Benson, Saarijarvi, Nummelin, Friman, Rantman

May 2, 2016

Henry Benson

  • Henry Benson, a Finnish seaman from Mariehamn, enlisted in the AIF in Melbourne.
  • He served with the 2nd Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front until he got sick and was returned to Australia.
  • His destiny after the war remains unknown.

Adolf Saarijarvi

  • Adolf Saarijarvi, a Finn from Orivesi, came to Australia in 1902 and worked as a labourer and selector in South Gippsland and Chinchilla.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Toowoomba, he served with the 4th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front. He was awarded the Military Medal for courage and ‘presence of mind’ at the battle of Dernancourt in April 1918. In August 1918, at the Amiens advance, he was wounded in the arm.
  • While in hospital in England, he met and married a Finnish woman, Anna Janne Tuomisto, but his heath remained poor and a month later he died of flu, meningitis and wound complications with his new wife by his side. After the war she moved to Queensland.

Karl William Nummelin

  • Karl William Nummelin, a Finnish seaman from Abo (Turku), enlisted in the AIF in Cootamundra.
  • He served with the 17th Battalion on the Western Front. In May 1917 he was wounded in the head at Bullecourt; four months later he was wounded in his side at Mennin Road near Ypres; for the third time he was wounded at Perrone in August 1918, but returned to his battalion and served to the very end of the war.
  • After the war he moved to San Francisco and continued working on the ships as a carpenter. During WWII he tried to enlist in the American army.

Nikolas Anders Friman

  • Nikolas Anders Friman, also from Abo, came to Western Australia in 1913 and worked as a miner and engineer.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Perth, but was discharged for misbehaviour.
  • After the war he married an Australian woman, Jessie, and worked as an engine driver and foreman. During WWII he he served in the Volunteer Defence Corps.

Jakov Robert Rantman

  • Jakov Robert Rantman, a seaman from Estonia, enlisted in the AIF in Melbourne.
  • He served with the 24th Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1917 he was killed at Broodseinde near Ypres.