Sundgren, Chain, Janus, Gustafson, Pasvalsky

December 5, 2015

Kusta Sundgren

  • Kusta Sundgren was born in Abo (Turku) in Finland; he came to Australia as a cook on a Finnish ship in 1907 and farmed in Pennant Hills, NSW.
  • He served with the 56th Battalion on the Western Front and was returned to Australia in 1917 as medically unfit.
  • After the war he farmed in Lisarow, marrying a local woman, Hilma Fuller.

Isaac Chain

  • Isaac Chain, a Jewish man from Odessa, came to Australia in 1908 from South Africa. He worked in Melbourne and Sydney as a cigarette manufacturer. By the time of his enlistment in the army he was married to Sarah Bass and had a son born soon after his departure for the front.
  • He served on the Western Front with the 4th Battalion until he got sick and returned to Australia in 1917.
  • After the war he stayed in the Sydney area and joind the 2nd AIF during WWII, serving in the 7th Garrison Battalion.

John Janus

  • John Janus, a seaman, came to Australia in the 1890s and naturalized in South Australia; later he lived in Echuca.
  • By the time of the war he was over forty, but in May 1915 he tried to enlist in the AIF in Echuka. He provided his place of birth as ‘Stettin in Germany’, but it was noted that he was of Russian descent. He was rejected on medical grounds, but a few weeks later he made a new attempt to enlist, this time in Jerilderie in NSW, providing his place of birth as the unidentifiable ‘Burnu’. Finally he was accepted in November 1915, in Narranderra. He served on the Western Front with the 55th Battalion and was wounded twice in the right leg, in March 1918 at Messines and in September 1918 at Perrone.
  • After the war he returned to Narranderra and tragically died in 1927 being crushed by a horse-driven wagon.

George Gustafson

  • George Gustafson (his true name was George Herman Bjorkbom), a Finnish sailor, came to Port Pirie in November 1915 and enlisted in the AIF a few weeks later.
  • He served on the Western Front with the 4th Pioneer Battalion. He had a number of AWLs and was court martialled for these in 1916. His service ended in 1918 when he accidentally fractured his jaw and was returned to Australia as medically unfit.
  • After the war he worked as a labourer and a cook in different areas of South Australia and New South Wales.

Louis Pasvalsky

  • Louis Pasvalsky, a young Jewish man born in Opotzk (Opochka) in Russia, came to Perth in Western Australia in 1912 to join his family. He worked as a metal polisher.
  • In August 1916 he arrived with the 51st Battalion at the Western Front and was killed twelve days later, in September 1916, at the battle for Mouquet Farm.
  • His brother and nephew served in the 1st and 2nd AIF.