Gustaf Bloom was born in Saltvik, Aland, Finland in 1897. He was living in Newcastle, New South Wales and working as a bricklayer’s labourer when he enlisted for the First World War in 1916. His enlistment papers show him as a ‘Russian subject’ and his parents as ‘absent’ (they still lived in Finland) and unable to provide permission for him to enlist underage.
Bloom served with the 35th Battalion Australian Imperial Force in France and spent some time in hospital suffering from debility. In September 1918 he went AWOL (Absent With Out Leave) for two months and was sentenced to two years imprisonment. He served several months before being released and returned to Australia in June 1919.
Between the wars Bloom moved to Maffra, Victoria. He found new work as a radio mechanic and serviceman. On his re-enlistment in 1942 at age 44, he stated he was ‘Australian by adoption’.
Bloom deployed with the Heavy Wireless Unit and worked at various locations around Melbourne. His health, however, was poor and he often suffered from chest and gastric complaints. He was discharged in 1945, as no longer fit for service.
Saltvik Aland, 1915
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Reviewed 24 April 2023