Lembit, Keiss, Nielsen, Oleinikoff, Shular

June 1, 2016

Johannes Lembit

  • Johannes Lembit, an Estonian seaman from Piarnu, came to Australia in April 1916 with his elder brother Alexander, also a seaman.
  • Johannes enlisted in the AIF in Sydney a fortnight after his arrival and served with the 4th Battalion on the Western Front, attaining the rank of Sergeant. In September 1918 he was wounded in the head during the advance south of Peronne.
  • After the war Johannes tried to buy a farm near Port Macquarie, but in the early 1920s he left for Estonia, where he married an Estonian girl Anna Maria and had a son. In 1926 they moved to Australia and settled in Sydney, where Johannes worked on the waterfront. Their son Valdek served in the AIF in WWII.

Leonard George Keiss

  • Leonard George Keiss, another Estonian, from Jurjew (Tartu), came to Australia in 1913 as a seaman, deserting his ship. He was an engineer and fitter by profession.
  • At the time of his enlistment in the AIF he was living next door to Lembit and they enlisted together. Unfortunately, his service did not go well: a few weeks after his enlistment he was convicted for breaking a window while drunk. Although he wanted to go to the front he was discharged from the army.
  • After the war he lived in Ipswich, working as an engineer’s fitter and died in 1923.

Lauritz Nielsen

  • Lauritz Nielsen enlisted in the AIF as a native of Finland, which was confirmed by a certificate from the Russian consul. Later he stated that he was born in Denmark.
  • He went to the Western Front with the 5th Pioneer Battalion, but his service was not smooth. He was twice court martialled for misconduct and desertion and in December 1918 deserted his battalion and was declared not eligible for war medals.
  • After the war he settled in Denmark, married and had a family. He reappeared in Australian documents in 1922, when he wanted to return to Australia.

Matfeus Oleinikoff

  • Matfeus Oleinikoff, a Ukrainian from Poltava Province, came to Australia via the Russian Far East in 1912 with his wife Daria and four children. They bought a sugar-cane farm in Cordalba and had three more children; nevertheless Matfeus enlisted in the AIF.
  • He sailed to the Western front with the 26th Battalion, but got sick while in the UK, and was returned to Australia as medically unfit.
  • After the war he moved with his family to Brisbane and they had one more child, but in 1926 he and his wife separated. During WWII their son Peter died while serving in the RAAF in England.

Maxim Shular

  • Maxim Shular, a Ukrainian from the Chernigov Province, came to Australia in 1914 and worked as a labourer and miner in Queensland and in the Northern Territory.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Rockhampton, but was discharged four months later as medically unfit (he had injured his knee while working in the mines). He enlisted for the second time in April 1917 in Townsville, slightly changing his name, but was discharged again.
  • After the war he disappears from the records; he probably returned to Ukraine.