Swirgsdin, Stauwer, Czarnulla, Romashkevisch, Rowehl

October 24, 2015

Peter Swirgsdin

  • Peter Swirgsdin, a Latvian from Riga, came to Australia in 1910 and settled in Townsville, where he worked at the Alligator Creek meatworks. When enlisting in the AIF he gave his occupation as an engine driver.
  • He served as a gunner in the artillery units on the Western front. In October 1917, in the battle for Passchendaele, he was severely wounded in the back and shoulder and returned to Australia as medically unfit.
  • He met his future wife, Hilda Alice White, while, probably, in the English hospital. She joned him in Australia after the war. They lived in Townsville and Cairns, where Peter worked as a foreman and labourer. Their son, Herbert Peter Swirgsdin, died while serving in the AIF during WWII.

William Stauwer

  • William Stauwer was a seaman from Riga. After seafaring for 10 years, in 1907 he landed in Port Pirie where he worked as a labourer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he sailed with the 32nd Battalion to the Western Front, and in July 1916, less that a month after his arrival, was wounded in the right thigh at the battle for Sugarloaf. After spending several months in the hospitals, he returned to the front, serving with the ambulance.
  • After the war he returned to Port Pirie where he married an Australian girl, Charlotte Hill, and had a large family. He took an active part in the activities of the local RSSILA branch and two of his elder children enlisted in the AIF during WWII.

Franz Czarnulla

  • Franz Czarnulla, a Polish sailor from Warsaw, came to Australia in 1913 and worked on coastal vessels.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Brisbane, but deserted his unit three months later and continued working as a sailor, occasionally using the name Constantine.
  • In October 1917 he was convicted for assault in Newcastle. A year later he died in Cooktown.

Sigismund Vitold Romashkevisch

  • Sigismund Vitold Romashkevisch, a Pole from Kowno (Kaunas) in Lithuania, came to Brisbane in April 1910 with his wife and three children. They were among the first Russian emigrants moving from the Russian Far East to Australia; three more future Russian Anzacs came to Brisbane with the Romashkevisch family. In 1913 Sigismund, with several other Poles, became a founding member of the first Polish association in Australia, Ognisko Polskie. Upon arrival the Romashkevisch family settled in the Russian agricultural colony of Wallumbilla and later moved to Brisbane where Sigismund worked as a saddler and a bag maker. He had one more child born in 1915, but in spite of this enlisted in the AIF.
  • He served in the Field Company Engineers as a driver and a sapper on the Western Front. In October 1917, at the battle for Passchendaele, he was wounded in the right side and arm; his condition was aggravated by mental disorders.
  • After the war he lived with his family in Brisbane, working as a leather goods worker and waterside worker, being also involved in Polish communal life.

Armen Rowehl

  • Armen Rowehl, a seaman from Libava (Liepaja) in Latvia, came to Australia in 1915 per Gunda with his brother Edwin Nicholas, who enlisted in the AIF a few months earlier, and two other Russian mates, Basil Greshner and Favst Leoshkevich, who joined the AIF as well.
  • He served on the Western front with the 5th and 8th Battalions and in 1917 was transferred to the Army wireless company.
  • After the war he stayed in London and received some vocational training as an artist and decorator in the Goldsmith College. While in London he married Violet Victoria Dilks, with whom he moved to Australia. They lived in Brighton near Melbourne, where Armen worked as an artist.