Joseph Kleshenko

Alias Joseph Noyland, Joseph Klinetinko, Joe Klestenko; Joseph Klesh
Russian spelling Иосиф Клешенко
Born 28.12.1892
Place Dubno, Volyn, Ukraine
Ethnic origin Ukrainian
Religion Roman Catholic
Father Venel (?) Kleshenko

Wife Ethel Kleshenko (nee Bateman), married in 1917 in England; 1938 marriage to Madeline Cotton; 1943 marriage to Dorothy Grear

Arrived at Australia from San-Francisco
on 20.07.1912
per Kokou
disembarked at Sydney
Residence before enlistment Sydney, Grafton
Occupation 1914, 1915 engineer, sailor, 1916 mechanic, 1925 seaman; 1943 wharf labourer
Naturalisation 1918
Residence after the war Sydney; 1921 and 1925 visit to Canada; Sydney
Died 3.08.1947, Sydney, NSW

Service #1 – Depot

Service number 574 (as Joseph Noyland, signature - Noyman)
Enlisted 30.11.1914
Place of enlistment Holdsworthy, NSW
Unit 6th Light Horse Regiment
Rank Private
Discharged no data

Service #2 – Depot

Enlisted 27.01.1915 (as Joseph Klinetinko)
Place of enlistment Liverpool, NSW
Rank Private
Discharged 9.02.1915

Service #3 – Depot

Service number 1140
Enlisted 8.06.1915 (as Joe Klestenko)
Place of enlistment Melbourne
Rank Private
Discharged 08.1915

Service #4 – Depot

Enlisted 27.08.1915 (as Joseph Kleshenko)
Place of enlistment Holsworthy, NSW
Rank Private
Discharged 7.09.1915 unfit for active service

Service #5 – Depot

Enlisted 8.11.1915
Place of enlistment Sydney
Rank Private
Discharged 14.12.1915 unlikely to become an efficient soldier

Service #6 – Depot

Service number 5795
Enlisted 12.01.1916
Place of enlistment Goulburn, NSW
Unit 1st Battalion
Rank Private
Final fate RTA from Durban 7.09.1916
Discharged 29.09.1916, services no longer required

Service #7

Service number 4405
Enlisted 18.10.1916
Place of enlistment Sydney
Unit 29th Battalion
Rank Private
Place England, 1917
Final fate RTA 10.01.1918
Discharged 8.06.1918 MU


Digitised naturalisation (NAA)

Enlistment file (NAA) (Kleshenko)

Digitised service records (NAA) (Noyland, service 1)

Digitised service records (NAA) (Klinetinko, service 2)

Digitised service records (NAA) (Kleshenko, service 3-7)

Digitised Embarkation roll entry 1 2 (AWM)

Alien registration (NAA) (Kleshenka)

Free passage Ethel Kleshenko (NAA)

Railway personal history card (NSW SA)

Blog article



Newspaper articles

Personal. Corporal Kleshenko. - Daily Examiner, Grafton, 4 December 1915, p. 4.

Russian soldier in Grafton. - Daily Examiner, Grafton, 7 December 1915, p. 2.

From Russian Anzacs in Australian History:

There were some, too, with questionable military careers. Joseph Kleshenko claimed not only to have served in the Russian army but also in the American army for nine months, and even alleged that a bullet wound in his ankle was received during the Russo-Japanese war. This seems unlikely as he was born in 1892; later, in any case, it turned into a 'Gallipoli wound' (and he certainly wasn't there). An obvious adventurer and troublemaker, he enlisted in the AIF no less than seven times.

[...] Russians were not always able to obtain even [...] hard work on the waterfront. In October 1919 Cezar Wolkowsky, 'a Russian, who served with the A.I.F., informed the Minister in Sydney that he and about a dozen other Russians, returned A.I.F. men, had been refused work on the wharves by the Shipping Companies, ostensibly because the Companies' policy was to give preference to Australians', according to a Repatriation Department memorandum. In November that year Joseph Kleshenko appealed directly to W.M. Hughes, the prime minister over the same issue.

Dear Sir,

I was speaking to you on the wagon at Sussex St and you asked me to write my case. I am a British subject born in Russia. Eleven other Russians and myself -- all who are discharged soldiers who have fought with the A.I.F.

We had a disc at the Returned Soldiers ... and had them taken from us at a moment's notice without the slightest reason.

We tried to find out why it was that we should have the bread and butter [taken] from us, but could get no satisfaction. We were told that so many Australians were out of work and we were taking the work from them.

The majority of us are married men [with] Australian wives and children, and is it fair to us who have fought for England's King and Country just the same as any Australian man and we carry the scars of battle just the same as any Australian to be put out of work because we are born in Russia.

Our Australian wives have to suffer, also our children. There is nothing else for the wives to do but go to work and keep the home going the best she can.

I would [like] you to do something for us. We can get no one to listen to us. Because we are Russians. But Mr W. Hughes has never been known to turn the diggers down. So we feel sure you will try and help us.

I remain Yours


Joseph Kleshenko

The Repatriation Department deputy-comptroller investigating the case provided the following explanation: 'The Russians are reported to me by the Secretary of the Shipping Labour Bureau as being distinctly undesirable, and the cause of considerable trouble through their Bolshevik tendencies which are continually canvassed amongst the wharf labourers'. Clearly, employers were taking advantage of the jingoistic attitudes of some Australian workers when, in order to rid themselves of any threat of a 'Red menace', they singled out Russians for the sack under the pretence that the Russians were taking jobs from Australians. There is some suggestion that the Repatriation Department may have then contemplated offering the Russians free passage back to Russia and that some, at least, of them were sounded out over the idea but nothing came of it. When the bolshevik scare settled down, some Russians returned to the waterfront; others moved elsewhere.