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Hiltunen, Walinkevic

September 21, 2014

Today we celebrate the lives of two servicemen, both former seamen:


Alexander Hiltunen

  • A Finn from Vyborg, born in a well connected family, came to South Australia in 1910 aged 20.
  • Settled in Port Elliot at Mrs Trigg’s, who took him into her family as a son and taught him English. Was one of the first to enlist in the area.
  • Wounded soon after landing in Gallipoli, he recovered but soon succumbed to TB which he had contracted at the front.
  • Repatriated to Australia and died a few months later, nursed on his death bed by the kind Mrs Trigg. The local community raised money and established a monument for him.


Kazis Walinkevic

  • A Lithuanian from Mariampol, he came to Western Australia in 1910 as a seaman.
  • Enlisted in the AIF as Kazis Walinkevic, was wounded soon after the Gallipoli landing, recovered and returned to the trenches, but lost his hearing as a result of a shell explosion.
  • Repatriated to Australia, he was discharged as “Charles Volukawytz”. When in 1925 his wife from Lithuania sent a query about “Kazimir Valukevicius”, an officer from Base Records had to undertake a whole investigation to combine these two apparently separate individuals back into one!

Rosberg, Sindeeff, Sast

September 2, 2014

Today we celebrate the lives of three servicemen:


Edwin Ferdinand Rosberg

  • A Finn from Helsingfors (Helsinki), he came to Australia in 1906, working as a telephone mechanic.
  • Sailed to Gallipoli, leaving his young family behind in Sydney. Was wounded soon after landing but recuperated and served on the Western Front in 1916-1918.
  • After the war, he raised a large family in Sydney. He died in the Coral Sea in a tragic accident in 1942.


Nicholas Sindeeff

  • Born in Syzran on Volga River, Sindeeff came from a well-off family.
  • He took a prominent part in political meetings in St Petersburg, so fled to the Russian Far East and in 1910, arrived in Brisbane.
  • Experienced the trades of a ship’s fireman, navvy, and engineer at Dubbo Freezing Works
  • Enlisted in the AIF in spite of Bolshevik propaganda against participation in the imperialist war.
  • In Gallipoli he was affected by a shell explosion during the August battles and, almost deafened, was invalided to Australia.
  • No trace is found of him after that. He either changed his name or returned to Russia.


Alexander Sast

  • Born in Odessa, Alexander fled Russia in his late teens to avoid military service, landing in South Australia in 1912 where he worked in Port Pirie, Kilkenny, Broken Hill, and Port Augusta as a motor mechanic.
  • Wounded at Gallipoli soon after landing, he returned to the trenches of his 10th Battalion and was taken POW by the Turks. After several months in captivity in Turkey and Bulgaria he made a daring escape and, crossing Romania and Russia, reached the British Army in Archangelsk. Smuggled to the UK, he was screened by the Court of Enquiry and continued his service on the Western Front.
  • Returning to Australia, he went blind and died in Sydney of heart failure, leaving behind a wife and three stepchildren.

Luck, Arn, Kamishansky, Baer

August 30, 2014

Today we celebrate the lives of four servicemen:


Sidney Ivor Luck

  • Born in Zamoste, Lublin Province, he came London with his family as a child.
  • Educated as a surveyor, emigrated to Australia in 1912 to work in Broken Hill.
  • Fought in Gallipoli in the Medical Corps. In 1916 transferred to the Imperial Army, serving in Salonica and Constantinopole.
  • After the war had a successful career in London, but visited Russia in 1936 as a member of the British eclipse expedition to Omsk.


Alexander Arn

  • A Russian from St Petersburg, probably a Russian German.
  • Came to Australia in 1911 via the Far East and took to the bush, rabbiting at Coolamon and Walbundrie stations in NSW.
  • At the Gallipoli landing, he lost the fingers on his left hand and was repatriated to Australia, but re-enlisted and served for two years in the Camel Corps.
  • After the war, he moved to London, serving in the British Merchant Navy.


George Kamishansky

  • Son of a Russian St Petersburg court prosecutor, he was born in Kerch, the Crimea. Well educated, he took to the sea after his father’s death, and came to Australia as an AB seaman in 1913.
  • Fought at Gallipoli as a gunner, on the Western Front was attached to the Army Intelligence Staff, where he was able to put his linguistic skills to good use.
  • Worked as electrician, telephone mechanic and customs officer after the war, naming his house in Sydney ‘Kertch’.


Thomas Baer

  • Born in Lappo in Finland, came to Australia as a ship’s engineer.
  • Wounded in Gallipoli soon after landing, but recuperated and fought on the Western Front, reaching the rank of Sergeant.
  • Married in England and lived in Sydney after the war, working as a labourer.

Dyson, Zander, Levene, Mayer

August 29, 2014

Today we celebrate the lives of four servicemen:


Francis Wilfred Holt Dyson

  • Briton born in Riga, Latvia, and educated at Oxford.
  • Worked on farms in Konagaderrer, Victoria.
  • Survived, unscathed, three years in the artillery units in Gallipoli and on the Western Front.
  • Killed in the Somme in April 1918, leaving an orphaned daughter.

Charles Oscar Zander

  • Born near Vilnius; he was most likely a Baltic German.
  • Took to sea at sixteen, and worked on ships in England and South Australia.
  • Survived a full term at Gallipoli, and during furlough in London married his old friend Ethel Agnes Horne, a widow with two young kids.
  • Killed at Mouquet Farm in August 1916.

Abraham Levene

  • Born in Russia in a Jewish family, he was raised in Nottingham.
  • Came to Australia at eighteen to follow the occupation of ‘bush worker and general labourer’
  • Enlisted in the AIF as ‘David Conroy’, a Scot from Glasgow
  • Wounded in Gallipoli at the battle for Bloody Angle, he rejoined his unit only to be killed a few weeks later at Shrapnel Valley.

Robert Mayer

  • Born in Warsaw, Poland, came to Australia with his Jewish family as a child. Was a tailor.
  • Enlisted at nineteen and served at Gallipoli with the 1st Battalion, returned to Australia medically unfit. Reenlisted and served on the Western Front, where he was wounded in Perrone in September 1918. Court martialled for petty crimes in London and repatriated to Australia.
  • Mayer’s life crumbled apart after the war: he became a thief with extensive police records in several states.

Szablowsky, Markowicz, Ball

August 16, 2014

Today we celebrate the lives of three servicemen:


Julian Szablowsky

  • Born in Dlugosiodlo, Poland; works as a cook on Australian ships.
  • He is the first former Russian-born subject to enlist, serving in the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.
  • He leaves for the USA in 1915, where, unemployed in the 1940s, he signs up for WWII service and vanishes from the records.


Alfred Jan de Topor Markowicz

  • Came from a noble Polish family.
  • Soon after the Gallipoli landing, he is detained on suspicion of being a spy, and fights for years to clear his name.
  • In 1935, defeated, he commits suicide, and is buried by a chevra kadisha, a Jewish burial society.


George Ball

  • A Briton, Ball was born and raised in St Petersburg, and comes to Rutherglen, Victoria at 18.
  • Wounded in the Gallipoli landing, he is awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry at Lone Pine.
  • Killed at the Somme in 1916.
  • He is commemorated officially in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, and in the local Rutherglen newspaper by his friend, Violet Hicks. His St Petersburg family was never found.