Matti Harsila

Born 12.09.1874

Place Lapua, Vaasa, Finland

Ethnic origin Finnish

Religion Church of England

Father Salmon Harsila

Arrived at Australia
from Finland via London
on 9.09.1915
per Port Phillip
disembarked at Adelaide

Residence before enlistment Adelaide

Occupation 1915 seaman, 1925 labourer

service number 2344
enlisted 20.09.1915
POE Adelaide
unit 32nd Battalion, 48th Battalion
rank Private
place Western Front, 1916-1917
casualties WIA 1916, 1917; POW 1917
final fate RTA 5.03.1919
discharged 10.6.1919

Naturalisation 1926

Residence after the war Adelaide, 1919 - 1922 Finland, Halifax, Cairns, Brisbane, Cooktown, Innisfail, Ingham, Tully, Maroochy River, Granite Creek, Brisbane

Died 1966, Qld


Digitised naturalisation (NAA)

Digitised service records (NAA)

Digitised Embarkation roll entry (AWM)

POW statement (AWM)

Digitised Red Cross wounded and missing file (AWM)

Red Cross POW file (AWM)

South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau file

Harsila, Matti - naturalised 1 October 1926 (NAA)

Department of Veterans' Affairs file 1 2 (NAA)

Blog article



Newspaper articles

Pinned under cane truck. - Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser, 20 October 1944, p. 6.

From Russian Anzacs in Australian History:

Hjalmar Karhu, a Finnish former seaman from Western Australia, gave his account of what he called 'the first "stunt" at Bullecourt' [1917], in which he was wounded as he tried to retreat. 'We reached the second line of enemy trenches. "Fritz" counter-attacked us and our bombs ran short. Our chaps were retreating, and I tried to get back to our lines.' The wounded Karhu was captured by the Germans. Another four Russians were also captured on the same day: three other Finns -- Matti Harsila, Konrat Troyle and Frans Fredrikson -- and Charles Reppe, from Riga, who was one of the first Russians to enlist.