Knappsberg, Jernberg, Kotkamaa, Preshner, Smith

September 30, 2016

Oscar Bruno Knappsberg

  • Oscar Bruno Knappsberg from Svatro (Mustio) in Finland came to Australia not long before his enlistment in the AIF and worked as an orchard hand in Kurrajong.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Bundaberg and came with the reinforcements to the 25th Battalion to the Western Front in April 1917. A month after his arrival, at the battle for Bullecourt, he was wounded in the thigh and leg and died of wounds the next day.
  • His family in Finland was found after the war and his friend from Kurrajong, John McCabe, wrote to his mother about his death.

Arthur Albert Jernberg

  • Arthur Albert Jernberg from Helsingfors (Helsinki) in Finland came to Sydney in 1914 as a seaman and worked as a labourer at Rooty Hill, NSW.
  • He served with the 3rd Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1917 at the battle for Passchendaele he was severely wounded in the back and chest, but recovered after spending months in English hospitals.
  • He returned to Rooty Hill and worked there as a champagne worker, later moving to South Australia. In 1920 he married Josephine Twyford, but his wife died in 1927, leaving him with a baby daughter, and he later married Agnes Margaret in South Australia.

Johannes Kotkamaa

  • Johannes Kotkamaa, born in Helsingfors (Helsinki) in Finland, came to Australia in 1900 with his parents together with the group of Finnish immigrants, the followers of Matti Kurikka, who wanted to establish a colony in the north of Queensland. Johannes grew up there, bush mastering the trade of a carpenter.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Nambour, he served with the 47th Battalion on the Western Front. His service was not long – he was killed in August 1917, a month after his arrival, in Belgium.
  • His mother Maria Kotkamaa, a pioneering woman of the Australian bush, passed away soon after his death and the residents of Nambour commemorated his death in a local memorial.

Morris Preshner

  • Morris Preshner, a Jewish man from Warsaw, moved with his parents to London when he was 3. In 1913 he migrated to Melbourne and worked as a porter and commercial traveller.
  • He served with the 37th Battalion on the Western Front. In August 1918 he was gassed near Suzanne, but remained with his unit.
  • After the war he lived in Melbourne working as a salesman. In 1924 he married Bertha (Bel) Luscombe, who was a vocalist. Sadly, they lost their only son Jack in 1926.

Charles Smith

  • Charles Smith, a seaman from Riga, came to Sydney in 1916 from San Francisco and enlisted in the AIF soon afterwards.
  • He served with the 38th Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1917 at the battle for Passchendaele he was wounded in the leg and evacuated to Australia.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney, marring an Australian girl, Edith Agnes.