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Kattel, Vurhaft, Tuum, Greshner, Holmstrom

Johannes Kattel

  • Johannes Kattel, a ship’s carpenter from Dago (Hiiumaa) Island in Estonia, came to Australia in 1910 and lived in South Australia.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served with the 4th Pioneer Battalion on the Western Front.
  • After the war he married Norah McNamara, a widow, and lived in South Australia.

Joseph Vurhaft

  • Joseph Vurhaft, a Jewish man from Odessa, came to Australia in 1912 from the Russian Far East and worked as a gardener in Queensland.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served with the 9th Battalion on the Western Front. In September 1917, at the battle for Mennin Road, he was severely wounded and his left arm was amputated; he also suffered from shock to his nervous system.
  • After the war he moved to the USA and lived in San Francisco.

Alexander Tuum

  • Alexander Tuum, an Estonian sailor from Oesel (Saaremaa) Island, came to Australia in 1916 and enlisted in the AIF two weeks later.
  • A week later he was discharged with the formula ‘Not likely to become an efficient soldier’.
  • He stayed in Australia and after the war he married Wilma Murphy and lived in Sydney, continuing his occupation as a seaman.

Basil Alexander Greshner

  • Basil Alexander Greshner, a son of the assassinated head of the Nizhny Novgorod security service, took to the sea in his youth and came to Australia on the Gunda with Russian friends in January 1915. They deserted the ship and Greshner, learning English, worked on the farm in Winchelsea and in the mines in Tasmania.
  • Enlisting in the AIF, he served with the 14th Field Company Engineers on the Western Front. He was awarded the American Distinguished Service medal for his bravery in the attack on Peronne on 1 September 1919. He was also mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s dispatch.
  • After the war he worked as a linesman in Tasmania and an electrician in New Guinea. In 1932 he went to Russia to see his mother. While working in Siberia he was arrested by OGPU, but managed to get away and return to his family in Melbourne (in 1927 he married a Russian woman, Olga Stoodilina).

Edmund Einar Holmstrom

  • Edmund Einar Holmstrom, a Finnish seaman, enlisted in the AIF in Melbourne.
  • Two months later he deserted and disappears from the records.