Baidakoff, Meesit, Gorbach

January 29, 2015

Wadim Baidakoff

  • Wadim Baidakoff, a Russian from Tiflis (Tbilisi) in Georgia, came to Western Australia on a Russian steamship in 1908. He worked as a sleeper hewer on the railway construction in south-east area of the state.
  • He fought at Gallipoli with the 11th Battalion and later served in Egypt as a tugboat master with inland water transport.
  • After the war he moved to Sydney and worked as a nightwatchman and special constable at Milson’s Point, later becoming a fish shop proprietor in the area.

Walter Meesit

  • Walter Meesit, a carpenter from Vindava (Ventspils) in Latvia, came to South Australia in 1907.
  • He served in the AIF in the 7th Field Ambulance at Gallipoli, and was returned to Australia as medically unfit in 1916.

Phillipp Gorbach

  • Phillipp Gorbach, a sailor from Odessa, came to Australia soon after the outbreak of the war.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he sailed to Egypt with the 4th Battalion in March 1915, returning a few months later as an escort on a troopship. While in training camp in Liverpool, he joined a soldiers’ protest of the poor conditions at the camp, which turned into riots when thousands of soldiers broke out of the camp and invaded Sydney, drinking the bars dry and rampaging through the Sydney streets. Gorbach, like many others, was court martialled, sentenced to 90 days of hard labour and discharged with ignominy.
  • He stayed in Sydney for a while, working on coastal vessels and in December 1916 came to San Francisco where he applied for naturalisation and even registered for Army service. By 1930 he lived in New York, running a tin shop.