Smagin, Volkoff, Noweetsky

April 7, 2015

Gregory Smagin

  • Gregory Smagin came to Brisbane from Eniseisk in Siberia soon after the war broke out, leaving his wife in Russia.
  • Enlisting in the 15th Battalion in Townsville, he travelled to Gallipoli per Karoola with Glowacki and Roomianzoff. Later he served as a gunner in the 4th Division Ammunition Column on the Western Front. In July 1918, after Russian withdrawal from the war and Britain support to the ‘White’ Russian Army, he refused soldering in the Australian Army. He was placed under close arrest, investigated, and finally returned to Australia ‘on account of Russian nationality’.
  • After the war Smagin married a Russian woman and lived in Innisfail, working for the city council. In 1929, during a conflict with another Russian, Nikolas Dvorik, who allegedly claimed that he was living in the trenches like a worm, Smagin initiated a court case where his AIF comrade Stanley Siwczynski came to his defense as a witness.

John Volkoff

  • John Volkoff, a carpenter from the village of Malyi Iukhtunur in Viatka Province, came to Brisbane in 1912 via the Far East.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Townsville together with Smagin; and came to Gallipoli with the 15th Battalion per Karoola. Two days after landing, in August 1915, he was killed in the Lone Pine battle.
  • His family in Malyi Iukhtunur was never found.

Leonard Noweetsky

  • Leonard Noweetsky was a draughtsman from Zmerinka in Ukraine; his mother lived in Khabarovsk in Siberia.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Rockhampton, a week after the six ‘Russians’, and was attached to the gun section of the 26th Battalion. He survived Gallipoli, but was killed at Tel-el-Kebir in an accident when a road-making roller came loose and hit his horses, making them bolt in fear and drag him down the road.
  • His mother was never found.