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Huhta, Pieven, Didenko, Shulgen

December 26, 2016

August Arthur Huhta

  • August Arthur Huhta, a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors, landed in Australia in April 1916 deserting his ship in Melbourne. Before his enlistment in the AIF he worked as a labourer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he left his unit five months later and was discharged as a deserter.
  • He continued working as a fireman after leaving the AIF.

Zacharias Pieven

  • Zacharias Pieven came from a Cossack family in the township of Saltykova Divitsa in Chernigov Province. He worked as fitter and mechanic in Odessa, Nizhni Novgorod, and Harbin, where he married Klavdia Kroloiski. Pieven sailed to Australia in 1911 and his wife and newborn daughter soon joined him. They settled in Sydney, where their son was born in 1913, but a year later Klavdia tragically lost her life.
  • Zacharias, working as a fitter at the NSW Government Railway Workshops, enlisted in the AIF in November 1916, but was discharged as medically unfit on the same day. Five months later he died.
  • An Australian family brought up his children, who preserved the Zacharias family archive.

George Didenko

  • George Didenko was born in Akkerman (now Belgorod-Dnestrovsky, Ukraine). Working as a ships’ fireman, he came to South Australia in 1911.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Adelaide, he sailed to the front with the 5th Pioneer Battalion, but was found medically unfit while in England and returned to Australia.
  • After the war, George lived in Adelaide up to 1920, but after that he disappears from the Australia records; most likely he had left Australia for good.

Henry Shulgen

  • Henry Shulgen, a Polish Jew, by 1914 lived in Cairns working as an optician, watchmaker and jeweller. He tried to enlist in the AIF in April 1915 in Cairns, but was not successful.
  • Moving to Sydney, he married an Australian woman, Rachel Greenfield, and tried to enlist again in November 1916, but his service did not last long. His service records have not been found.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney, working as a jeweler.

Mentze, Seltin, Strauberg, Stenger

December 21, 2016

Alexander Mentze

  • Alexander Mentze, a Latvian seaman, came to South Australia with his Russian friends Edward Seltin and Oscar Strauberg in November 1916. They deserted ship and, under the pressure of the Russian consul, enlisted in the AIF a few days later.
  • Alexander was discharged from the army soon after enlistment because of an old injury to his elbow.
  • He subsequently worked in the coastal shipping of South Australia and New South Wales, settling in Sydney where he married an Australian woman, Mary Green.

Edward Ottomar Seltin

  • Edward Ottomar Seltin, a seaman from Rujenê in Latvia, served for two years on the ships in England before deserting his ship in Australia.
  • He served with the 5th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front. In March 1918 he was wounded at Messines, but after recovering rejoined his battalion and served to the end of the war.
  • Settling in Sydney, he married an Australian girl, Florence Sherwood, and had a son Edward, who later recorded his memoirs. Seltin Sr worked as a coal lumper and later became a tram driver.

Oscar Strauberg

  • Oscar Strauberg, also a Latvian from Riga, served together with Seltin in the 5th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he worked on the coastal shipping out of Port Kembla until he lost his arm in an accident on a ship.

Fedor Stenger

  • Fedor Stenger, an artist (most likely a performer) from Riga, came to Australia not long before enlistment; his wife and two children stayed in Singapore and India, where earlier he was probably a planter.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Melbourne in October 1916 under the pressure of the Russian consulate, he was discharged a month later for family reasons. Nevertheless, going to Sydney, he re-enlisted a week later. He served with the 1st Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front until he was wounded in April 1918 at Hazebrouck.
  • He was returned to Australia and discharged in Sydney, but after that he disappears from the Australian records.

Cohen, Rothstein, Michelson, Alksne, Lindgren

December 17, 2016

Morris Cohen

  • Morris Cohen, a Jewish man from Kishinev in Bessarabia, came to Australia in 1910 with his parents and lived in Melbourne, working as a cigarette maker.
  • His service in the AIF was short and he was released a week later.
  • After the war he married Sarah Rebecca Marks and lived in Melbourne, working as a cleaner.

Morris Rothstein

  • Morris Rothstein, a Jewish man from ‘Cherkavosk’ (Cherkasy?), came to Melbourne in 1915 and worked as a steward on ships.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served with the 2nd Pioneer Battalion and the 5th Field Artillery Brigade on the Western Front.
  • After the war he lived in Melbourne and Sydney, working as a manufacturer. He married Rachel Glick and had three daughters.

Albert Gustav Michelson

  • Albert Gustav Michelson, a seaman from Arensburg (Kuressaare) in Estonia, came to Australia in 1913 and worked as a labourer in the Port Pirie smelters. In 1914 he married an Australian girl, Emma Key.
  • He served with the 5th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he moved with his wife to Western Australia and lived in Boulder and Esperance, working as a labourer.

Carl Michael Alksne

  • Carl Michael Alksne, a Latvian from Orega, came to Australia in 1916 as a seaman.
  • He served with the 18th Battalion on the Western Front and was wounded in October 1917 at Passchendaele; he was returned to Australia as medically unfit.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney, serving as a consul for Latvia in 1921-1923 and working as a carpenter.

Charles Lindgren

  • Charles Lindgren, a Finnish seaman from Tampere, came to Australia in 1904. By the time of his enlistment in the AIF he was farming in Kukerin in Western Australia.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Perth, he was allocated to the tunnellers reinforcements, but stayed in Australia and was discharged a year later.
  • It has been impossible to determine his whereabouts after that.

Lindell, Connand, Seletkoff, Erikson, Spisbah

December 11, 2016

Hugo Albert Lindell

  • Hugo Albert Lindell, a Finn from Tammerfors (Tampere), came to Western Australia in 1908 probably as a sailor, and worked as a sleeper hewer on the railway construction sites.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Banbury, he served with the 11th Battalion on the Western Front. In September 1918, during the advance south of Peronne, he was wounded in the head and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he lived in Nelson, working as a sleeper cutter.

George Connand

  • George Connand from Warsaw was most likely of German origin; he came to Australia a few years before the war and was working in Queensland as a labourer and miner.
  • By the time when he enlisted in the AIF in Cloncurry he was in his forties and a widower with two children. He sailed with the 52nd Battalion to the Western Front, but while in England became sick and was returned to Australia.
  • After the war he lived in Queensland, travelling as a swagman in the outback in search of employment.

John Seletkoff

  • John Seletkoff, a Russian from the Sarapul area, worked as a stoker and greaser on English ships since 1900, arriving in Australia in 1910.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Townsville, he was allocated to tunnelling companies, but was discharged seven months later as medically unfit.
  • After the war he worked as a miner in the Queensland outback.

Nils Arthur Erikson

  • Nils Arthur Erikson, a Finnish seaman from Mariehamn on the Aland Islands, came to Western Australia in 1912 and worked as a farm hand.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Perth, he served with the 27th Battalion on the Western Front. In December 1917 he was wounded, but recovered and continued his service to the end of the war.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Coral May Lindley, and worked as a farm manager in Bruce Rock, later moving to Perth.

Alexander Spisbah

  • Alexander Spisbah came from a Russianised German family. Born either in St Petersburg or Kharkoff, he served as a captain in the accountant subdivision in the Russian Army Headquarters. Moving to England, he married Lydia Batoulina in 1911 in Liverpool and sailed to Western Australia, where their son George was born. Alexander worked as a miner in Kurraway and Boulder.
  • Enlisting on the 13.11.1916 at Blackboy Hill, he was discharged a few months later as medically unfit.
  • After his discharge the family lived in Mornington, where Alexander worked in a sawmill. When the mill closed, Alexander was unable to find work and took his own life in 1934.

Perlman, Valichea, Somero, Lebovich, Tsinsadze

December 4, 2016

Max Perlman

  • Max Perlman, a Jewish man from Odessa, grew up in Palestine, where his parents migrated when he was a child. In 1911 he came to Western Australia and worked as a marine collector.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Perth, he was discharged two months later as medically unfit.
  • He stayed in Western Australia working as a bag merchant and labourer. During WWII he re-enlisted in the AIF.

Vladimer Valichea

  • Vladimer Valichea, born in Dvinsk (Daugavpils), came to Australia with his parents via the Russian Far East in 1912 and worked as an engine fitter in Brisbane.
  • He enlisted in the AIF for the first time in November 1915, but was discharged three months later because of his lack of English. He re-enlisted in October 1916 and served with the 47th Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1917 he was taken prisoner of war at Passchendaele, Belgium, and returned to Australia after the war.
  • In 1920 he committed suicide in Brisbane.

Daniel Somero

  • Daniel Somero, a Finn from Oulu, worked as a labourer in Kalgoorlie by the time of his enlistment in the AIF.
  • He served with the 44th Battalion on the Western Front and was killed in October 1917 at Broodseinde, near Ypres.
  • His family in Finland was found after the war.

Morris Lebovich

  • Morris Lebovich, a Jewish man from Odessa or Maikop, came to Perth in 1903 with his parents and siblings. He learned the trade of a saddler.
  • He served with the 2nd Battalion on the Western Front and, while acting as a stretcher bearer, was killed near Hazebrouck in May 1918.

George Tsinsadze

  • George Tsinsadze, a Georgian, tried to enlist in the AIF in Sydney, but his service was not long and his service records have not been found.