Winter, Abolin, Magnusson, Wirkanen, Finn

March 1, 2016

Otto Winter

  • Otto Winter, a Finnish seaman from Helsingfors (Helsinki), came to Australia in 1907. Not long before his enlistment he married a girl from South Australia, Irene Daley, and had a son.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Casula, Sydney, with the group of Finish seamen who were allocated to the Camel Corps, he was was separated from them and sent to the reinforcements of the Mining Corps. In March 1918 he was gassed and then wounded in July 1918, but remained on duty.
  • After the war he lived with his family in Adelaide, South Australia, working as a fitter. During WWII he enlisted in the AIF and served in the Volunteer Defence Corps.

Martin Abolin

  • Martin Abolin, a Latvian from Riga, came to Australia in about 1911 and worked as a timber worker in Jarrahdale in Western Australia.
  • He served with the 44th Battalion on the Western Front and was killed in June 1917 at Messines.
  • His brother John, living in England, was found after the war.

Neils William Magnusson

  • Neils William Magnusson, a Finn from the Aland Islands, came to Australia in 1914, most likely as a seaman.
  • Enlisting in the AIF in Newcastle, he served with the 35th Battalion on the Western Front, attaining the rank of Lance-Corporal. In July 1917 he was severely wounded, receiving shrapnel wounds to his head, leg, and arms, and repatriated to Australia. Recovering, he reenlisted in September 1918 and worked as a rigger in the camp.
  • After the war he lived in Newcastle, working as a carpenter.

Juho David Julius Wirkanen

  • Juho David Julius Wirkanen, a Finnish seaman from Nystad (Uusikaupunki), came to Australia in 1912 and worked on interstate and coastal boats.
  • He served with the 1st Battalion on the Western Front until he got sick and was returned to Australia.
  • After the war he continued his work as a seaman and drowned in June 1921 aboard the steamer Our Jack. His friend Florence Hayes commemorated his death in a newspaper two years later.

Paul Elias Isaac Finn

  • Paul Elias Isaac Finn, a Jewish man from Vilno (Vilnius) in Lithuania, left Russia in 1907 and spent several years in Scotland, moving to Australia in 1913. He worked as a fitter and motor driver on the railway. By the time of his enlistment in the AIF he had become a Methodist.
  • He served with the 35th Battalion on the Western Front, being later transferred to the 9th Light Trench Mortar Battery. He was wounded three times, first in July 1917 near Messines, then he was gassed at Villers-Bretonneux in April 1918, and in August 1918, during the Amiens advance, he was wounded in the arm. After the third casualty he was repatriated to Australia.
  • After the war he lived in Sydney, working as a fitter, car driver, and engineer. In 1936 he married an Australian woman, Essie Lilias Crawford. During WWII he enlisted in the AIF and served in a garrison battalion.