Dyson, Zander, Levene, Mayer

August 29, 2014

Today we celebrate the lives of four servicemen:


Francis Wilfred Holt Dyson

  • Briton born in Riga, Latvia, and educated at Oxford.
  • Worked on farms in Konagaderrer, Victoria.
  • Survived, unscathed, three years in the artillery units in Gallipoli and on the Western Front.
  • Killed in the Somme in April 1918, leaving an orphaned daughter.

Charles Oscar Zander

  • Born near Vilnius; he was most likely a Baltic German.
  • Took to sea at sixteen, and worked on ships in England and South Australia.
  • Survived a full term at Gallipoli, and during furlough in London married his old friend Ethel Agnes Horne, a widow with two young kids.
  • Killed at Mouquet Farm in August 1916.

Abraham Levene

  • Born in Russia in a Jewish family, he was raised in Nottingham.
  • Came to Australia at eighteen to follow the occupation of ‘bush worker and general labourer’
  • Enlisted in the AIF as ‘David Conroy’, a Scot from Glasgow
  • Wounded in Gallipoli at the battle for Bloody Angle, he rejoined his unit only to be killed a few weeks later at Shrapnel Valley.

Robert Mayer

  • Born in Warsaw, Poland, came to Australia with his Jewish family as a child. Was a tailor.
  • Enlisted at nineteen and served at Gallipoli with the 1st Battalion, returned to Australia medically unfit. Reenlisted and served on the Western Front, where he was wounded in Perrone in September 1918. Court martialled for petty crimes in London and repatriated to Australia.
  • Mayer’s life crumbled apart after the war: he became a thief with extensive police records in several states.