Oscar Bruno Knappsberg from Svatro (Mustio) in Finland came to Australia not long before his enlistment in the AIF and worked as an orchard hand in Kurrajong.
He enlisted in the AIF in Bundaberg and came with the reinforcements to the 25th Battalion to the Western Front in April 1917. A month after his arrival, at the battle for Bullecourt, he was wounded in the thigh and leg and died of wounds the next day.
His family in Finland was found after the war and his friend from Kurrajong, John McCabe, wrote to his mother about his death.
Arthur Albert Jernberg from Helsingfors (Helsinki) in Finland came to Sydney in 1914 as a seaman and worked as a labourer at Rooty Hill, NSW.
He served with the 3rd Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1917 at the battle for Passchendaele he was severely wounded in the back and chest, but recovered after spending months in English hospitals.
He returned to Rooty Hill and worked there as a champagne worker, later moving to South Australia. In 1920 he married Josephine Twyford, but his wife died in 1927, leaving him with a baby daughter, and he later married Agnes Margaret in South Australia.
Johannes Kotkamaa, born in Helsingfors (Helsinki) in Finland, came to Australia in 1900 with his parents together with the group of Finnish immigrants, the followers of Matti Kurikka, who wanted to establish a colony in the north of Queensland. Johannes grew up there, bush mastering the trade of a carpenter.
Enlisting in the AIF in Nambour, he served with the 47th Battalion on the Western Front. His service was not long – he was killed in August 1917, a month after his arrival, in Belgium.
His mother Maria Kotkamaa, a pioneering woman of the Australian bush, passed away soon after his death and the residents of Nambour commemorated his death in a local memorial.
Michael Osipoff, a Russian from Irkutsk, came to Brisbane in 1913 from the Russian Far East and worked on railway construction.
Enlisting in the AIF in Rockhampton, he served with the 25th Battalion on the Western Front. In July 1918 he wounded himself in the foot, but was returned to the trenches after recovery. In September 1918 he was wounded in the arm at Peronne and evacuated to England; in December 1918, when suspicions towards Russians increased, he was speedily returned to Australia ‘on account of Russian nationality’.
After the war he worked as a wharf labourer in Port Pirie and Sydney. In 1932 he married Phyllis Mary Turtle, but she died in 1937, and the same year he married Lucy Shears.
Alexander Lembit, an Estonian seaman from Piarnu, came to South Australia in 1913 and continued seafaring.
Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he served as a gunner in artillery units.
While in England, he met Agnes Cross from Glasgow and in November 1917 they married and returned to Australia after the war together. They lived in Sydney, where Lembit worked as a tram guard and labourer.
Isaac Proosov, a Jewish man from Gorodok in Belarus, at the age of 15 moved to London, where he worked as a cabinetmaker. In 1911 he married Janie Rosenberg and in 1913 they migrated to Sydney. By the time of his enlistment in the AIF he had two children.
Enlisting in the AIF under the name of Pruss, he served as an air mechanic in the Australian Flying Corps, based in England.
After the war he continued working as a cabinetmaker in Sydney. His son and daughter served in the AIF during WWII.
Egnaty Sologub, a Ukrainian from Konotop, served in the Russo-Japanese War and came to Australia from the Russian Far East in 1912, leaving his wife and two children behind in Sosnovka, Primorsk Province. A bridge carpenter by trade, by the time of his enlistment in the AIF he worked in Cloncurry in Queensland.
He served with the 11th Field Company Engineers on the Western Front.
Returning to Australia, he left for Russia in 1920 and probably returned to his family. It is quite likely that his son born in 1901 was arrested and executed during Stalin’s repressions in 1938.
Edward Dryen, a Jewish man from Pavlograd in Ukraine, came to Australia in 1894 with his parents and worked in Broken Hill and Sydney as a storekeeper. In 1914 he married Eva Bear in Broken Hill and their son Ronald was born in 1916 and daughter Betty in 1918.
Enlisting in Sydney he served in the Australian Instructional Corps in the Permanent Military Forces of the Commonwealth training the gunners, with the rank of Acting Staff Sergeant Major.
After the war the family lived in Wagga Wagga, Gundagai, Manilla, and Sydney. During WWII Edward served in the recruiting depot and his son Ronald in the coastal artillery.
Joseph Josephson, a Jewish man from Vilno, leaving Russia lived in Sweden and England. He came to Western Australia in 1912 where he worked as a storekeeper, finally moving to Sydney, where he enlisted in the AIF.
He served with the 1st Battalion on the Western Front. In May 1917 he was wounded in Bullecourt, and for the second time in November 1917 in Paschendaele. Spending several months in hospitals he was returned to the front in March 1918 and got into the trouble in August 1918 when he refused to fight and was court martialled for desertion; the sentence was suspended and he was returned to Australia.
After the war he married Annie Glasser and lived in Sydney, working as a draper.
Robert Meerin, a Latvian seaman from Riga, came to Australia in 1909 and worked as a wharf labourer and rigger in Queensland and Sydney.
Enlisting in the AIF, he served with the 3rd Pioneers Battalion on the Western Front, later being transferred to the 3rd Machine Gun Battalion. Being discharged from the AIF London in May 1919, he joined Middlesex Regiment, the North Russian Relief Force, and served in Russia in 1919-1920.
Returning to Australia, he married an Australian woman, Vera Pearl Byrne (nee Downer), and lived in Sydney working as a wharf labourer.
Thomas Damelionok from Vilna (Vilnius) was probably a Belarusian from Vilno (Vinius). He came to Australia in 1914 with his wife and children and lived in Melbourne.
He made his first attempt to enlist in the AIF in March 1916, but was rejected. He reenlisted in August 1916 and was accepted for home service in the Australian Medical Corps; in December 1916 he was discharged.
After the war he worked as a labourer in Halifax, Queensland, probably cane-cutting.