Josephson, Crook, Kovalsky, Filip, Sank

July 26, 2015

Axel Valentine Josephson

  • Axel Valentine Josephson, a Finnish seaman from Abo, came to Australia in 1910 and worked in Victor Harbour in South Australia on railway construction.
  • He served with the 27th Battalion on the Western Front until he was severely wounded in the right eye, arm and leg in March 1917. He was repatriated to Australia.
  • After the war he married an Australian woman, Elizabeth Anne, had seven children and lived in Adelaide working as a carpenter.

Louis Crook

  • Louis Crook, a Jewish man from Belostok in Poland, moved to England with his family as a child. Migrating later to Australia, he lived in Townsville, working as a tailor.
  • Enlisting in the AIF he served with the 9th Battalion on the Western Front. In July 1916 he was wounded at Pozieres and in August 1918 gassed during the advance at Chuignes.
  • After the war he lived in Temora and then in Sydney working as a tailor.

Vachalar Kovalsky

  • Vachalar Kovalsky (his correct first name must have been Viacheslav), was said to be from Moscow. He came to Queensland via the Russian Far East and worked as a labourer in Brisbane and Toowoomba.
  • At the first attempt to enlist in the AIF he was rejected, but was accepted in July 1915. With the 9th Battalion he fought on the Western Front, but after Pozières his sight began to rapidly go; in the end he was taken to London. There, in November 1916, nearly blind, he was discharged. Three days after Christmas he poisoned himself: the police report stated he had ‘no known friends in this country’. No friends of his were found in Australia either.
  • He is missing from the Australian Roll of Honour.

Edmund Filip

  • Edmund Filip was born in Talsen in Latvia and came from Canada to Melbourne in 1909, probably as a seaman. Here he worked as a labourer in the agricultural settlements east of Melbourne.
  • He served with the 12th Field Company Engineers on the Western Front as a sapper.
  • After the war he returned to country Victoria, married an Australian girl, Ethel May, and lived in Orbost, working as a labourer.

Alexander Paul Sank

  • Alexander Paul Sank came from a Jewish family in Aleksandrovsk (Zaporozhe) in Ukraine. In 1906, after the pogroms, his family moved to Harbin. In 1912 Alexander followed his brother to Australia. A motor mechanic by trade, he worked as a labourer and driver.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he came to the Western Front with reinforcements to the 9th Battalion in April 1916 and was wounded soon after that at Rouge de Bout in both arms. After treatment in a British hospital, he was evacuated to Australia and discharged, but reenlisted in the AIF and in 1917-1918 was on home service.
  • After the war he lived in Queensland working as a motor driver and tram guard. In 1921 he returned to his mother in Harbin and in 1922 went to live in Khabarovsk in Russia where he worked as an interpreter on the Ussury Railway. Later he married, moved to Novosibirsk and worked as supply agent for industrial enterprises. In 1951 he was arrested and sent to GULAG for ‘espionage’ and ‘anti-Soviet agitation’.