Thursday, 23 April 2015

Lithuanian Anzacs on the Western Front #1

Previous posts looked at those who served in the Mediterranean theatres of the First World War - Gallipoli and Egypt/Palestine.  The next several posts will deal with service in France and Belgium (the Western Front).  Again, I have drawn heavily from Elena Govor's Russian Anzacs project.

Twenty four men with origins in Lithuania served for Australia on the Western Front.  A quarter of these men appear to have had Lithuanian heritage; around half were Litvaks (Lithuanian Jews), while the others were of Polish, German, or Byelorussian (or uncertain) backgrounds.

Let's start with the first four of those who appear to have been Lithuanians (clicking on their names will take you to their service records at the National Archives):

(Here I've largely repeated the information shown on the earlier Gallipoli post:)
AWM memorial panel 61
Arriving at Port Adelaide on 29 September 1914 on the Ajana from Liverpool UK as a single man, he worked at a sawmill in Gumeracha for a short while before enlisting at Adelaide in June 1915.  He served in the Gallipoli campaign as a private in the 10th Battalion, then went on to serve on the Western Front in the 50th Battalion where he died on 23 August 1916 of wounds received in action.  He was buried at the Boulogne East Cemetery in France and is commemorated at the Australian War Memorial and at both the Adelaide and Birdwood war memorials in South Australia.  

William Frank JAKS
Born in the province of Kaunas in 1882, he left czarist Russia around 1900 and lived in England prior to arriving in Australia on the Heathfield in 1914.  He enlisted in April 1916 at Adelaide as a single man, giving his residence as Berri, South Australia, and his occupation as a carpenter.  William served as a private with the 5th Pioneer Battalion (reinforcements) in France and was severely wounded in action in September 1918.  He returned to Adelaide in February 1919 and was discharged later that year.  After the war he was self-employed as a furniture restorer and french polisher in NSW and Queensland, eventually settling in Canberra where he married Madeline Elliott in 1936.  He died there in 1951.

P. Kalinauskas (centre),
Sydney circa 1920
(Source: Metraštis No 1)
Russian Anzacs notes, as reported by Kalinauskas' family, that he left home at 14 working as a ship's cook and spent 3 years in Chicago before arriving in Australia; also that he continued to travel after the war, visiting Lithuania and living in the USA, Tasmania, Broken Hill, Newcastle and Brisbane. Metrastis No 1 includes an early photograph of him (opposite) but there is no first name given, only an initial.  He may have been the Petras Kalinauskas who is recorded on Hamburg shipping lists as sailing from Hamburg to New York in September 1913, however we can't be certain. Born in Zagarė in 1893, he was working as a tailor's cutter before enlisting in Cloncurry (Queensland) in September 1916 as William Kalinovsky, a single man.  As a private and lance corporal he served as an interpreter for the 4th Pioneer Battalion, 12th Battalion and 21st Machine Gun Co. in France 1917-19. His army record shows that he attended a cutting academy in London for several months in 1919.  On return to Australia, William used the surname Kalin from the early 1920s, married Clarisse McFeeters in Broken Hill in 1924 and raised a young family, but died in 1937 while self-employed as a tailor in Brisbane.

AWM memorial panel 113

Born in Kaunas in 1889, he was working as a labourer at Kalgoorlie (Western Australia) and a single man prior to enlisting in August 1916 at Kalgoorlie.  John saw service as a private with the 27th and 28th Battalions but was killed in action on 20 September 1917 in Belgium.  He left behind a sister, Eva [Ieva] Alanskas/Alanckienė of Bellevue Western Australia, who had arrived in Australia with her family in 1912 having lived in Scotland for several years. Although arrival records for John Lovriaen have not yet been located, it seems possible that he had also reached Australia from Scotland, particularly as his military record lists his religion as Church of England. Western Australian newspaper reports of his death in 1917 show his residence as Bellevue.  He is commemorated at the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium and also at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Sources:; Metrastis No 1; Russian Anzacs; Trove.

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