Nevola, Nelson, Ospovat, Luoma, Wicks

September 13, 2017

Jacob Nevola

  • Jacob Nevola, a Finnish seaman from Wasa (Vaasa), came to South Australia in 1914.
  • In 1916 he twice enlisted in the AIF, but was discharged because of drunkenness. His third attempt, in July 1917, was successful and he served with the 50th Battalion on the Western Front. In June 1918 he was wounded in the knee, but rejoined his battalion.
  • Before leaving for the front he married an Australian woman, Alice Newton, and lived in South Australia, working as a labourer and gardener. He had a number of convictions because of drunkenness, especially after his wife’s death in 1934, and tragically drowned in the Murray River while drinking with a group of swagmen.

John Henry Nelson

  • John Henry Nelson, a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors (Helsinki), came to South Australia in December 1916 and worked in the smelters and on coasting crafts.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Port Adelaide, he served with the 48th Battalion on the Western Front. A month after his arrival to the front, in May 1918, he was wounded in the right hand, losing four fingers. The ship Barunga, on which he was returning to Australia, was torpedoed by the Germans, but he survived.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Vera Constance Hooper, and lived in Adelaide, working as a labourer.

Hyam Ospovat

  • Hyam Ospovat, a Jewish man from Dvinsk (now Daugavpils, Latvia), grew up in England and was working on the ships as a steward. In May 1917 he came to Australia.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Newcastle in July, but was discharged soon after as medically unfit.
  • In 1918 he married an Australian girl, Ella Ada Hughes, and had a son. He could not find employment and, while in Queensland, drowned in 1920 while crossing the flooded Flinders River.

Bruno Luoma

  • Bruno Luoma was a Finnish seaman from Abo (Turku).
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Tasmania, but was discharged soon after, probably because of his lack of naturalisation.
  • After the war he continued seafaring and left for the USA.

Frank Joseph Wicks

  • Frank Joseph Wicks was born in St Petersburg or Warsaw; by the time of his enlistment in the AIF he was working as a labourer in Queensland.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Charleville, Queensland, he served with the Tunnelling Corps as a sapper on the Western Front.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Mary Parkinson, and lived with his family in Bendigo, working as a labourer. During WWII he joined the AIF again.