Soans, Collath, Klatchko, Wirta, White

July 21, 2015

Boris Soans

  • Boris Soans, an Estonian seaman from Revel (Tallinn), in 1906 graduated from the Nautical school there and toiled the sea. Before the war he lived in Port Adelaide in South Australia.
  • He arrived with the 32nd Battalion at the Western Front in June 1916. A month later he was killed at the Sugarloaf Battle.
  • His father was found after the war and received his medals.

 Carl Edgar Collath

  •  Carl Edgar Collath from Talsen in Latvia came to Sydney in 1908, and worked there as a labourer and a painter.
  • He served with the 54th Battalion on the Western Front suffering from a number of ailments and shell shock.
  • After the war he married Alice Mary Penman, the girlfriend of his mate killed in action. He was probably Edgar Joseph Goodwin, in whose memory they would place an advertisement in the newspaper on the date of his death. The Collaths had a family in Sydney where Carl worked as a railway employee, occasionally suffering from memory loss caused by shell shock at Paschendale. Their son Lawrence Edgar served in the 2nd AIF in WWII.

Dr Michael Klatchko

  • Dr Michael Klatchko, born in St Petersburg, came from a cultural Russian Jewish family. He was a dental surgeon and a specialist in plastic surgery of jaws and face.
  • At the outbreak of the war he was stranded in Egypt and attached to the AIF working in Australian hospitals there. In September 1916 he accompanied wounded soldiers being repatriated on the Borda to Australia; upon arrival he was employed by the Russian consulate in recruiting Russians across the country.
  • His career ended quite unexpectedly and suddenly: in 1917 he secretly married and left for Vladivostok with a girl, Phyllis Olga Duckett, from an upper-class Melbourne family. They had a daughter, Masha, and finally settled in Shanghai. Sadly his wife committed suicide in 1936, and Michael and Masha endured the Japanese occupation of Shanghai.

Tobias Oscar Richard Wirta

  • Tobias Oscar Richard Wirta from Abo in Finland worked as a labourer in Kalgoorlie before the war.
  • He came to the Western Front with the 48th Battalion in June 1916 and was killed in September 1916 at the battle for Mouquet Farm.
  • His mother in Finland was found after the war and received Australian pension.

John Henry White

  • John Henry White, a Finnish seaman from Vyborg, came to South Australia in 1905 and worked as a bushman in country NSW.
  • He enlisted for the first time in December 1914 in Condobolin, but was soon discharged. The second time he enlisted was in July 1915 in South Australia; he served with the 48th Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1917 he was killed at Passchendaele.
  • His family in Vyborg was found after the war.