Mentze, Seltin, Strauberg, Stenger

December 21, 2016

Alexander Mentze

  • Alexander Mentze, a Latvian seaman, came to South Australia with his Russian friends Edward Seltin and Oscar Strauberg in November 1916. They deserted ship and, under the pressure of the Russian consul, enlisted in the AIF a few days later.
  • Alexander was discharged from the army soon after enlistment because of an old injury to his elbow.
  • He subsequently worked in the coastal shipping of South Australia and New South Wales, settling in Sydney where he married an Australian woman, Mary Green.

Edward Ottomar Seltin

  • Edward Ottomar Seltin, a seaman from Rujenê in Latvia, served for two years on the ships in England before deserting his ship in Australia.
  • He served with the 5th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front. In March 1918 he was wounded at Messines, but after recovering rejoined his battalion and served to the end of the war.
  • Settling in Sydney, he married an Australian girl, Florence Sherwood, and had a son Edward, who later recorded his memoirs. Seltin Sr worked as a coal lumper and later became a tram driver.

Oscar Strauberg

  • Oscar Strauberg, also a Latvian from Riga, served together with Seltin in the 5th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he worked on the coastal shipping out of Port Kembla until he lost his arm in an accident on a ship.

Fedor Stenger

  • Fedor Stenger, an artist (most likely a performer) from Riga, came to Australia not long before enlistment; his wife and two children stayed in Singapore and India, where earlier he was probably a planter.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Melbourne in October 1916 under the pressure of the Russian consulate, he was discharged a month later for family reasons. Nevertheless, going to Sydney, he re-enlisted a week later. He served with the 1st Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front until he was wounded in April 1918 at Hazebrouck.
  • He was returned to Australia and discharged in Sydney, but after that he disappears from the Australian records.