Alenius, Rogashoff, Gurasoff, Petroff, Tapken

November 29, 2015

Edward Emanuel Alenius

  • Edward Emanuel Alenius came to Australia from Finland and worked as a timber worker in Bridgetown in Western Australia.
  • He enlisted in the AIF and came to the Western Front in June 1916 with the 51st Battalion. In September he was killed at Mouquet Farm.
  • His brother and sister were found after the war in Finland and received his medals.

Effim Rogashoff

  • Effim Rogashoff, a Russian carpenter from Baevka in Simbirsk Province, served in the Russian Cavalry on the Afghan border and came to Western Australia in 1911 via India.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Kalgoorlie, but was discharged several months later being convicted for manslaughter, after an incident during a drunken brawl in a Sydney pub, where his mining corps was training.
  • Having served his time, he stayed in the Sydney area, changing his name to Robert King. In 1925 he married an Australian woman, Clara Apps, and raised a large family in Sydney, working as a boot maker. During WWII he enlisted in the AIF and served in the garrison battalion.

George Gurasoff

  • George Gurasoff from the township Paluzh in Belarus also served in the Russian Cavalry, in Manchuria, and came to Australia in 1913. He worked in Queensland as a labourer and miner.
  • Enlisting in the AIF he served on the Western Front as a gunner and a driver in artillery units.
  • After the war he lived in Brisbane and left Australia in 1921, probably returning to Belarus.

Alexander Petroff

  • Alexander Petroff from St Petersburg served in the Russian Red Cross at Port Arthur during the Russo-Japanese war. He was involved in some radical political activities in Russia and had to flee to Japan; from there he moved to Colombo and finally, with other political refugees, made his way to Western Australia where he worked as a timber worker and contractor.
  • He served on the Western Front with the 3rd Tunneling company as a sapper and was returned to Australia in 1918 as medically unfit.
  • He was for a while suspected of harbouring pro-Bolshevik views, but by 1921, when he became a farmer, the police believed that that he had changed his ways and he was naturalised. In 1923 he married a teacher, Jessie Cameron. They had three daughters, but in 1926 Alexander left the family. He settled at Mount Isa in Queensland where he worked at smelters. His daughters only recently learnt the story of their father.

Paul Tapken

  • Paul Tapken was born in Baku (now Azerbaijan), but grew up in St Petersburg where his family lived. His father was probably a Russianised German merchant. Paul came to Western Australia in April 1914 as a Russian subject, a clerk by profession. In Australia he worked as a labourer.
  • In August 1914, a few days after the outbreak of war, Paul registered for enlistment with his cousin Waldemar Kroeber among other volunteers from Bunbury, but Paul was accepted for service only in November 1915. He came to the Western front with the 28th Battalion in July 1916 and was killed the next day at the battle for Pozieres.
  • His mother in St Petersburg was found after the war and received an Australian pension.