his children received a good education. Michael nevertheless left home and became a seaman. In 1912 he landed in South Australia.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Adelaide, he served with the 43rd Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1917 he was wounded at Broodseinde and then gassed in April 1918. In April 1917 Ankudinow was mentioned in dispatches for his bravery and was trusted to serve in the Australian Provost Corps at the end of the war.
  • While in the UK, he married an Irish girl, Maggie Callaghan. They came to Australia in 1920 and, while staying in South and Western Australia, they were involved in the numerous cases of petty crime aggravated by alcoholism. When Maggie left ten years later Michael’s life somehow improved and he enlisted twice in the 2nd AIF during WWII.

Bernard Remez

  • Bernard Remez, a Jewish man from Mogilev in Belarus, participated in the Russo-Japanese war. He came to Australia in 1909 from Argentina, where lived for several years. In Australia he worked as an optician living in Melbourne; in 1915 he married Rebecca Major.
  • In May 1916 he enlisted in the AIF, but was discharged a month later as medically unfit. He reenlisted for Home service and served for another five months.
  • After that he settled in Wagga Wagga, visiting many country towns of New South Wales and offering his services as an optician. He moved to South Australia in 1922, but after that he disappears from the records.

Hill, Borsoff, Westerberg, Raisanen, Williams

June 6, 2016

Richard William Hill

  • Richard William Hill, an Englishman born in Moscow, enlisted in the AIF in Melbourne in May 1916. His occupation was recorded as electrician and linguist.
  • He served as a permanent guard in Australia  and was discharged in November 1916. He enlisted for the second time in June 1917 for service abroad, but served in the Home service until the end of the war.
  • After the war he lived in Melbourne working as an electrician.

John Borsoff

  • John Borsoff from Riga came to Western Australia in the early 1890s and worked as a miner. By the time of his enlistment he lived in the remote area of Marble Bar.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Perth, he served with the 32nd Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he lived in the Marble Bar area continuing his work as a prospector.

John Kristianson Westerberg

  • John Kristianson Westerberg, an Estonian from the Haapsalu area, was a seaman and carpenter. He came to Australia in about 1909 and worked in Tirroan, Queensland, as a carpenter.
  • He served with the 4th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front and was killed in February 1918 at the battle for Hill 60 at Hollebeke.
  • His Australian friends remembered him, but his family was never found and only recently his niece Marina Wallin learnt about his destiny.

Otto Abram Raisanen

  • Otto Abram Raisanen, a Finn from Uleaborg, was probably a seaman. He came to Australia in 1915 and was working as a butcher in Victoria.
  • He served with the Machine Gun company and 59th Battalion on the Western Front. In September 1917 he was wounded in the left hand at Polygon Wood; in November the same year he was wounded in the arm at Messines; in April 1918 he was gassed, recovered and continued to serve to the end of the war.
  • After the war he married a Finnish girl, Ellen Jakobina Nyman, a sister of another Finnish Anzac, Julius Nyman. They tried farming, but later Otto worked as a smallgoodsman in Yandina and Townsville in Queensland. In 1931 they moved to New Zealand for five years, but then returned to Australia. During WWII Raisanen worked as a waterside worker in Sydney; later they returned to Yandina.

John Williams

  • John Williams, an Estonian seaman from Piarnu, enlisted in the AIF in Hamilton in Victoria.
  • Three months later he was discharged, being convicted by civil power.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney.

Wiberg, Graubin, Johnson, Lammi, Setalo

June 2, 2016

Erik Oliver Wiberg

  • Erik Oliver Wiberg from Abo (Turku) in Finland came to Australia in 1912 on a Finnish ship as a steward and settled in Newcastle.
  • He served with the 33rd Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Janet Stirrat, and lived in Sydney working as a lorry driver and labourer.

John Gustaf Graubin

  • John Gustaf Graubin was born in Helsingfors (Helsinki), came to Australia as a sailor in 1909 and worked as a farm labourer.
  • He served with the 59th Battalion on the Western Front. In September 1917, at the battle at Polygon Wood, he was reported missing in action; later, after a court of enquiry and witness testimony, he was reported as killed in action.
  • His father was found in Helsingfors after the war.

Stanley Johnson

  • Stanley Johnson, an Englishman born in St Petersburg, worked in Australia as a mechanical engineer.
  • He served with the 3rd Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front attaining the rank of Lieutenant. In 1917 he spent some time in London working for the War Office, probably liaising with the Russian Government Committee. In August 1918 at the battle near Bray he was wounded in the thigh.
  • He was married when he enlisted in the army and after the war lived in Western Australia with his family.

Hyalmar Anton Lammi

  • Hyalmar Anton Lammi, a Finish seaman from Kristinestad, came to Australia in 1915.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he served with the 17th Battalion on the Western Front. Soon after arrival to the front in April 1917 he developed bronchitis and was later diagnosed with TB.
  • He was repatriated to Australia and returned to his seafaring profession, but on Christmas Eve of 1918 died under the wheels of a tram in Sydney.

Emil Setalo

  • Emil Setalo, a former Finnish seaman from Pori, was working in Australia as a miner and a sawyer in Cobar.
  • He enlisted in the AIF together with Lammi, but was placed in the 53rd Battalion. In May 1917, at Bullecourt, he was severely wounded in the back and chest and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he continued his occupation as a sailor in America and Europe, but in 1935 returned to Australia.

Lembit, Keiss, Nielsen, Oleinikoff, Shular

June 1, 2016

Johannes Lembit

  • Johannes Lembit, an Estonian seaman from Piarnu, came to Australia in April 1916 with his elder brother Alexander, also a seaman.
  • Johannes enlisted in the AIF in Sydney a fortnight after his arrival and served with the 4th Battalion on the Western Front, attaining the rank of Sergeant. In September 1918 he was wounded in the head during the advance south of Peronne.
  • After the war Johannes tried to buy a farm near Port Macquarie, but in the early 1920s he left for Estonia, where he married an Estonian girl Anna Maria and had a son. In 1926 they moved to Australia and settled in Sydney, where Johannes worked on the waterfront. Their son Valdek served in the AIF in WWII.

Leonard George Keiss

  • Leonard George Keiss, another Estonian, from Jurjew (Tartu), came to Australia in 1913 as a seaman, deserting his ship. He was an engineer and fitter by profession.
  • At the time of his enlistment in the AIF he was living next door to Lembit and they enlisted together. Unfortunately, his service did not go well: a few weeks after his enlistment he was convicted for breaking a window while drunk. Although he wanted to go to the front he was discharged from the army.
  • After the war he lived in Ipswich, working as an engineer’s fitter and died in 1923.

Lauritz Nielsen

  • Lauritz Nielsen enlisted in the AIF as a native of Finland, which was confirmed by a certificate from the Russian consul. Later he stated that he was born in Denmark.
  • He went to the Western Front with the 5th Pioneer Battalion, but his service was not smooth. He was twice court martialled for misconduct and desertion and in December 1918 deserted his battalion and was declared not eligible for war medals.
  • After the war he settled in Denmark, married and had a family. He reappeared in Australian documents in 1922, when he wanted to return to Australia.

Matfeus Oleinikoff

  • Matfeus Oleinikoff, a Ukrainian from Poltava Province, came to Australia via the Russian Far East in 1912 with his wife Daria and four children. They bought a sugar-cane farm in Cordalba and had three more children; nevertheless Matfeus enlisted in the AIF.
  • He sailed to the Western front with the 26th Battalion, but got sick while in the UK, and was returned to Australia as medically unfit.
  • After the war he moved with his family to Brisbane and they had one more child, but in 1926 he and his wife separated. During WWII their son Peter died while serving in the RAAF in England.

Maxim Shular

  • Maxim Shular, a Ukrainian from the Chernigov Province, came to Australia in 1914 and worked as a labourer and miner in Queensland and in the Northern Territory.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Rockhampton, but was discharged four months later as medically unfit (he had injured his knee while working in the mines). He enlisted for the second time in April 1917 in Townsville, slightly changing his name, but was discharged again.
  • After the war he disappears from the records; he probably returned to Ukraine.