Papchuck, Matson, Matzonas, Tomson, Clesner

October 19, 2015

Denis Papchuck

  • Denis Papchuck, a Ukrainian from Beresdov in Volyn Province, came to Geraldton in Western Australia in 1913, probably as a seaman. Later he changed his first name to Daniel.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Perth he served as a sapper in the 3rd Tunneling Company on the Western Front.
  • While in the UK he married Edith Agnes Fletcher and brought her to Australia. They had three children, but their marriage did not last and in 1932 he married Annie Mabel Hannan. They had a large family, but Annie died in 1943, leaving him to struggle to raise six children. They lived in Fremantle where Papchuck worked as a waterside worker.

Albert Matson

  • Albert Matson, a Finnish seaman from Waasa, came to Sydney in 1915 and enlisted a few days afterwards.
  • He served as a sapper in the 1st Tunneling Company on the Western Front.
  • Returning to Australia, he married Linda Moore Schneider from New Zealand. They lived in Sydney where Matson worked as a seaman. During WWII he enlisted in the AIF and served in the Garrison Battalion, while his wife had to register with the police as an ‘alien’, as they did not have money for naturalisation.

Franc Matzonas

  • Franc Matzonas, a seaman, stated he was born in Riga, but it is quite likely that he was a Lithuanian, as his mother had a Lithuanian name, Kazimira Maciuniene, and lived in Lithuania after the war.
  • Like Matson, he enlisted in the AIF a few days after his arrival in Sydney. He served in the Light Horse regiments and Camel Corps in Egypt. He was killed in the raid at Tel el Khuweilfe in November 1917.
  • His widowed mother in Lithuania received a pension from Australian government after the war.

Edward Tomson

  • Edward Tomson, a seaman who also gave his place of birth as Riga, was probably an Estonian from Oesel (Saaremaa) Island, where his father lived. Like Matson and Matzonas he landed at Sydney not long before his enlistment and it is quite likely that they all met in a seamen’s house and decided to join together.
  • Tomson served with the 56th Battalion on the Western Front. In July 1916 at the battle for Sugarloaf he was severely wounded in the head, left arm and leg. After months in hospitals he returned to the front a year later and was gassed in April 1918 and then wounded in the head and knee in September 1918 at the battle for Peronne.
  • He was discharged in London and continued his occupation as a seaman.

Sam Clesner

  • Sam Clesner was born in Odessa as Sanya Klezner. He came to Australia in 1914 and worked as a printer.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Sydney and worked for a while for the Headqurters Staff Printers, but was soon discharged.
  • After the war he left Australia in 1921.