Raitt, Haapanen, Morozoff

May 10, 2015

Charles Henry Raitt

  • Charles Henry Raitt was a Britisher with a long-lasting connection with Russia. His grandfather, Charles Raitt, an officer in the British Army, in 1835 married Anne Hill, who was born in St Peterburg. Her ancestors – Hills, Wishaws, Focks, and Ammers – lived in St Petersburg since the eighteenth century. For instance her great grandfather Bernhard Fock worked as a gardener for the Russian Emperor’s family since the 1730s. In the 1830s Charles and Anne Raitt came to Australia and started a family, but their son Arthur returned to St Petersburg where Charles Henry was born in about 1869. The latter, according to his service records, spent a number of years in the British consular service in Russia. He received a good education and came to Australia in the 1880s working as an accountant and then as a bank manager in Melbourne.
  • Enlisting in the AIF he was appointed a commander of A Company of the newly formed 21st Battalion with the rank of Major. His war experience started in a dramatic way when his ship, the Southland, on approach to Gallipoli, was torpedoed with loss of life. Raitt survived the ordeal but his nervous system was shattered, which aggravated his other health issues. He was invalived to Australia and continued his service in the depot as a commanding officer, where his knowledge of Russian was occasionally put to use. Being discharged in early 1917, he reenlisted into the Sea Transport Service Unit, travelling to England and back to Melbourne.
  • After the final discharge from the army he could not find a job and his family life began to crumble; by that time he had three children. After separation with his wife he left for the US in 1920 and settled in La Grange, Illinois. In 1942 he applied to enlist in the army, taking ten years off his age.

Toivo Alexander Haapanen

  • Toivo Alexander Haapanen, a Finnish seaman from Tammerfors (Tampere), came to Australia in 1913 and worked in outback New South Wales and Queensland.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Goondiwindi, he served with the 15th Battalion at Gallipoli and later in the Camel Corps in Egypt, where he became sick. Recovering in Australia he reenlisted and joined the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force with which he served in New Britain.
  • After the war he continued his outback lifestyle, working as as seaman and carpenter in the Northern Territory, Kimberly and Broome. During the Second World War he enlisted in the AIF and served in Broome.

Alfroniza Morozoff

  • Alfroniza Morozoff had deserted from the Russian naval ship Gromoboi when it visited Australia to take part in the celebrations for Federation in 1901. His original name was probably Afanasy Kargopolov, but he changed it to Morozoff and then to Jack Morris. Similarly variable was the place of his birth – from Odessa in Ukraine to Tobolsk in Siberia. He worked as a bridge carpenter at Bunyip Swamp in Gippsland, Victoria, but by the time of enlistment migrated to Cloncurry in North Queensland.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he went to Egypt with the 25th Battalion, but was returned soon to Australia as medically unfit. He reenlisted once again, but was discharged due to a fracture of his left kneecap.
  • After the war he continued his wandering life in North Queensland.