John Tuagarin

AWM memorial panel 57

Russian spelling

Иван Туагарин

Born 1888

Place Glinnoe (?), Orel, Russia

Ethnic origin Russian

Religion Church of England


Enlisted together Malisheff, Akim Petroff, Sholmatoff, Tarasenkoff, Tuagarin, and Yannin

Arrived at Australia
on 1915 (?)

Residence before enlistment Mount Morgan, Qld

Occupation Miner

service number 2878A
enlisted 14.08.1915
POE Rockhampton, Qld
unit 25th Battalion, 9th Battalion
rank Private
place Western Front, 1916
final fate KIA 27.12.1916
cemetery 277 Bulls Road Cemetery Flers, France

Naturalisation Served as Russian subject


Digitised service records (NAA)

Digitised Embarkation roll entry (AWM)

Court martial file (NAA)

Roll of Honour (AWM)

Blog article



Newspaper articles

Central District volunteers. - Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton, 18 August 1915, p. 8

From Russian Anzacs in Australian History:

[...] with the group of six Russians from the 9th Battalion who enlisted together at Rockhampton on 14 August 1915, all were listed as casualties by the end of 1916. Akim Petroff from Novozybkov and Nicholas Sholmatoff from Moscow were severely wounded at Armentières just a few days after their arrival at the front; they were invalided to Australia. George Malisheff from Podolia suffered shell-shock at Pozières; he recovered but was killed in 1918. At Mouquet Farm Tehon (Tikhon) Yannin from Samara was killed on the same day that Alexander Tarasenkoff from Orel was wounded; Tarasenkoff recovered eventually, rejoining his unit a year later. Finally, John Tuagarin, also from Orel, had to defend his Russian honour when he was court-martialled in October [...]; he was killed in action in December 1916.

[...] John Tuagarin, a peasant from central Russia who could hardly speak English, was court-martialled on 5 October 1916 on a charge of 'disobeying a lawful command given by his superior officer'. What happened was that a corporal ordered Tuagarin, who had been sick for several days, to go on guard (they were in a support-line trench in the Ypres salient), at which Tuagarin said, according to a witness, 'No, me no go on guard'. Tuagarin gave evidence that he told the corporal he was ill. 'The corporal said You are a liar & I replied how am I lying when my head is all going round. The Corporal then insulted me by saying "Come on, you Goddamned son of a bitch Russian Chap" and also a spy. I answered the Corporal in Russian because I cannot speak English well. I asked him if he thought it was a Russo Japanese war & Russia was beaten & said Russia was fighting Germany. The Corporal could not understand me.' The conflict which started off as a misunderstanding had degenerated into deeply xenophobic abuse. The court found Tuagarin not guilty. [...] Tuagarin was killed in action [soon after that].