Corby, Gerk, Zbecovsky, Kler, Persin

February 11, 2016

Victor Corby

  • Victor Corby, a Finn from Nakkila, was in Cootamundra by the time of his enlistment in the AIF.
  • He served with the 13th Battalion on the Western Front. In February 1917 he was awarded the Military Medal for his courage during the battle for Gueudecourt when, working as streatcher bearer, he made nine trips to the front lines under heavy fire to rescue his wounded mates. In April 1917, at a battle near Louverval, he was wounded in the leg; he also experienced mental illness and was repatriated to Australia.
  • After the war he went back to his native Nakkila in Finland.

Charles Gerk

  • Charles Gerk, a Latvian seaman from Riga, came to Australia in 1910 and lived in Sydney.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served with the 1st Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Margaret Annie Colbert, and continued his occupation as a seaman.

Boleslav Zbecovsky

  • Boleslav Zbecovsky, a Belarusian from Brest, came to Brisbane in 1913 via the Russian Far East and lived in Queensland.
  • He enlisted in the AIF, but was discharged soon after that. His service records have not been found.
  • After his discharge he continued working as a labourer in Queensland.

Emil Kler

  • Emil Kler, from Piotrkow Province in Poland, was probably of German ethnic origin. He came to Melbourne in 1913 and worked as a farm labourer in Victoria.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served with the 37th Battalion on the Western Front. In September 1918 he was severely gassed and repatriated to Australia.
  • After the war he was farming in Loch near Kernot in Victoria.

Michael Persin

  • Michael Persin, a Russian from Tula Province, came to Western Australia in 1912, from where he moved to Victoria and worked as a turner and fitter.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served with the 59th Battalion on the Western Front. In November 1916, at the battle on Somme, he was wounded in the arm and knee. Recovering in England, he returned to the front and was gassed in March 1918 at Amiens, and then wounded in the left foot in September 1918 at Peronne.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Alice Stephens. They lived in Melbourne where Michael worked as manufacturer, engineer and tool maker, becoming managing director of M. Persin Ltd, Metal Stumping Manufacturers at Clifton Hill. During WWII he enlisted in the AIF and served in Volunteer Defence Corps. The Persins lost their four year son in 1932, and upon Michael’s death in 1952, he left bequest to the Children’s Hospital and other institutions.