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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.