Puikko, Tarasov, Kotton, Kovalevsky, Thomasson

May 18, 2016

Karl Johannes Puikko

  • Karl Johannes Puikko, a Finnish seaman from Oulu, came to Australia in about 1912 and worked as a labourer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Melbourne, he served with the 46th Battalion on the Western Front; later he was transferred to the machine gun battalion. In September 1917 he was gassed at Ypres and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he continued seafaring and finally returned to Finland.

Serge Tarasov

  • Serge Tarasov was a seaman from St Petersburg; his father was a history teacher there.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Newcastle, Tarasov served with the 34th Battalion on the Western Front. In May 1918 he was killed near Sailly-le-Sec on Somme.
  • The local Newcastle newspaper, commemorating his death, wrote ‘Young Tarasov was a midshipman, but deserted in order to join the fight against the Germans’.

Moisey Kotton

  • Moisey Kotton, a young Jewish man from Kremenchug on Ukraine, came with his family to Harbin and in 1912 moved to Brisbane in Australia. After trying a number of jobs in South Queensland, he finally settled in the small township of Naughtons Gap near Lismore in NSW, where he worked as a carter, winning the love and respect of local farmers.
  •  With the outbreak of war he made several attempts to enlist in the AIF. The local newspaper reported when he finally succeeded in his attempts: ‘Mr. M. Kotton, who succeeded in passing the medical test, is a naturalised Russian, and is only 5 ft. high. The minimum height is 5 ft 2 in, and Mr. Kotton was pleased when he was admitted as a bugler. He is very anxious to get to the front’. He served with the 4th Battalion on the Western Front; in September 1918 he was killed in the battle south of Peronne.

Andrew Kovalevsky

  • Andrew Kovalevsky from Blahoveshchenka in Ukraine came to Australia in 1913 from the Russian Far Est. He was probably a clerk by profession, but worked in Queensland as a labourer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Bundaberg, he served with the 26th Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1918 he was killed at the advance south of Peronne.

Thomas Thomasson

  • Thomas Thomasson, a Finnish seaman from Christinestad, enlisted in the AIF in Melbourne.
  • He served with the 29th Battalion on the Western Front until he got sick with otitis and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he lived in Melbourne.