Lear, Tolstoi, Raupak Ropenberg, Shimkovitch

February 7, 2016

Guss Oscar Lear

  • Guss Oscar Lear, a Finnish sailor from Nystad, by the time of his enlistment in the AIF was in Western Australia.
  • Three months after his enlistment in the AIF he was discharged for disciplinary reasons and disappears from the Australian records.

Andre Tolstoi

  • Andre Tolstoi, a Russian born in Warsaw, grew up in France and ‘served five years in the French Foreign Legion and a dozen scraps in South American republics’. He came to Australia in 1900 and was mining in Boolboonda and then growing sugar cane in Ambrose in Queensland. In 1905 he married Agnes Tucker and had a daughter.
  • A month before enlisting in the AIF he published a passionate letter appealing to Australians ‘to defend your country, Humanity and Justice’. He served with the 15th Battalion on the Western Front. In April 1917 he was reported missing in action at Bullecourt.
  • His body was never found and wife hoped that he was POW for a long time and sent numerous inquiries. Later he was confirmed to be killed in action.

John de Raupak Ropenberg

  • John de Raupak Ropenberg, a seaman from Riga in Latvia, after studying in a nautical school in Russia, came to Geelong in 1916; three weeks later he enlisted in the AIF.
  • He served with the 22nd Battalion on the Western Front. In July 1918 he was gassed, but rejoined his battalion.
  • After the war he received some education in nautical schools in London and Leith and returning to Australia continued serving on the ships. In March 1923 he perished aboard the ship ‘Amy Turner’ on which he served as the 1st mate and which was lost in a typhoon near Guam.

Emerick Shimkovitch

  • Emerick Shimkovitch, a Polish seaman from Novo-Aleksandrovsk (Zarasai) in Lithuania, came to Australia with Raupak Ropenberg and enlisted in the AIF together with him (serving as Schimkovitch).
  • He served with the 22nd Battalion on the Western Front and was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery.
  • After the war he married Jean Lilian and worked as a motor driver in Melbourne. His wife died in 1931 leaving him with a young daughter. Later he married Esther Gladys Corden and worked as a lighthouse keeper.