Eller, Esserman, Silander, Hannus, Holland

May 30, 2016

William Eller

  • William Eller from Dago (Hiiumaa) Island in Estonia came to Australia in 1906 and worked as a coal miner in New South Wales.
  • He served in the AIF as a sapper with the 1st Tunnelling Company on the Western Front. In March 1917 he was gassed and a year later wounded, but recovered and returned to his company.
  • After the war he lived in Neath working as a labourer.

Ernest Esserman

  • Ernest Esserman, a Jewish man from Latvia, came to Australia in 1892 and worked as a hawker in Wee Waa. Later he moved to Sydney, where he worked as a bookmaker. Before enlisting in the AIF he married a relative of another Jewish Anzac, Arthur Levy, Beatrice (Bessie) Hilda Grimish.
  • He served as a gunner and driver with the Howitzer Brigade and Ammunition column on the Western Front. In October 1917 he was wounded in the left hand at Passchendaele.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney with his family, working as an agent.

Karl Edwin Silander

  • Karl Edwin Silander, a ship’s carpenter from Mariehamn in Finland, came to Australia in February 1916 and enlisted in the AIF three months later.
  • He served with the 59th Battalion on the Western Front, was wounded in the fingers in March 1917, at Lagnicourt, and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he lived in Newcastle, continuing his occupation of a seaman.

Hjalmari Hannus

  • Hjalmari Hannus from Helsingfors (Helsinki) in Finland was brought by his parents to Australia when he was a baby in 1900. They were followers of the Finnish leader Matti Kurikka, who wanted to establish a Finnish colony in the North Queensland.
  • As a teenager Hannus served in the Australian cadets for 4 years and enlisted in the AIF when he was just 17; by that time he had the trade of a carpenter. He served with the 3rd Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front, where he was gassed in June 1917, but survived the ordeal and returned to his battalion.
  • After the war he got a soldier’s block near Tolga and started a farm. In 1922 he married an Australian girl, Norma Gwendoline Franklin, but his health failed and he died in 1930.

Johan Holland

  • Johan Holland, an Estonian seaman from Piarnu, came to Australia in 1912.
  • He served with the 36th Battalion on the Western Front. In June 1917, at Messines, he was wounded in his face, hand and knee, and three fingers on his hand were amputated.
  • After the war he continued working on the ships as a sailor and died in 1923.