Help us promote Lemnos' link to Anzac - Make a donation now

Our Committee is raising funds to create a lasting legacy telling the story of Lemnos' link to Gallipoli and Australia's Anzac story. Our projects include the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park, the publication of a major new historical and pictorial publication and more. To make a donation you can also deposit directly by direct debit into the Committee's bank account: Account Name: Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Inc; Bank: Delphi Bank; Account No: 204299-020 BSB No: 941300; Include your surname in the reference section. For further information on our legacy projects or to make a donation please contact either Lee Tarlamis 0411553009 or Jim Claven 0409402388M

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Lemnos - Travel Guides from the Past 2

Mount Athos from Myrina, Lemnos. Photo Jim Claven
And here is another guide to Lemnos - from 1981 (first edition 1967) - in the famous Blue Guide series, the volume on Greece, included three pages on Lemnos and the nearby Island of Ayios Evstratios.
Map of Lemnos from the Greece Blue Guide, 1981.
While many writers have tended to ignore the role of Lemnos in the Gallipoli campaign until more recently (even to the extent of failing to mention the graves there), it is interesting that this guide includes detailed reference to this role for the aid of visitors, stating that:
"The Gulf of Mudros, one of the best natural harbours in the Aegean, became the base, in the First World War, of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. Hence Sir Ian Hamilton launched his attack on the Dardanelles (25 April 1915). In the same harbour the armistice with Turkey was concluded on 30 October 1918 on board the H.M.S. Agamemnon, - East Mudros Military Cemetery, to the N.E. of the town with c.900 British Commonwealth dead, contains also a French memorial, though the French graves were removed in 1922. At Portianos, on the w. side of the inner harbour, lie a further 350 dead of the Gallipoli campaign."
The guide also mentions Lemnos many other attractions, its ancient and medieval history.
Click here to read the first pages of the guide, and here for the final pages of the guide.

Jim Claven
Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Lemnos - Travel Guides from the Past 1

Today we begin a series on Lemnos through the eyes of old travel guides.
The guide you can view today is from 1980 and has been provided by one of our Committee members Deb Stewart, the grand-daughter of Australian nurse Evelyn Hutt, who served on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915-16.
She bought this guide during her visit to Lemnos to follow in the footsteps in her grandmother.
You can view the guide by clicking here.
Enjoy - and more to come.
PS If anyone has old guides to Lemnos and they would like to share them please contact me.

Jim Claven
Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

AWM Greek Campaign 1941 Photographic Collection - Helping the AWM

A few weeks ago a colleague of mine - Malcolm McDonald - had spotted the above photograph on the Australian War Memorial (AWM) website (Reference number P00129.006). The AWM title for the photograph says that it was a "group portrait of Australian soldiers on leave, with Greek civilians, including children in national dress, at the Acropolis. Left to right: ernie Merton, Frank Whelman, Greek Taxi driver, Guy Ashield, E. Geoff G. Edwards, Bren Gun Section, 2/11th Battalion (Donor E. Edwards)."
The photograph includes Geoffrey Edwards, who also donated the photograph.
Who was Geoffrey Edwards?
Geoffrey Edwards would survive the campaign on the Greek mainland and service during the battle of Crete. Following the German occupation of Crete, Geoffrey, along with other Allied soldiers, was sheltered by the villagers and monastery of Preveli on the south coast of Crete. He and others would be evacuated to Egypt. After the war, he not only helped in the building of a commemorative fountain at the Preveli monastery but also had built a Greek orthodox church near his home in Western Australian, re-naming the area Prevely to honour the villagers and monks who had helped him and his comrades on Crete. You can read Geoffrey's story in his self-published memoir - The Road to Prevely - reprinted in 2007.
Greek Composite Photographs
Interested in the Hellenic link to Anzac, Malcolm thought the composite photograph interesting, superimposing a group photograph of Australian soldiers over one of the Caryatids on the Acropolis. Malcolm wanted to know what I thought of the photograph.
Many Allied soldiers who arrived in Greece in the days before the German invasion enjoyed a few days leave in Athens. A number of these had their photographs taken around Athens, including on the famed Acropolis, to keep as mementos of their time in Greece. This one by Geoffrey Edwards is now preserved in the AWM collection.
Some are of this composite kind, combining the soldiers at the Acropolis, with scenes of the Acropolis itself. They appear to have been taken and produced by local photographic shops in Athens at the time.
Below is another similar photograph from the collection of Sergeant Alfred Huggins of the 2/3 Casualty Clearing Station, held in the State Library of Victoria. This photograph must have been taken sometime between when they arrived in Greece on 7th March and when they arrived at Elassona on 17th March. The comparison with Geoffrey Edwards photograph is remarkable.

Athens 1944?
The AWM website stated that Geoffrey Edwards photograph had been made in Athens and taken on 20th April 1944. While Athens was most likely the location, the date is improbable.
Athens was still under Axis occupation at this time, the Germans only evacuating the city in early October 1944.
Australian soldiers would not have been present in the city, especially as tourists as depicted. The soldiers are from 2/11th Battalion which did serve during the Greek campaign.
So when was the photograph taken?
If we read the war diary of Geoffrey's unit - the 2/11th Battalion - held by the AWM we can read that they arrived at Piraeus on 12th April 1941. By the 14th April 1941 they had moved north to Larissa. As the Allied retreated to the evacuation ports across southern Greece, the battalion had reached Athens by the 22nd April and then Megara on the 24th April from where it was evacuated from the mainland the following day.
The best one can say is that the photograph was taken on April 1941- but certainly not 1944.
Helping the AWM
The AWM hold hundreds of thousands of records, including many photographs.
A small number may have incorrect details. From my experience, the AWM is more than happy to receive suggestions as to corrections such as the above, provided these are based on firm historical evidence. I encourage anyone with such information to contact the AWM.

Jim Claven, Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee