Kilpinen, Reimers, Wathen, Tomrop, Stepanoff

May 17, 2016

Briynold Kilpinen

  • Briynold Kilpinen, a Finnish seaman, was seafaring in Australian waters in 1915, but he enlisted in the AIF in Goulburn as a miner.
  • Soon afterwards he was discharged, being considered ‘unlikely to become an efficient soldier’.
  • He made two more attempts to enlist in the AIF and disappears from the records after that.

John Reimers

  • John Reimers from Riga was probably of German origin.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Melbourne, he served with the 37th Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he lived in Melbourne.

John Wathen

  • John Wathen, a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors (Helsinki) came to Australia in 1913.
  • He served with the 36th Battalion on the Western Front. In June 1917 he was wounded in the arm at the battle of Messines.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney, working as a ship’s fireman. During WWII he was interned in Newcastle.

Ernest Tomrop

  • Ernest Tomrop, a seaman from Vindava (Ventspils) in Latvia, came to Australia in 1908 and was working as a labourer and rigger in South Australia and Melbourne.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served in Egypt, first in the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train, and then in the Australian Flying Corps.
  • After the war he served for five years in the Australian Air Corps and Flying School in Laverton. Later he settled in Sydney where he married an Australian woman, Amy Bell Kershaw, and worked as a rigger, particularly on the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

John Frederick Stepanoff

  • John Frederick Stepanoff from Krasnoiarsk in Siberia came to Australia with his mother and stepfather. They lived in Ipswich where John learnt the trade of a carpenter.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, when he was just 17, he served with the 54th Battalion on the Western Front. In May 1917 he experienced shell shock at Bullecourt. In October 1917 he was gassed at Passchendaele and evacuated to England. In June 1918 he was returned to his battalion, and wounded for the third time in the thigh near Rouen.
  • After the war he worked as a seaman in Australia and in the UK, where he married an English woman, Violet Conway.