Forsberg, Smirnoff, Simula, Wishman

September 25, 2018

Otto Alexander Forsberg

  • Otto Alexander Forsberg, a Finnish seaman from Mariehamn, came to Australia in about 1902 and continued serving on ships in Australian waters. In 1903 he married an Australian girl, Mary Allen Semple, in Victoria and lived with his family in Melbourne, working as a labourer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in May 1918, he sailed with reinforcements to England, disembarking in London three days after the Armistice; nevertheless he spent some time with the troops in France.
  • After the war he returned to Melbourne, but died early, in 1922.

Paul Smirnoff

  • Paul Smirnoff, a young Russian man from Vologda, came to Australia in 1914 and worked as a labourer, wheeler and miner in New South Wales.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in May 1918 in Cessnock and sailed with reinforcements to the Western front, arriving there after the end of the war. In 1919 he joined the Middlesex Regiment of the British Army, the North Russian Relief Force, as  an interpreter and acting sergeant, and served with it in Northern Russia.
  • After the war he returned to Australia, but most likely later moved to the UK.

Vaino Alexander Simula

  • Vaino Alexander Simula, a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors (Helsinki), was serving on the ships in Newcastle during the war.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in February 1918, but was rejected on medical grounds. In May 1918 he enlisted once again in Newcastle, as Alexander Simula, and was accepted. He sailed with reinforcements to Western Front, arriving in France in January 1919, and served there in the graves registration department.
  • After the war, returning to Australia, he married an Irish girl, Mary Janetta Stewart, and lived in Parramatta and Sydney working as a labourer. They had three sons; their elder son Roy Alexander served in the Australian Army during the Second World War.

David Wishman

  • David Wishman, a Jewish man from Sheduva (now Lithuania), probably came to Australia as a seaman on the Russian ship Lawhill, deserting it in South Australia in 1917. During the war he lived in Sydney working as a bicycle builder.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in May 1918, he sailed with reinforcements to the Western Front, arriving in France in February 1919.
  • After the war he returned to Sydney, but it has been impossible to trace his life in the following years.