Ernest Esserman, a Jewish man from Latvia, came to Australia in 1892 and worked as a hawker in Wee Waa. Later he moved to Sydney, where he worked as a bookmaker. Before enlisting in the AIF he married a relative of another Jewish Anzac, Arthur Levy, Beatrice (Bessie) Hilda Grimish.
He served as a gunner and driver with the Howitzer Brigade and Ammunition column on the Western Front. In October 1917 he was wounded in the left hand at Passchendaele.
After the war he lived in Sydney with his family, working as an agent.
Hjalmari Hannus from Helsingfors (Helsinki) in Finland was brought by his parents to Australia when he was a baby in 1900. They were followers of the Finnish leader Matti Kurikka, who wanted to establish a Finnish colony in the North Queensland.
As a teenager Hannus served in the Australian cadets for 4 years and enlisted in the AIF when he was just 17; by that time he had the trade of a carpenter. He served with the 3rd Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front, where he was gassed in June 1917, but survived the ordeal and returned to his battalion.
After the war he got a soldier’s block near Tolga and started a farm. In 1922 he married an Australian girl, Norma Gwendoline Franklin, but his health failed and he died in 1930.
Moysey Dossoeff, an Ossetian from Ardon, served in the Russian Army in the Russo-Japanese war. He came to Australia in 1913 and worked in Port Pirie as a labourer.
He started his service in the AIF in a machine gun company, but later was transferred to the 13th Light Horse Regiment with which he reached England. After several months of training there he was returned to Australia as medically unfit.
After the war he worked in South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. In 1919 he received a permit to return to Russia via Vladivostok and in the early 1920s he disappears from Australian records; most likely he fulfilled his plan.
Francis Hajek, a Bohemian from Beroun near Prague in Austro-Hungary, in 1904 moved to London and in 1912 emigrated to Australia. He lived in Melbourne working as a waiter. In 1914 he naturalised as an Austrian subject.
In 1915 he got a certificate from the Russian consul confirming that he was a Slav under the protection of Russia. In May 1916 he enlisted in the AIF as a Russian subject. Before departure to the front he married a Czech woman Fanda Ceska. He served with the 5th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front until he was severely gassed in September 1918.
After repatriation to Australia he lived in Melbourne with his wife, but in 1921 they went to Czechia to visit his family. In 1923 their son Emil was born and they stayed in Czechia. In 1939, with German advance, Francis was arrested by Germans as a British serviceman and sent to Buchenwald. He survived the camp and in 1948 applied for repatriation to Australia. He never made it and died in 1957 in Czechoslovakia, but his son and later his wife moved to Australia.
Alexander Oders, an Estonian seaman from Piarnu, came to Western Australia in 1913, deserting his ship, and continued seafaring in Australian waters.
He served with the 11th Battalion on the Western Front, where in August 1918 he was gassed at Chuignes.
In December 1918, while on leave in London, he married an English girl, Constance Evelyne Wakeman. They settled in Perth, where Alexander worked as a fitter’s assistant. They had a large family and their eldest son Alexander Robert served in the AIF in WWII, becoming a Japanese POW in Siam. Their two other children served in the AIF and Alexander himself served as a guard in 1941-1946.
Justin George Gooliaeff, a Russian from Dolgie Budy in Kursk Province, came from the family of a timber merchant. He studied at Moscow University, but, after a year there, came to Australia via the Russian Far East. He worked in Rockhampton, probably cane-cutting, although enlisting in the AIF he gave his occupation as a boiler maker.
He served as a gunner with artillery units on the Western Front.
While in a hospital in England, he met an English girl, Violet Maud Bullock, they married, and she followed him to Australia with their newborn son George Walter. Two years later their daughter Veronica was born. Justin took a block of land in the soldiers settlement in El-Arish, where he brought his young family. In 1925 he tragically died helping neighbours during a bushfire.
Steven Orloff, a Russian blacksmith from the Pskov area, came to Australia in 1912 via the Russian Far East and lived in Brisbane and Cairns.
He enlisted in the AIF in Rockhampton together with Gooliaeff and served with the 42nd Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1917, at the battle for Broodseinde, he was severely wounded in the head, right foot, and right thigh, and was repatriated to Australia.
He never married and lived after the war in the North Queensland (probably cane-cutting). Later he moved to Sydney where he worked as a labourer. In 1947, when he applied for naturalisation, he was living in the unemployed camp in La Perouse.
Ernest Alfred Hvitfelt, a Finn from Abo (Turku), came to Australia in 1914 and worked as a labourer in Gippsland and Riverina.
Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he served with the 2nd Battalion on the Western Front. In April 1917 he was wounded in the arm at Doignes but recovered and continued his service to the end of the war. For his gallantry and devotion to duty during the September 1918 battle at Hargicourt, where he worked as a stretcher-bearer, he was awarded the Military medal.
While in an English hospital he became acquainted with an English girl, Harriet Foskett; they married and sailed to Australia together in 1919, but his wife died the next year in Sydney. It is quite likely that he left Australia for America after that.
Nicholas Permakoff, a Russian from Archangel, served in an artillery unit in the Russian army. He worked in Australia as a miner and lived in Dubbo.
Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he expected to be transferred to the Russian Army upon arrival in England. This was not done, but by that time the Russian Revolution had taken place and Permakoff refused to fight at all. He was court-martialled, but nevertheless he was brought to the Western Front with the 4th Battalion. In June 1918 he cast aside his weapon and in broad daylight went to the German trenches. An Australian Lance Corporal, fulfilling the order of the commanding officer, killed him before he managed to reach the German lines.
John Ouchirenko, a Ukrainian from Odessa and ship engineer by trade, came to Australia in 1915.
Enlisting in the AIF in Melbourne, he served with the 39th Battalion on the Western Front. In July 1917 he was gas poisoned and then received a concussion in October 1917 at Broodseinde near Ypres.
In 1917, while in a training camp in England, he met and married an English girl, Clara Lane, but the marriage did not last. Upon return to Australia he worked as a ship’s engineer and in 1927 married an Australian girl, Doris Robertson. They lived in Ballarat and had five children. During WWII John enlisted in the AIF and served as a home guard.
Gerard Martyn Skugar, a Pole from Vilno (Vilnius) in Lithuania, came to Australia as a seaman in 1914 and worked in the Bundaberg area, probably as a canecutter.
Enlisting in the AIF in Rockhampton, he served with the 41st Battalion on the Western Front. In August 1918, at the battle near Hamel, he singlehandedly captured an enemy machine gun and continued excellent work until he was severely wounded in the head. For this battle he was awarded the Military Medal.
After the war he tried to settle in the soldiers’ settlement, then, during the Depression, for several years had no fixed place of abode. In the early 1930s he lived in Sydney working as a jeweller and for a brief time was an acting Polish Consul and the president of the Polish National Alliance. Later he moved to North Queensland, working as a miner and labourer. During WWII he enlisted in the AIF and was on home service.
William Brandt, an Estonian sailor from Oesel (Saaremaa) Island, came to Australia in 1912.
Enlisting in the AIF in Warragul, a country town in Victoria, he served with the 5th Battalion on the Western Front. He was wounded in the right arm during the February advance in 1917, returned to the front four months later, and was wounded soon afterwards in the battle for Mennin Road, at Ypres, this time in the head. He was returned to the front in March 1918, when Russia had already withdrawn from the war. He refused to fight on these grounds and was court martialled. His 5-year sentence was eventually commuted and he was returned to Australia after the war.
After the war he continued working on coastal steamers living in Melbourne.
Peter Koel, Brandt’s countryman from Oesel, was married in Estonia but continued seafaring. In 1913 he was shipwrecked in the North Sea and survived three days in the water before he was rescued. He came to Australia in 1914 as a seaman. In 1915 Koel and Brandt served together on the ship Westralia and a few months later enlisted together in the AIF in Warragul.
Koel was placed in the same 5th Battalion, but discharged five months later, suffering from rheumatism – a consequence of his exposure after the shipwreck in the North Sea.
After discharge he continued working on the ships in Australia and in the UK.
David Borszcer, a Jewish musician from Bershad in Ukraine, came to Australia in June 1915 with the Belgian Band under the patriotic endeavour of raising money for the Belgian Relief Fund. A number of the members of this band were Russian nationals, and Russian music, including Tchaikovsky’s overture ‘1812’, featured as a highlight of their programs.
Borszcer stayed in Australia and enlisted in the AIF in April 1916; he was not accepted for overseas service but was allocated for service in the Australian Light Horse Band based at Menangle Park near Sydney. While serving he developed pulmonary tuberculosis, which was probably aggravated by his playing cornet. He was discharged from the army in 1917, but after recuperating he resumed his patriotic musical endeavours as a conductor of the Chatswood Orchestral Society in aid of the Red Cross.
After the war he stayed in Sydney continuing his occupation as a musician, but spent the last years of his life in provincial New South Wales, dying in Tumut in 1939.
Karl Johannes Puikko, a Finnish seaman from Oulu, came to Australia in about 1912 and worked as a labourer.
Enlisting in the AIF in Melbourne, he served with the 46th Battalion on the Western Front; later he was transferred to the machine gun battalion. In September 1917 he was gassed at Ypres and returned to Australia.
After the war he continued seafaring and finally returned to Finland.
Moisey Kotton, a young Jewish man from Kremenchug on Ukraine, came with his family to Harbin and in 1912 moved to Brisbane in Australia. After trying a number of jobs in South Queensland, he finally settled in the small township of Naughtons Gap near Lismore in NSW, where he worked as a carter, winning the love and respect of local farmers.
With the outbreak of war he made several attempts to enlist in the AIF. The local newspaper reported when he finally succeeded in his attempts: ‘Mr. M. Kotton, who succeeded in passing the medical test, is a naturalised Russian, and is only 5 ft. high. The minimum height is 5 ft 2 in, and Mr. Kotton was pleased when he was admitted as a bugler. He is very anxious to get to the front’. He served with the 4th Battalion on the Western Front; in September 1918 he was killed in the battle south of Peronne.
Ernest Tomrop, a seaman from Vindava (Ventspils) in Latvia, came to Australia in 1908 and was working as a labourer and rigger in South Australia and Melbourne.
Enlisting in the AIF, he served in Egypt, first in the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train, and then in the Australian Flying Corps.
After the war he served for five years in the Australian Air Corps and Flying School in Laverton. Later he settled in Sydney where he married an Australian woman, Amy Bell Kershaw, and worked as a rigger, particularly on the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
John Frederick Stepanoff from Krasnoiarsk in Siberia came to Australia with his mother and stepfather. They lived in Ipswich where John learnt the trade of a carpenter.
Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, when he was just 17, he served with the 54th Battalion on the Western Front. In May 1917 he experienced shell shock at Bullecourt. In October 1917 he was gassed at Passchendaele and evacuated to England. In June 1918 he was returned to his battalion, and wounded for the third time in the thigh near Rouen.
After the war he worked as a seaman in Australia and in the UK, where he married an English woman, Violet Conway.
Erik Arvid Liljestrand, a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors (Helsinki), enlisted in the AIF in Melbourne.
He served with the 23rd Battalion on the Western Front, attaining the rank of Lance-Corporal. In May 1917, at the battle for Bullecourt, he was wounded in the head; recovering, he rejoined his battalion. A year later at Ville-sur-Ancre he was severely wounded in the back and arms. He was evacuated to England, but died of wounds and pneumonia three weeks later.
His Australian friend commemorated him in a newspaper advertisement after his death.
Alexander Puho from Olustvere in Estonia came to Australia in 1914 and worked as a locomotive fireman.
Enlisting in the AIF in Cootamundra, he served with the 18th Battalion on the Western Front. On May 1917, at Bullecourt, he was wounded in the arm and returned to Australia.
After the war he married an Australian girl, Constance Lilian Stone, and had a large family. Alexander became a dairy farmer and then a banana grower and lived with his family in Woolgoolga, NSW. He was active in the local sub-branch of the RSSILA and in 1942 was elected its president.
Paul Drachuk, a Russianised Moldovian from Kishinev, served as a wireless operator during the Russo-Japanese war and stayed in Harbin after that. He married there and had a daughter. In 1915 he came to Australia and enlisted four months later.
He served in the 1st Wireless Squadron in India, where he fell seriously ill. After a letter criticising the AIF in India from Drachuk to his friend Grigory Shilov was intercepted by the censor, he was sent back to Australia.
In 1921 Drachuk returned to Soviet Russia, soon followed by Shilov, who was arrested and served his sentence on the White Sea Canal construction project. Drachuk settled in Moscow and worked as an economist. He married Olga Baranovskaia in 1923 and their daughter Rimma preserved his AIF diary.
Jacob Gensberg, a Jewish man from Riga, came to Australia in 1894 after four years in London; he settled in Melbourne working as a bootmaker and then as a fruiterer. He was married and had a family. His son Alfred served in the AIF.
By the time of his enlistment in the AIF he was nearly 45, but he was accepted and sailed to the Western Front with the 23rd Battalion. When he got sick soon after arrival he was transferred to work in the Australian Veterinary Hospital.
After the war he lived in Melbourne, working as fruiterer, later moving to Reid’s Flat where he kept a hotel.
August Einar Ronn, a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors, enlisted in the AIF in NSW. Obviously his service was brief as he was registered as an alien in Western Australia and continued seafaring.
Solomon Rosenberg, a Jewish man from Kamenets-Podolsk in Ukraine or Brest in Belarus, left Russia in 1898 with his parents as a child. He lived in Scotland and Argentina. In 1912 he came to Australia and settled in Sydney working as a wood carver. In 1914 he married Esther Finkelstein. He enlisted in Sydney, but his service obviously did not last long.
A.S. Islin enlisted in the AIF in NSW. No further data was found.
Victor Neborotchko was a Ukrainian seaman from Odessa. He enlisted in NSW and after a short service worked as a fireman and a wiper on American and British ships.
William Allias, an Estonian seaman, enlisted in the AIF in NSW. He did not serve long and in 1917 came to San Francisco in the USA, where he tried to enlist in the army twice: in WWI and WWII.
John Grzybala was born in the Austrian part of Poland and came to Australia in 1911 as a seaman. He enlisted in the AIF in Sydney as a Russian subject, but was discharged soon. After the war he lived in Sydney.
P. Kilpman enlisted in the AIF in NSW. No other data available.