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.