Gambrill, Ullstedt, Lambahirt, Poplawski

January 21, 2015

Oscar Norton Gambrill

  • Oscar Norton Gambrill came from a family of a British merchant who lived in St Petersburg for many years. His father died when he was 12. In 1914 Oscar came to Australia and tried himself as a station hand in Longreach, in outback Queensland.
  • With the Light Horse Regiment he served in Gallipoli; he continued his service on the Western Front with the Division Ammunition Column as a driver, but was later transferred to his Division HQ.
  • After the war he took a commercial course in Clark’s college in London and was discharged in England, planning to work for a company in Southern Russia. Later he worked as a trader in Egypt, ending up a company director. He died in Egypt and was buried in Cairo.

Alfred Ullstedt

  • Alfred Ullstedt, a Finish sea captain, came to Australia in 1907 and settled in the Rockhampton area, working as a sawyer. In 1913 he was involved in a mining accident.
  • While in the AIF, he served as a driver in Egypt and on the Western Front.
  • He married soon after discharge from the Army and lived in Sydney working as a painter. He served in the Garrison Battalion during WWII and died soon afterwards.

Theodor Lambahirt

  • Theodor Lambahirt came from Vindava (Ventspils) in Latvia; he studied at the school of commerce in Riga and came to Australia as a sailor.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he landed at Gallipoli in July 1915 with reinforcements to the 5th Battalion and was killed at the Lone Pine battle in August.
  • His mate from the battalion gave him a tribute in a newspaper advertisement. Lambahirt’s mother was found in Latvia and received an Australian pension.

George Poplawski

  • George Poplawski from Warsaw, emigrating to Australia, worked in Cooma as a telegraphist.
  • He enlisted in Brisbane and sailed with reinforcements to the 15th Battalion to Egypt. He did not reach Gallipoli, being returned to Australia as medically unfit.
  • While still in the Army in Brisbane, he died in a tram accident.

Lakovsky, Popow, Sage

January 19, 2015

Edward Lakovsky

  • Edward Lakovsky was born in Iuzovo (now Eastern Ukraine), later his family moved to Odessa and in the early 1900s, in the wake of Russian pogroms, sailed to Western Australia. Initially they lived in Kalgoorlie and Broken Hill.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in South Australia, Edward sailed with the 10th Battalion to Egypt. He did not reach Gallipoli, being returned to Australia as medically unfit.
  • He married soon after his return and raised a large family in Melbourne, working as a boot repairer.

Alexander Popow

  • Alexander Popow, born in Glukhov, Ukraine, came from the family of Russian Army General Aleksandr N. Popov. Alexander studied electrical engineering at the University of Liège, Belgium, and worked for the Russian government.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served with the 2nd Field Company Engineers at Gallipoli, where he was wounded a few weeks after landing in June 1915. In November 1916, in the battle for the Somme on the Western Front, he survived multiple shell-wounds only to develop gas gangrene, and spent nearly six months in English hospitals, undergoing three operations, which left him with 63 scars on his left leg alone.
  • Luckily he recovered, came to the USA in 1919, settled near Boston working in metallurgy research. Here he changed his name to Peter Popow Alexander.

Lamotte Alexis Sage

  • Lamotte Alexis Sage from Odessa probably had French ancestry, as his father’s name was Louis and sister’s was Dolora. Nevertheless, Lamotte’s religion was recorded as ‘Slav’, which must have meant Russian Orthodox; he claimed a three-year service in a ‘Cossack Regiment’, while his sister lived in Archangelsk – all this suggests long-lasting connections with the Russian Empire. Landing in Albany in 1898, in Western Australia, he found employment in the south-western areas of the colony, working as a timber cutter, sleeper carter and hewer on the construction of the railway lines.
  • Although he was in his forties, he enlisted in the AIF and soldiered through the whole war in the artillery regiments as a gunner and a driver.
  • While in a British hospital he met English girl Rosa Hales and they married before Sage was sent to the Western Front. In 1919 they returned to Australia with a young daughter. They lived in Western Australia, where Sage took up farming.

Korotcoff, Soolcovsky, Romanovsky

January 13, 2015

Nicolas Korotcoff

  • Nicolas Korotcoff, a Russian from Samara, spent two years in Manchuria deserting from the Russian Army. In 1912 he landed in Cairns and worked as cane cutter in Port Douglas in North Queensland.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Cairns he joined a group of Russians in the 5th reinforcements of the 9th Battalion. In June 1915 they landed at Gallipoli. In 1916 Korotcoff was transferred to the 11th Field Artillery Brigade, serving as a driver on the Western Front. He was wounded at the battle for Passchendaele in October 1917. When, after the Russian revolution of 1917 Russia withdrew from the war, a group of Russians which included Korotcoff applied for discharge and were returned to Australia ‘on account of Russian nationality’.
  • Korotcoff returned to Northern Queensland working as a cane cutter and night watchman. During WWII he enlisted in the AIF again, serving in the Volunteer Defence Corps.

Yan Soolcovsky

  • Yan Soolcovsky, born in Mlava, Poland, came to Townsville from the Russian Far East in 1914. Later he lived in Gympie, working as a butcher.
  • He enlisted in the AIF with the Russian Romanovsky and sailed to the front with a group of Russians in the 9th Battalion’s 5th reinforcements. He served at Gallipoli and on the Western Front where he was wounded at Mouquet Farm in 1916 and at Polygon Wood in 1917. As a result of the second casualty, his left hand was amputated.
  • In 1920 his health failed and he died in Brisbane with his fiancée at his side.

Nicholas Romanovsky

  • Nicholas Romanovsky was born in Achinsk in Siberia and worked on the railway as a construction engineer and probably came to Australia from the Far East.
  • He enlisted in the AIF together with Soolkovsky and fought at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. He was wounded together with his mate at Mouquet Farm and at Polygon Wood. Two days after the last casualty he died of his wounds.

Mahlit, Berzin, Kozareff, Parsons

January 12, 2015

Rudolph Mahlit

  • Rudolph Mahlit, a Latvian teacher, organised the first social-democratic circles in Latvia. Exiled to Siberia, he fled to Japan and came to Western Australia in 1912. He worked in the Collie area as a timber hewer and foreman and was loved by all in the district.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he participated in the Gallipoli landing with the 16th Battalion. On 2 May 1915 he was wounded at the battle for Bloody Angle, at Quinn’s Post. He rejoined his unit after recovery, only to die not long after, during the attack on Hill 60 on 27 August.

George Berzin

  • George Berzin, a sailor from Wolmar (Valmiera), Latvia, came to Australia from South America in 1911 and worked as a labourer in Broken Hill, Yorktown and Port Pirie.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served at Gallipoli where he was promoted to Lance Corporal. He was killed at Pozieres, on the Western Front, on 4 August 1916.
  • His uncle Edward Sinka, living in Latvia, was never found, but his Australian friends placed commemorative advertisements in newspapers.

Evan Kozareff

  • Evan Kozareff from Moscow was an engine driver; he served for four years in the Russian Army.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Liverpool, he deserted a month later.

Sidney Herbert Parsons

  • Sidney Herbert Parsons was born in St Petersburg in 1870, where his British parents lived for many years. In 1886 all their family emigrated to Sydney, where young Sidney worked as a saddler. By the time of the war he was married and had a daughter.
  • He served in the 2nd Battalion as Corporal and Sergeant at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. He was wounded three times: during August battles at Gallipoli in 1915, and at Pozieres in 1916 and at Bullecourt in 1917 on the Western Front.
  • After the war he worked as a tram driver in Sydney.

Janson, Deramer, Baranoff, Barr

January 11, 2015

Edward Janson

  • Edward Janson, a Latvian seaman from Libava (Liepaja), enlisted in the AIF in Melbourne, but was discharged two months later.
  • His trail is lost after that.

Francis Deramer

  • Francis Deramer came from a cultured noble family in Poland; he served in the Russian Army as an officer and received education as a construction engineer in St Petersburg. In 1913 he came to Brisbane from the Russian Far East.
  • He served with the 9th Queensland Battalion at Gallipoli as a Corporal. Getting sick there, he was taken to hospital in England and discharged in 1916, taking up an employment at the Russian Government Committee in London. After the Russian revolution of 1917, he joined the British Army Royal Engineers and served in Siberia, being awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his service.
  • In 1923, marrying an English girl, he came to Queensland with his young family, but a few years later returned to England.
  • During WWII he served in the British RAF as Flight Lieutenant.

Michael Baranoff

  • Michael Baranoff was born in Morshansk in Central Russia, and acquired the trade of engine fitter and driver in the Government Locomotive Works there. He came to Queensland from the Russian Far East in 1911.
  • He enlisted in the AIF twice, in Brisbane in 1915 and in Cloncurry in 1916, but was discharged both times as medically unfit.
  • In 1917 he left for Harbin.

James William Barr

  • James William Barr, a British man, was born in Riga, Latvia. Coming to Sydney, he worked as a clerk and accountant. He enlisted in the AIF on 8 January 1915 and three weeks later married an Australian girl, Elsie Ward. Their first daughter was born while he was serving overseas.
  • Barr served in Gallipoli and then, as a corporal and sergeant, on the Western Front. He was gassed at Hill 60 Hollebeke in Belgium in February 1918 and repatriated to Australia.
  • He died in 1923 in the Military Hospital in Sydney, leaving his wife and young child.

Abelscaln, Adjutant, Lind

January 9, 2015

Edward Abelscaln

  • Edward Abelscaln, a Latvian seaman, enlisted in Melbourne and served at Gallipoli with 13th Light Horse Regiment. He obviously was fluent in English, as, while in Egypt he took a course at the School of Instruction and, when at the Western Front, was transferred to the Australian Provost Corps and appointed Lance Sergeant.
  • He was awarded with the Military Medal for his bravery and initiative during the battle for Passchendaele in October 1917, organising traffic under heavy shelling on the Bellewaarde Plank Road where it had been blocked by a shell crater. His commander in the recommendation for award noted his ‘energy, coolness, and example’.
  • Abelscaln was discharged in London, planning to return to independent Latvia to care for his father.

Henry Adjutant

  • The story of Latvian Henry Adjutant’s settlement in Australia began dramatically. In 1906 he arrived in Australia on the barque ‘Thistle Bank’, the seamen of which complained that on the voyage to Australia they were half-starving. Adjutant deserted from the barque with his mate John Paulin, an Austrian. Several months later, when they were working near Ensay in the Snowy Mountains, they had a heated argument and Adjutant stabbed Paulin with a knife. He was sentenced to nine months imprisonment. In the following years he worked as a labourer in Gippsland.
  • He landed at Gallipoli with the 14th Battalion in May 1915. Being wounded there in June, he was evacuated to Australia. While in Melbourne he married an Australian girl, but soon resumed his army service, performing nursing duties on the troop ships travelling between Egypt and Australia.

Thomas Lind

  • Thomas Lind, a Finn from Vyborg, came to Australia in 1907. Working as a fisherman and a labourer he lived in Victoria, Tasmania, New Zealand, Queensland and New South Wales.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Brisbane and, landing at Gallipoli with the 15th Battalion, was killed.
  • After his death it was established that his true name was Antti Kujala. His mother in Finland was found after the war and received his medals.

Benjamin, Pshevolodskey, Radetsky, Gretchinsky

December 27, 2014

David Benjamin

  • David Benjamin came from Warsaw in Poland; he was probably Jewish, although enlisting in the AIF he stated that his religion was ‘Russian Pole’. He served in the Russian Army and then lived for 4 years in Paris, working as a tailor. He came to Sydney in 1912 and naturalised before enlistment into the AIF.
  • He was accepted in the AIF as a driver in the Army Service Corps, but deserted two months later.
  • Due to his common surname it is difficult to trace his subsequent life.

Marian Pshevolodskey

  • Marian Pshevolodskey, a Pole from a village near Novograd-Volynsky in Ukraine, fought in the Russian Army in the Russo-Japanese War. He probably came to Queensland from the Russian Far East, and worked in Brisbane as a carpenter.
  • He was accepted for service in the AIF as an interpreter and sailed to Gallipoli with the 15th Queensland Battalion. On 9/10 May 1915, when his battalion was attacking the Turkish trenches facing Quinn’s Post, Pshevolodsky was killed.
  • His mother Paulina in Ukraine was never found.

Sebastian Radetsky

  • Sebastian Radetsky, a Ukrainian from the same Volyn Province as Pshevolodskey, served in the Russian Army as well and came to Brisbane in 1912 from Japan.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in South Australia and served in the 10th Battalion. He landed at Gallipoli in June 1915 and continued his service on the Western Front in 1916-1918, where he was wounded three times: in July 1916 at Pozieres, in May 1917 at Bullecourt, and in August 1918 during the advance on Amiens.
  • After the war he lived in New South Wales and died in Sydney in 1935.

James Theodor Gretchinsky

  • James Theodor Gretchinsky came from a surgeon’s family in the Ukrainian town of Gorodnia. He was well educated in Moscow and Odessa, gaining the profession of electrical engineer. He also fought in the Russo-Japanese War, attaining the rank of sub-lieutenant. He came to Brisbane from Vladivostok in 1913 and worked at Bingera plantation.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Longreach and sailed for Egypt with the 9th Queensland Battalion. Soon after arrival to Egypt he got sick with varicose veins, had surgery and was returned to Australia, where he was finally discharged with chronic rheumatism.
  • He tried to get job in the army as a driver or in the censor’s office (he knew many languages), but all he could get were jobs of a greaser or a wiper on the ships. After several restless years, he finally settled in Sydney, working again as an electrical engineer.

Henningsen, Piukkula, Arreta, Berkis

December 20, 2014

Hans Peter Henningsen

  • Hans Peter Henningsen came to Australia with his family as a boy in 1900. They farmed in the Woombye area in Queensland. Hans and his family were Danish, but enlisting in the AIF, he stated that he was born in Russia.
  • While in Gallipoli Henningsen served in the 5th Light Horse regiment. He wrote to his parents from Gallipoli: ‘We feel that if we were not sent out in a righteous cause, we would not stand five minutes, as the bullets come like a shower or rain’. Back in Egypt he was transferred to the 2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance and served in this unit in Egypt in 1916-1918.
  • No data about his life after the war could be found.

Otto Piukkula

  • Otto Piukkula, a Finn from Abo, Finland, was a sailor for six years before coming in 1913 to South Australia, where he worked as a labourer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he reached Gallipoli in September 1915 with the reinforcements of the 16th Battalion. In 1916 he was transferred to the 4th Light Trench Mortar Battery and served on the Western Front, attaining the rank of Lance corporal. In April 1917 he was killed at the battle for Bullecourt.
  • After his death his commander, Captain A.W. Nott, sent a letter to Piukkula’s mother in Finland, in which he wrote: ‘Let me include congratulations that you had such a gallant man for a son, with deepest feelings of all comrades’.

August Arreta

  • August Arreta, a seaman from Haapsalu in Estonia, came to Western Australia in 1911. After 18 months in Mornington, working probably at the timber mills there, he moved to South Australia, working in Port Pirie and Port Augusta.
  • With the 10th Battalion he participated in the landing at Gallipoli and was wounded in the leg in May 1915. After several months in hospitals in Egypt, he returned to the trenches in August 1915. In early 1916 he was transferred to the 24th Howitzer Brigade as a gunner and moved to the Western Front. In November 1916 he slipped on the rain soaked ground and his leg was crushed by the wheel of a gun. After some time in hospitals he was repatriated to Australia.
  • After demobilisation he received a pension for a time and worked as a wharfie in Port Adelaide. On 24 November 1922, loading a collier, he fell into the hold and died. Workingmen’s Compensation paid 20 pounds for his funeral expenses.

Arvid Berkis

  • Arvid Berkis, a Latvian sailor from Riga, came to Australia in 1909 via Russian Vladivostok. He was a heavyweight boxer, and travelling around Australia, worked as a sailor, labourer and miner.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Melbourne; with the reinforcements for the 6th Battalion he sailed to Egypt in February 1915 per Runic. A correspondent wrote about a boxing championship held aboard the ship: ‘Berkis (Vic.) defeated ‘Bob’ Goyen (Tas. Artillery). The winner is of Russian parentage and a beautiful model of a man. He is 42in around the chest normal measurement, and is a terrific hitter’.
  • Landing at Gallipoli, Berkis was wounded in May in the charge at Krithia, but recovering in Egypt, he rejoined his battalion and was severely wounded again in the fight for German Officers’ Trench in July. He died of his wounds aboard the ship returning him to Egypt and was buried at sea – a sailor’s fate.


Amolin, Riedel, Popoff

December 16, 2014

John Amolin

  • John Amolin, a Latvian from Riga, served on the trading vessels as a seaman, landing in Australia in 1911. He worked as a miner in Broken Hill.
  • He arrived at Gallipoli with the reinforcements of the 16th Battalion in May 1915 and was killed in action on 23 August 1915.
  • After the war his cousin Jan Rosiang, who also served in the AIF, learnt that Amolin’s father died in 1916 and his two brothers were killed by Bolsheviks in 1920. The Australian government paid Amolin’s mother a pension till her death in 1952.

Charles Riedel

  • Charles Riedel from Sosnowiec in Poland was probably of German descent. Before the war he worked as a labourer in Mount Barker in South Australia.
  • He arrived at Gallipoli with the 10th Battalion reinforcements in May 1915 and later served on the Western Front. He was killed in the battle for Mouquet Farm in August 1916.
  • His family in Poland was never found.

Alexander Popoff

  • Alexander Popoff was of ethnic Russian descent, from Vologda. His mother Neonila Kaverzneva was the wife of a priest. Alexander came to Australia as a seaman and enlisted in the AIF in Sydney.
  • He served at Gallipoli and the Western Front and was killed in action in the battle for Poziers in July 1916.
  • His family in Russia was never found, and there are grounds to believe that his younger brother Ivan Kavrznev was arrested during Stalin’s purges of 1937.

Balooda, Hendrickson, Ljung

December 15, 2014

David Balooda

  • David Balooda from Riga was most likely a Latvian. According to his naturalisation he came to Australia in 1907 and worked on the farms in Victoria and Queensland, but in his obituary it was mentioned that, being a Lutheran, ‘he arrived in Australia in 1902 and was a pastoral worker in South Australia until war broke out in 1914’.
  • In his naturalisation and in the obituary it was stated that, enlisting in the AIF in Melbourne, he sailed to Egypt with the 24th Battalion, but was later invalided back to Australia. Service records concerning his AIF service have not been found in the archives and Balooda himself later stated that all his documents were lost when his camp at Barracoola in Queensland burned down.
  • In 1927, by the time of his naturalisation, he worked as a coal miner in Barracoola and had a family. In 1928 he took a selection at Callide Valley where many Russian families were engaged in farming.

John Hendrickson

  • John Hendrickson from Riga enlisted in the AIF in South Australia and fought with the 10th Battalion in Gallipoli.
  • In August 1915 he fell ill with otitis and rheumatism and was invalided to Australia. Nevertheless in 1917 he enlisted once again and served at the Western Front, where he was wounded in left arm in May 1918.
  • After the war, he disappears from Australian archival records.

Karl Richard Ljung

  • Karl Richard Ljung from Helsingfors (Helsinki) in Finland settled in South Australia before the war.
  • Serving with the 10th Battalion, he participated in the landing in Gallipoli and later served on the Western Front. In April 1917 he was killed in the battle for Noreuil in France.
  • His mother Ida was never found, but his Australian friends, the Glazbrook family from Birkenhead in Port Adelaide, commemorated his death in the local newspaper, printing his portrait. In October 2012 the Australian War Memorial dedicated one of its Last Post evening sessions to his memory.