Archives


Kensman, Lottanen, Rytko, Farm, Smitt

October 17, 2017

John Joseph Kensman

  • John Joseph Kensman, a seaman from Libava (Liepaja) in Latvia, was living in the Sailors’ Home in Port Adelaide by the time of his enlistment in the AIF.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Adelaide in October 1917, he was discharged two months later as medically unfit.
  • In 1918 he returned to the USA and attempted to enlist in the US Army; by that time he was working as a riveter in the Submarine Boat Corps.

Wilhelm Lottanen

  • Wilhelm Lottanen, a Finnish seaman from Vyborg, came to Australia in 1915 and by the time of his enlistment was in Sydney, working as a labourer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he served with the 3rd Battalion on the Western Front, where he was gassed in August 1918.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Catherine McGirvan, and settled in Newcastle, where he worked as a labourer.

Anton Rytko

  • Anton Rytko, a Finnish seaman from Sakkijarvi, came to Sydney in June 1916 and worked as a labourer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he served with the 4th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney, working as a labourer.

Oscar Emmanuel Farm

  • Oscar Emmanuel Farm, a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors, came to Australia in 1905 and lived in Sydney.
  • Enlisting in the AIF together with Rytko, he served with the 4th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney and died early.

Frederik Smitt

  • Frederik Smitt, an Estonian seaman from Piarnu, came to Australia in December 1916, deserting from his ship.
  • He enlisted in the AIF together with Rytko and Farm and served with the 4th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he lived in different cities in Australia and continued working as a seaman.

Alto, Jurgens, Zygas

October 8, 2017

John Alto

  • John Alto, a Finnish seaman from Varkaus, came to South Australia in 1909. He worked as a seaman and labourer in the port cities of the state, but later moved to New South Wales.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney in September 1917, he was discharged a few days later as medically unfit.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Martha Margaret Williams, and lived with his family in the Newcastle area, working as a fitter.

Alexander Jurgens

  • Alexander Jurgens, an Estonian seaman from Piarnu, came to San Francisco in 1915 and then sailed to Sydney where he worked as a labourer.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Sydney the same day with Alto and was similarly discharged a few days later.
  • In January 1918 he was already in San Francisco where, being unemployed, he tried to enlist in the American Army.
  • He stayed in the city, serving on the ships, and naturalised in 1925.

Stanley Zygas

  • Stanley Zygas, a Lithuanian sailor from Survilishkis, came to South Australia in 1909 and worked as an agricultural labourer and handyman.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Adelaide, he served with the 32nd and 50th battalions on the Western Front.
  • After the war, in July 1919, he married Kathleen Green in London and returned to Australia with his wife. They lived in the Adelaide suburbs, where Stanley worked as a mechanic.

Atoff, Baeff, Johansen, Costin

October 3, 2017

Mik Atoff

  • Mik Atoff, an Ossetian from Khristianovskoe (Digora), was working as a miner in Queensland and New South Wales.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in West Maitland, he served with the 1st Battalion on the Western Front. He was recommended for an award for the battles of August 1918, setting ‘a fine standard of devotion to duty and soldierly bearing in action’. He never got the medal as in September he joined his mates in protest, as they were sent to battle instead of being relieved. He was court martialled, but the sentence was suspended after the war.
  • After the war her was returned to Australia, but later left for Russia.

Daniel Baeff

  • Daniel Baeff, another Ossetian, would later tell Australians that he served in a Cossack regiment in Russia. He came to Sydney in 1913 and was working as a colliery wheeler with Mik Atoff in Kurri Kurri. He also was known as a trainer and jockey.
  • He enlisted together with Atoff in the AIF, but was discharged a few days later as medically unfit.
  • Although he had left his wife behind in Russia, after the war he stayed in Australia, working in Queensland and New South Wales.

Vallance Johansen

  • Vallance Johansen, a Finnish seaman from Tenala (Turku), came to Newcastle in 1911.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Broken Hill, but was discharged a month later as medically unfit, as his foot had been crushed in an earlier accident.
  • After the war he lived in Adelaide working as a labourer. He married an Australian girl, Dorothy Langley, and died early, leaving three young children.

John Costin

  • John Costin, a Russian seaman from Riga, came to Australia in 1914 and was working as a labourer in country NSW.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Grafton, he served with the 53rd Battalion on the Western Front. Soon after his arrival to the front, in April 1918, he was gassed. Recovering in England, he returned to the front in August 1918 and was killed two weeks later in the attack on Peronne.
  • His mother in Riga was never found. When enlisting in the army he made his will out to the Red Cross in Sydney.