Alexander Peter Karelin came from Vladivostok to North Queensland in 1907 as a sailor. He was an educated man from a well-off St Petersburg family; his father worked in the St Petersburg Naval Office. In Australia Alexander worked as a railway-construction labourer at Proserpine, Rockhampton and Blackall in Queensland and, in letters sent to the Russian newspaper in Brisbane, wrote about working conditions in Queensland.
Enlisting in April 1915, he fought at Gallipoli with the 9th Battalion, but contracted enteric fever there and was returned to Australia. With other members of the 9th Battalion he singed the photograph of Gallipoli landing testifying his blending into the Gallipoli mateship.
Recuperating in Australia he re-enlisted and rejoined his unit in France, fighting at the Somme. In April 1917 at the battle for Lagnicourt, when the Germans counter-attacked, his moment came. His commanding officer wrote how he ‘led a party across 150 yards of open roadway swept by machine gun and rifle fire and took up a position where he brought fire to bear on a party of the enemy which was attempting to outflank the company’. For ‘his coolness and courage’ he was awarded a Military Medal – the award was made the day after he was killed in action at Second Bullecourt.
There was a diary in his kit but it never reached his Russian family.
Albert Nickalay Morozoff, a seaman from Odessa, deserted his ship in Port Adelaide in November 1914.
Enlisting in the AIF six months later, he served at Gallipoli with the 10th Battalion and then continued his service on the Western Front with the 50th Battalion. In August and September 1916 he was twice wounded at the battle for Mouquet Farm and then wounded again in January 1917 in the arm and invalided to Australia. Recuperating there he reenlisted, but came to England when the war was nearly finished.
He left Australia soon after the war, worked on the ships in the Pacific and died in San Francisco in 1945.
Charles Lautala, a Finnish seaman from Hamina, came to Australia in 1896 as a young man. He lived in Sydney, Repton and Nambucca Heads working as a labourer and fisherman.
Enlisting in the AIF he served at Gallipoli with the 19th Battalion; he was wounded there in the wrist in September 1915 but upon recovery returned to the trenches and fought till the final evacuation in December 1915. He continued his service on the Western Front, where in July 1916, he was severely wounded at Pozieres, receiving gun shot wounds to his arm, leg and back. He survived and was invalided back to Australia.
After the war he lived in Nambucca Heads working as a fisherman.