Pankoff, Sterletsky, Gordon, Rohdy

August 18, 2016

John August Pankoff

  • John August Pankoff from Libava (Liepaja) in Latvia left Russia in his youth as a sailor travelling all over the world. He came to Australia on a sailing ship in 1913 and continued working in Australian waters.
  • With the 8th and 5th Machine Gun companies he served on the Western Front where he was affected by gas poisoning.
  • After his discharge from the Army he worked on the ships on the north-east coast of the USA, returning to Australia in 1925. He married an Australian girl, Jane Christine Jorgenson, and lived with his family in Ipswich working as a millwright assistant. During WWII he served in the Volunteer Defence Corps.

Peter Sterletsky

  • Peter Sterletsky, a Russian from Tobolsk in Siberia, came to Brisbane in 1912 and worked as a labourer on the construction of railways.
  • He served with the 26th Battalion on the Western Front, being gassed in November 1917, at Passchendaele.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Isabella Esther Stephens, and worked as a railway ganger.

Leo Gordon

  • Leo Gordon, a Jewish man from Girtagola (Girkalnis) in Lithuania, came to Adelaide in South Australia in 1908 and worked in Broken Hill as a storekeeper and hotel useful. In 1911 he married a Jewish girl, Annie Griff, but she died in 1915.
  • He served with the 18th Battalion on the Western Front, being severely wounded in the back and arm in May 1917, at Bullecourt. Recovering, he continued his service until he was wounded in the leg in October 1918 during the final attack on the Hindenburg Line.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney, marrying Rebecca Symonds. In the 1930s they moved to Broken Hill, where Leo worked as a salesman.

John Rohdy

  • John Rohdy was born in Russia, but did not provide the place of his birth. He studied in a school in America, coming to Australia in 1906, and lived in Newcastle and Brisbane, working as a wharf labourer. He married an Australian girl, Cecelia Cox, and had a daughter.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney as an American citizen, he served with the 1st Battalion on the Western Front. In May 1917 he was wounded in the right arm at Bullecourt and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he lived with his family in Brisbane working as a labourer, later moving to Sydney and then to Narrabeen, where he worked as a watchman.

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Rosenberg, Robinsky, Jeschek, Yurak

August 13, 2016

Solomon Rosenberg

  • Solomon Rosenberg, a Jewish man from Warsaw, came to Australia in 1908, after serving in the Russian army. He arrived in Sydney from Japan and worked as a tailor.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in Melbourne, but was discharged a few weeks later as his English was very limited.
  • In 1925 he left for France and his Australian naturalisation was revoked in 1934.

Peter Robinsky

  • Peter Robinsky from Riga travelled all over the world before landing in Newcastle in 1913. He lived in Sydney working as a gardener.
  • The first time he enlisted in Liverpool was as Peter Robaky in July 1915, but he was discharged as an absentee. He moved to Melbourne and enlisted there a year later and served with the 60th Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he lived in Melbourne and Sydney, working as a liftman, janitor, and carpenter. He was married to an Australian woman, Lottie Watson.

Frank Jeschek

  • Frank Jeschek, a Polish man from Warsaw, came to Australia as a seaman in 1908.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Tasmania, he sailed to the Western Front with the 12th Battalion, but upon arrival to England he fell ill with TB and was sent back to Tasmania.
  • After his discharge he returned to seafaring but his condition deteriorated and he died in August 1919 in Tasmania.

Oscar Yurak

  • Oscar Yurak from Salismunde in Latvia worked in Australia as a labourer.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, he arrived with the 39th Battalion to the Western Front and requested a transfer to the Russian Army. In 1917 he was returned to Australia and discharged.
  • After the war he planned to sail to New York.

Norman, Koty, Sadagoursky, Kirilloff, Alexseff

August 4, 2016

Frank Norman

  • Frank Norman, a Finnish seaman from Kristinestad, was working in Broken Hill by the time of his enlistment in the AIF.
  • He served with the 37th Battalion on the Western Front, later being transferred to the 3rd Division Salvage Company. In April 1917 he broke his leg in an accident and was returned to Australia.
  • After the was he lived in Bowden and Port Pirie in South Australia.

George Herman Koty

  • George Herman Koty, a Jewish man born in Kiev, emigrated to New York with his family in 1906. He came to Australia as a seaman and enlisted in the AIF in Adelaide.
  • He served with the 40th Battalion on the Western Front. In January 1917, at Armentieres, he was wounded in the neck, but, recovering, returned to the front. In April 1918, at Dernancourt, he was wounded once again in the arm and in August 1918, at the beginning of the final advance, in the leg.
  • After his discharge from the AIF in Australia he returned to the USA. He married, and worked in the dyeing and cleaning business.

Harry Sadagoursky

  • Harry Sadagoursky, a Jewish man from Odessa, migrated with his family to Palestine as a child. In 1912 Harry and his family moved to Perth.
  • Harry made his first attempt to enlist in August 1914 when he was just seventeen, but was rejected because of ‘under chest measurement’. The second time he enlisted was in July 1916, but he was discharged several months later as being underage. He made one more attempt to enlist a year later, but was rejected because of eye problems.
  • After the war he worked as a carter, later moving to Melbourne where he married Sadie Leon and became a master fruiterer at the Victoria, Prahran and Dandenong markets.

Ivan Vasilivich Kirilloff

  • Ivan Vasilivich Kirilloff, a Russian from Rostov-on-Don, came to Australia in 1911 from the Russian Far East with his wife Klavdia and daughter Evgenia. They settled in Ipswich, where he worked as a turner in the railway workshops.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Brisbane, he got ill with rheumatism and was discharged three months later.
  • After the war he lived in Injune, managing a store. Retiring, he moved to Brisbane, and took a trip with his family to the USA and England in 1929.

Vladimir Alexseff

  • Vladimir Alexseff, born in Vladivostok, came to Australia in 1911 from Africa as a seaman and worked on coastal ships.
  • According to his statement, he enlisted in the AIF at the beginning of the war and served for six months; later he was engaged on the transport vessel taking troops to Gallipoli (these records have not been found). In July 1916 he applied for enlistment in the AIF once again but was rejected as medically unfit because of defective vision.
  • In 1915 he married an Australian girl, Myra Alison Burwood-Baldry, and had a son. They lived in Sydney where Vladimir worked as a fitter and turner. He got sick with TB and, in spite of medical treatment in Switzerland, died in 1932.

Winning, Januski, Enberg, Backman, Walters

July 21, 2016

Alexander Barr Winning

  • Alexander Barr Winning, a British subject, was born in Kharkov. His father, James Winning, conducted business in Ukraine with his brothers, drilling bores for geological surveys. He died three years after Alexander’s birth and his wife returned to England; in 1912 she emigrated with her children to Western Australia, where Alexander worked as a draughtsman.
  • He served with the 11th Battalion on the Western Front and after the war remained in Glasgow for further education and professional training in the field of architecture.
  • Returning to Perth, he was involved in designing many buildings there. In 1923 he married Dorothy Major and had three children. Their elder son Ian Stewart Winning served in the RAAF in WWII.

Anthony Januski

  • Anthony Januski, a seaman from Kovno (Kaunas) in Lithuania, came to Australia in 1915.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Melbourne, he served with the 58th Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1917, in the battle for Passchendaele, he was reported missing in action, but later returned to his unit. In June 1918 he was wounded in the knee and evacuated to England. While in the training depot there he had numerous AWLs and was finally returned to Australia.
  • After the war his life was not easy. In 1926 he was sent to Goulburn Jail for stealing. The next year his body, wrapped in a swag, was found in a paddock near Stratford in Victoria. In the pocket of his coat police found his discharge certificate and two medals.

Augusta Emelia Enberg

  • Augusta Emelia Enberg, a woman born in Lovisa in Finland, came to Australia in 1913 with her brother Adolf and sister Ellen. Augusta was trained in the Surgical Hospital in Helsingfors (Helsinki) as a nurse and worked as a nurse in Australia.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Sydney, she accompanied troop ships to Egypt and England, but upon return to Australia in November 1917 she was discharged, being considered to be ‘of enemy nationality’.
  • In 1924 Augusta left Sydney for Finland.

Evert Isidor Backman

  • Evert Isidor Backman, a Finn from Kristinestad, came to Western Australia in 1898 and was working in the south-western areas of the state as a timber hewer and labourer.
  • He served with the 16th Battalion on the Western Front. In September 1917 he was killed at the battle for Polygon Wood.
  • His family in Finland was found after the war.

Isidore Walters

  • Isidore Walters, a Jewish man from Ludza in Latvia, came to Western Australia in 1912 with his relatives and worked as a farm labourer. Here his family changed their name from Pasvalsky to Walters. Isidore’s younger brother Louis Pasvalsky enlisted in the AIF in 1915 and was killed in September 1916.
  • He served with the 11th Battalion on the Western Front. In August 1917 he was wounded in the shoulder and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he lived in Perth working as a cook and cleaner in the Embassy cabaret. During WWII he enlisted in the AIF and served in the volunteer defence corps, dying during his service in 1943.

Russian Anzacs at Fromelles

July 20, 2016

At least 35 Russian born Anzacs participated in the attack on the Sugar-loaf salient (near Fromelles) on 19 July 1916. They were mostly Finns and men from the Baltic Provinces. Initially, the Australians were successful in driving the Germans out of their trenches right across the line, but at night the situation changed; finally, lacking in support from their British counterparts and with insufficient artillery support, the Australians had to withdraw, having suffered horrific casualties, amounting to 5533 men. The Russian losses were ten: five wounded; three killed; and two men taken prisoner, Andreas Voitkun from Latvia (also wounded) and Wolf Dorfman, from Rovno in Ukraine. The wounded were Peter Jurgenson, Edward Tomson, and George Reise from Estonia, William Stauwer from Latvia, and George Diaconescu from Romania, who enlisted as a Russian subject.

The three killed were Boris Soans from Estonia and Arthur John Savolainen from Finland, both former seamen, and Gershun Harbert, a Polish Jew. Harbert, a former tailor, had fallen sick on Gallipoli; then in Egypt, when his division made its infamous three-day march across the desert in full kit, he suffered heat-stroke. Despite his poor health he went to the Western Front, where he lasted only a few days. During the attack his 15th Brigade was in the worst position and had to cross the widest part of no-man’s-land under the German tempest of fire. Harbert found his end somewhere there among its ditches and furrows. He was reported ‘missing in action’. We shall never know what made him join the AIF, probably devotion to his new homeland. A human grain of sand, doing his bit …

Croot, Komula, Paegle, Bergroth

July 17, 2016

Alexander Croot

  • Alexander Croot claimed to be born in Dvinsk (now Daugavpils in Latvia), although in fact he was born in London in 1899. He came from a Jewish family from Dvinsk, who moved to London not long before his birth. In 1914 he came to Australia with his parents and worked in Sydney as a tailor.
  • He served with the 22nd Battalion on the Western Front until he was diagnosed with heart disease and returned to Australia as medically unfit. He tried to reenlist soon after his discharge and was allocated to the 4th Australian General Hospital in Randwick, but his service did not last long.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Ursula Stapleton, and lived with his family in Wollongong, working for Wollongong City Council. During WWII he joined the AIF and served at the Engineers depot in Moore Park.

Antti Komula

  • Antti Komula, a seaman from Oulu in Finland, came to Australia in January 1916 and worked as a labourer in outback New South Wales. By the time of his enlistment he was in his 40s.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Cootamundra, he served with the 8th Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1917 he was wounded at Ypres, the wound was aggravated by sickness and he was returned to Australia in in 1918.
  • After the war he worked at Waranga Basin in Victoria, but after 1921 he moved to America where he continued seafaring.

Michal Paegle

  • Michal Paegle, a Latvian from Libava (Liepaja), was a sailmaker by trade.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Melbourne, he served with the 6th Battalion on the Western Front. In May 1917 he was wounded accidentally, but recovered; in September 1917 the was reported missing in action at the battle at Mennin Road in Belgium. Later it was confirmed that he was killed in action.
  • His family in Latvia was found after the war.

Hjalmar Bernard Bergroth

  • Hjalmar Bernard Bergroth, a Finnish carpenter and seaman from Helsingfors (Helsinki), came to Australia in 1908 and worked as a labourer in Perth. In 1913 he married an Australian girl, Elizabeth Burke.
  • At the beginning of the war he served in the Australian Navy, on the Cerberus, for two months, but failed a trade test. Enlisting in the AIF, he was allocated to the Australian Mechanical Transport Service, but got sick while in England and was returned to Australia.
  • After the war he moved to Melbourne, where he was working as a carpenter.

Kusmin, Rodionoff, Tupicoff, Caplan

July 9, 2016

Peter Kusmin

  • Peter Kusmin, whose real name was Samuel Zadorohney, was born in Kiev in Ukraine. He came to Australia in 1913 from the Russian Far East. He worked as a miner in the Newcastle area.
  • He served with the 2nd Tunneling Company on the Western Front. In March 1917 he was severely wounded to the face with a fracture of the lower jaw.
  • While recovering in England he married an English widow with two children, Mabel Louisa Kneller. Mabel was awaiting their child when Kusmin was rapidly returned to Australia, because the authorities intercepted his letter full of anticapitalist and antiwar propaganda. Kusmin never returned to his English family. He stayed in Sydney, becoming a waterside worker.

Nicholas Rodionoff

  • Nicholas Rodionoff, a Russian from either Perm or Tomsk in Siberia, came to Australia from the Far East in 1912, leaving behind his wife. He first worked in Port Pirie, but then moved to Newcastle, working as a carpenter.
  • He enlisted together with Kusmin and later was allocated to the 3rd Tunneling Company on the Western Front. In April 1918 he was gassed; in October 1918 he received accidental gunshot wounds to his hip and right arm.
  • Upon returning to Australia he worked as a coal miner in Kurri Kurri.

Nicholas Tupicoff

  • Nicholas Tupicoff was born in Perekopnoe in the Samara area. His family moved to Harbin, where he studied at the Commercial High School and worked as a Chinese interpreter. He could speak Chinese, Russian, German, Polish and English. In 1912, aged nineteen, he came to Australia and worked as a labourer. His younger brother Alexis joined him in 1914.
  • Nicholas enlisted in the AIF in December 1915 in Rockhampton, but was discharged three months later as medically unfit. Reenlisting in June 1916 in Brisbane he served with the 47th and 49th battalions on the Western Front. While on the front he suffered of synovitis knee and received a gunshot to the right hand in August 1918.
  • Returning to Australia he married Alexandra Muller, a girl from Samara. They took land in the Coominya Soldiers settlement, but later had to give it up and settled in Ipswich, where Nicholas found employment as a striker. They had a large family with six children. Nicholas’ brother Alexis, severely wounded at the front, joined them after the war.

Joe Caplan

  • Joe Caplan, a Jewish man from Kovno (now Kaunas in Lithuania), went to Manchester in the UK when he was fourteen. In 1912 he moved to Australia to join his cousin Morris Gordon. He worked for him as a commercial traveller, but later found employment as a ship steward.
  • He served with the 19th Battalion on the Western Front, attaining the rank of temporary corporal.
  • After the war he worked as a steward in the Hawkesbury Agricultural College in Richmond.

Aide, Goldstein, Britain, Phillips

July 4, 2016

Martin Aide

  • Martin Aide from Riga came to Australia in 1900 and worked in Western Australia as a labourer and waterside worker. By the time of his enlistment in the AIF he was married to Louisa Boseley and was farming in the Albany area.
  • He served with the 11th Battalion on the Western Front, attaining the rank of Lance Corporal. In May 1917 he was wounded at Bullecourt in the right leg, but recovered and rejoined his unit.
  • After the war he was farming in Dongolocking, in Western Australia and later moved to Perth.

Frank Goldstein

  • Frank Goldstein, a Jewish man from Ruzhin in Ukraine, came with his mother to England in his youth and mastered a trade of a jeweller. He came to Sydney in 1907, married Florence Rosa Saunders, and had by the time of his enlistment in the AIF had three children.
  • He served with the 23rd Battalion on the Western Front. In May 1917, at Bullecourt, he was wounded in the head; recovering he continued his service and was wounded in May 1918 at Ville-sur-Ancre in his eye, which had to be removed.
  • He returned to his family in Sydney and worked as an ice cream vendor.

Samuel Britain

  • Samuel Britain, a Jewish man from Vilna (Vilnius in Lithuania), came to Melbourne in 1912 to join his uncle and worked as a cutter and designer in the clothing industry.
  • He served with the 11th Machine Gun Battalion on the Western Front until he was returned to Australia because of defective vision in 1917.
  • After the war he lived in Melbourne working as a clothing manufacturer. He married Jean Morrison in 1922, but his wife died the same year, after the birth of their daughter Jean.

John Phillips

  • John Phillips, a Finnish seaman from Wasa, travelled the world. He fought for 3 years in Spanish-American war and spent 4 years in South Africa. In Australia he worked in intercolonial coastal sailing. He was married to Evelin Low and had three children.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in October 1915 but was discharged at the request of his wife a month later. Reenlisting in June 1916 he served with the 12th Machine Gun Battalion on the Western Front until he got sick with myalgia and returned to Australia.
  • After the war he continued seafaring, being shipwrecked on the American Coast in 1930, but survived the ordeal.

Budrewicz, Cotton, Fitisoff, Kretovitch, Saario

June 29, 2016

Joseph Budrewicz

  • Joseph Budrewicz, a Pole from Radziwiliszki in Lithuania, was a mechanic by trade. He worked for five years on the railways in Russia and but in 1913 he emigrated to South America. Two years later left Argentina for Australia with a big group of Russians and landed in Darwin in the Northern Territory. From Darwin he made his way to Perth, where he enlisted in the AIF.
  • Three months later he left his 43rd Battalion and was discharged as a deserter.
  • It is most likely that he settled in the USA after the war.

Lewy Cotton

  • Lewy Cotton, a Jewish man born in Odessa, left Russia in his youth and spent several years in France and England, where he was trained as a waiter. Coming to Australia in 1914, he worked as a waiter in Perth and Adelaide.
  • Enlisting in Perth as Cotten, he served with the 16th Battalion on the Western Front. Being transferred to London in February 1918 he served in the Australian Provost Corps.
  • After the war he settled in Adelaide where was married to Ivy Gertrude Jenkins and had a son. He became quite famous as the chief waiter in the South Australian Hotel in Adelaide and his biography appeared in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Michael Fitisoff

  • Michael Fitisoff, a seaman from Russia, was seafaring from the age of 13. In 1915 he came to Australia and worked as an assistant steward on Australian coastal ships.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Perth, he served with the 43rd Battalion on the Western Front. In October 1917 he was wounded in the right hand at the battle for Broodseinde, near Ypres, and repatriated to Australia.
  • It is most likely that after the war he left for the USA.

Bronislaw Kretovitch

  • Bronislaw Kretovitch, a Polish man from Vilna (Vilnius, now Lithuania), came to Australia from Harbin in 1911. He settled in Melbourne, where he worked as an engine fitter.
  • He enlisted in the AIF in June 1916, but was discharged as medically unfit.
  • Although he had some plans to return to Russia after the war, he stayed in Australia, working as an engineer. He was a good chess player and often participated in tournaments at the Melbourne Chess Club.

Oscar Wilhelm Saario

  • Oscar Wilhelm Saario, a Finn from Orjuva, came to Australia in 1909 probably as a seaman and worked as a farm labourer in South Gippsland in Victoria.
  • He served with the 3rd Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Ellen Elizabeth Winckle, and had a large family, farming in Gippsland.

Feldman, Soderberg, Baschbauer, Volkofsky, Myer

June 25, 2016

Israel Feldman

  • Israel Feldman, a Jewish man from Odessa, was a widower with a young daughter who spent several years in Egypt and Palestine before coming to Australia. In 1915 he came to Perth where his parents and brother lived. Like his father Israel worked in Australia as a marine collector.
  • Enlisting in the AIF he sailed with the 51st Battalion to England. While there he got sick with trachoma and was returned to Australia.
  • After the war he lived in Perth, naturalising in 1925, but soon after that he disappears from the records.

Arvid Soderberg

  • Arvid Soderberg, a Finn from Helsingfors, came to South Australia in 1910, settled in Renmark and worked as a fisherman.
  • He served with the 32nd Battalion on the Western Front until he got sick with nephritis and was returned to Australia in 1917.
  • After the war he married an Australian girl, Dorothy May Patey, and had a large family. He continued his occupation of a fisherman living in the Renmark area.

Edward Ernest Baschbauer

  • Edward Ernest Baschbauer from Vindava (Ventspils) in Latvia came to Western Australia in 1910 as a seaman and worked as a millhand, mill wright, engineer, and carpenter. When interviewed for his naturalisation application in 1913 the policeman commented ‘he appeared to me to be rather a superior individual in his dress and manner’.
  • He served with the 5th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front attaining the rank of Lance Corporal. In May 1917 at the battle for Bullecourt he was severely wounded, his right am was amputated, and a month later he died of sepsis in an English hospital.
  • His family in Latvia was found after the war.

Theofil Volkofsky

  • Theofil Volkofsky, a man of Polish-Ukrainian origin from Lipki near Kiev, received education in a teachers’ college and came to Australia in 1910 from the Russian Far East. Trying several labouring jobs he started a business, fishing in Bourke.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Dubbo, he was diagnosed with TB and discharged from the army in December 1916.
  • Working in the Bourke area, he made his way to one of the prosperous sheep stations. In 1928 he married an Australian nurse, Thelma McKean and had three children. His son Thomas told the story of the outback endurance of his father.

Norman Myer

  • Norman Myer, a Jewish boy born in Tatarsk, near Mogilev in Belarus, came to Melbourne in 1909 on the invitation of his uncle Sidney Myer, the founder of the Myer Emporium.
  • He was a student of Wesley College when he enlisted in the AIF at the age of 19. He served on the Western Front, being allocated to artillery units, where he made his way from a Driver to Lieutenant.
  • After the war he stayed in London, studying silk manufacturing as part of his vocational training. Returning to Australia in 1920 he joined his uncle’s business, the Myer Emporium. Knighted in 1956, he was chairman of the Sidney Myer charity trust, well known all over Melbourne.