Thursday, 14 May 2015

More Litvak Anzacs on the Western Front

This post continues the list of Lithuanian Jews (Litvaks) who served on the Western Front during World War One.  Again, I have drawn heavily on records held by the National Archives of Australia (click on each name for the relevant service record) and on Elena Govor's Russian Anzacs project (http://russiananzacs.net).


Joe IPP was born in 1897 in Kaunas (the service record has it as 'Counow' which is not dissimilar to 'Kovno' as it was known at the time) and had lived in South Africa for a few years before arriving in Melbourne in 1914.  He worked there as a salesman before enlisting in February 1917 (the service record shows that he was only slightly over 5 feet tall and weighted only 120 pounds; at the start of the war the minimum height requirement had been 5 feet 6 inches).  Joe served in France and Belgium as a private (gunner and driver) with the 13th Light Horse Regiment and 1st Field Artillery Brigade and was discharged in England in August 1919.  He returned to Australia in 1921, married in 1923 and settled in Melbourne.


Joseph JOSEPHSON was born in 1886 in Vilnius and had lived in Sweden for 7 years and England for a short while before arriving in Western Australia in 1912.  He worked at Geraldton and Perth before going into business for himself as a storekeeper and then enlisting in Sydney in August 1916 (his occupation was shown as draper and window dresser).  He served as a private with the 1st Battalion on the Western Front and was wounded at Bullecourt and at again at Passchendaele in 1917.  In 1918 Joseph was court marshalled for refusing to fight but the sentence was soon suspended and he was returned to Australia in December 1918.  He settled in Sydney and was operating a small business as a draper and mercer at Waterloo when naturalised as a British subject in 1922.


Arthur LEVY was born in 1877 in Kaunas.  We don't know when he arrived in Australia but he was already a naturalised British subject when enlisting in December 1915 at Liverpool NSW as a single man aged 35, occupation salesman and traveller.  He served as a private in the 13th Battalion but was wounded in action in February 1917, subsequently was returned to Australia and invalided out in August 1917.  He settled in Sydney and died there in 1964.

Source: Australian War
Memorial's collection

David MINOR was born in 1894 in Vilnius and probably left for the USA in 1912: Hamburg passenger lists and New York arrival records on Ancestry.com show a David Minar (age 17) from Vilnius crossing the Atlantic with his mother? Chane (age 51) on the President Lincoln in January 1912.  D. Minor is further recorded as an able seaman on the SS Inga from New Zealand to Sydney in December 1915 and the Mallina from Newcastle to Sydney in January 1916.  He enlisted at Sydney in March 1916 (occupation seaman) and served as a private with the 1st Battalion in France.  David was first wounded in action in 1917, then killed in action in May 1918.  He was buried at Meteren Military Cemetery in France; here is a WW1 studio portrait from the Australian War Memorial's collection.


Heyman WOLFSON was born in 1875 in Seda (his enlistment papers record this as 'Sade', in yiddish the town would be 'Siad'), left home at the age of 14 and spent 20 years in Ireland before arriving in Australia in 1910.  He resided briefly in Melbourne and Brisbane before settling in Adelaide where he was naturalised in 1914; he enlisted in August 1915 at the age of 39, his occupation was given as labourer.  Heyman served as a private in the 32nd Battalion, was wounded in action in 1916 but continued in active service until the end of the war.  He returned to Australia in April 1919.

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