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

Friday, 25 May 2018

Lemnos' Australian Pier Unveiled and Lemnos' Gallipoli Heritage Trail Announced

The Australian Pier Memorial following its unveiling. Photo Jim Claven 2018

Last month saw two major achievements by our Committee, working in concert with the authorities on Lemnos and in Australia. 
These were the erection and unveiling Lemnos' new commemorative memorial to the Australian Pier and the announcement of the future creation of the Lemnos Gallipoli Heritage Trail on Lemnos.
The Australian Pier Memorial Plaque, Lemnos. Photo Jim Claven 2018
The announcement took place following the unveiling on the 20th April of the new memorial on Lemnos commemorating the Australian Pier near Mudros. This Pier was built by Australian soldiers and engineers in March 1915 as part of the transformation of the Island into the advanced base for the Gallipoli campaign. 

Myself (left) and Mr Tarlamis (right) with Mr Giarmadouros, Sub-Prefect of the Northern Aegean. Photo Jim Claven 2018

The Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee delegation with Mr Marinakis, the Mayor of Lemnos. Photo Jim Claven 2018
In their joint announcement, Mr Evagelos Giarmadouros, Sub-Prefect for the Northern Aegean, and Mr Lee Tarlamis, President of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, stated that the creation of this heritage trail is a vital new step in not only commemorating Lemnos’ link to the Gallipoli campaign but also in facilitating awareness of the link to a new generation.

“Our Committee has worked for many years to build awareness of the Lemnos’ link to Anzac in both Australia and Greece. The creation of the Lemnos Gallipoli Heritage Trail will be the culmination of this work and we look forward to working with the Lemnos authorities to make this a reality,” Mr Tarlamis said from Lemnos.

Mr Giarmadouros said that the Trail would assist Australians to walk in the footsteps of their forebears who came to Lemnos over 100 years ago.

“The Lemnos Gallipoli Heritage Trail will form a bridge between Australia and Greece – as well as those from the other nations connected to the Gallipoli story – and build greater understanding of our joint heritage. There are many bonds between Lemnians and Australians and I know that this initiative will be welcomed both on Lemnos and in Australia. I look forward to working together with the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee to bring this trail to a reality,” he said.

The Committee will work with both the Prefecture of the Northern Aegean and the Municipality to make the new Lemnos Gallipoli Heritage Trail a reality.
 
This year’s Anzac commemorations on Lemnos took place on the 20th April. The commemorations were attended by over 200 people, from both near and far. They were attended by the Australian Ambassador to Greece, other consular and parliamentary dignitaries and senior representatives of the Hellenic Armed forces. The latter included Vice Admiral Ioannis Pavlopoulos, HN, Commander in Chief of the Hellenic Fleet, who travelled from Athens for the event. Some of my photos of the commemorative service at East Mudros Military Cemetery and at Mudros Harbour are reproduced below.







A delegation of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee traveled from Australia to take part in the events. The delegation was led by Mr Tarlamis and myself, and included Ms Deb Stewart, the grand-daughter of Sister Evelyn Hutt who served on Lemnos in 1915, and Mr Malcolm MacDonald, who has written about Second Lieutenant William Davis, a former Victorian trade union official who served and died at Gallipoli.

The commemorations included a formal commemorative service at East Mudros Military Cemetery, a short service at Mudros’ harbour-side Anzac memorial, a historical presentation by Dr. Vassiliki Chryssanthopoulou and a visit to the impressive Lemnos Gallipoli display at the Maritime Museum at Mudros. Mr Tarlamis laid the wreath of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee during the service at East Mudros.
However the main feature of this year’s event was the unveiling of the Australian Pier Memorial, at Aghios Pavlos, north of Mudros. The proposal to build this new Memorial grew out of my own research into the story of the Australian Pier and its erection was jointly funded by the Victorian Government, the Prefecture of the Northern Aegean, the Municipality of Lemnos and the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee. 

I became aware of the story of Lemnos' Australian Pier as a result of my researches through the archives into Lemnos' link to Anzac and the Gallipoli campaign of 1915. The story of the pier is recounted in a short article which I wrote and which was published in Australia's national Greek community newspaper Neos Kosmos. I produced a special brochure on the story of the pier for the unveiling ceremony. You can view and download a copy of the brochure by clicking here.

At the invitation of the local authorities, Mr Tarlamis gave the keynote address at the Memorial immediately prior to its unveiling.To read Mr Tarlamis' address at the unveiling, please click here.  The Australian Pier memorial was unveiled by Her Excellency the Ambassador to Greece Ms Kate Logan, assisted by the consular representatives of New Zealand, Canada and France as well as representatives of the Prefecture of the Northern Aegean and the Municipality of Lemnos and Mr Tarlamis. Also present were representatives of the Hellenic Parliament and Mr Khalil Eideh, MP, representing the Victorian Parliament.
The Australian Pier memorial unveiled. Photo Jim Claven 2018
The commemorations concluded with an event at Mudros’ new amphitheatre which looks out across Lemnos’ great Mudros Bay. Amongst other presentations, it was my pleasure to address the assembly telling the story of my discovery of the Australian Pier, from an obscure reference on a naval map held in British Library in London to the archives of Australian military units that served on Lemnos held in Canberra’s Australian War Memorial. 
I particularly thanked my colleagues in Greece – Mr Dimitris Boulotis and Ms Liza Koutsaplis – in assisting my research into the Australian Pier.
To read the address by our President Lee Tarlamis please click here  and to ready my own address please click here.
The Australian Ambassador addresses the crowd at the new ampitheatre at Mudros. Photo Jim Claven 2018
And how appropriate it was to give this address in a re-created traditional classical Greek amphitheatre, looking out across Mudros Bay, which was filled with over 200 Allied ships on the eve of the landings at Gallipoli 103 years ago.

During their visit to Lemnos, I took members of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee on a day tour of the Island’s key Anzac sites and some of the villages visited by the Anzacs in 1915. Ms Stewart was particularly moved to walk on the Turks Head Peninsula where her grandmother was based during the Gallipoli campaign. I was assisted in the tour by Lemnos’ Petrides Travel.
Our party at the graves of the two Canadian nurses who died during their service on Lemnos in 1915. Photo Jim Claven 2018

Committee members Deb Stewart and Malcolm McDonald in Tsimandria, Lemnos. Photo Jim Claven 2018

On the Turks Head Peninsula - wear the Australian nurses and other medical staff served the sick and wounded in 1915. Photo Jim Claven 2018

Malcolm McDonald at the site of the Water Distillation Plant erected by Jewish volunteers from Palestine serving in the British Army on Lemnos in 1915. Photo Jim Claven 2018
Mr Tarlamis thanked the local authorities for their efforts in putting together this year’s commemorations.

“We have been participating in the annual commemorations on Lemnos for a number of years now and I can say that this year’s events were truly one of the best. It was an honour for me and our Committee representatives to take part in the commemorations. I especially want to congratulate Mr Giarmadouros and the Prefecture of the Northern Aegean as well as Mr Dimitrios Marinakis, the Mayor of Lemnos, for their efforts and their welcome to their beautiful Island,” he said.

As part of this year’s commemorations on Lemnos, the Victorian Government has provided $5,000 in much needed assistance to Mudros Senior Secondary College on Lemnos. This will provided two state of the art projectors and other educational aids for the students at this school. This school has actively participated in the recent visits to Lemnos by Victorian secondary students as part of the Victorian Premier’s Anzac Student Prize program. 

Mr Tarlamis and I visited the school to discuss the grant. The Director of the School, Mr Stylianos Karagioannis said that this assistance was most welcome.

“I look forward to continuing the links between my students and those from Victoria. Such interaction is an important part of our education program, opening our student’s eyes to the world beyond our Island and to appreciate the Anzac connection to Lemnos,” he said.

Mr Tarlamis added that the Committee was working to creating a link between Mudros Senior Secondary College and Melbourne’s Albert Park Secondary College, which is located next to the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park and who participate in the Committee’s annual commemorative service there. 
Christina Despoteris with the Principal of Albert Park Secondary College. Photo Christina Despoteris 2018
Ms Christina Despoteris, the Committee Vice-President, has recently held discussions with both schools to make this a reality. Ms Despoteris reported that the Principal of Albert Secondary College not only supports the proposal to link both schools but is hoping to visit Lemnos with a delegation of his students during the coming commemorations of the centenary of the Armistice of Mudros to be held on Lemnos in early November later this year.

“Our Committee is so pleased to have been able to facilitate this link between Victorian and Lemnian secondary school students. These sorts of connections are vital to preserving awareness of Lemnos’ link to Anzac in future generations,” Ms Despoteris said.

The visit by Albert Park students will coincide with the special Victorian Premiers Anzac Student Prize Alumni Tour to Lemnos during the Armistice commemorations. This will be the first time that the Armistice – which brought an end to the war between the Allies and the Ottoman Empire – will be commemorated and the first of an annual service on Lemnos and in Australia.
 On behalf of the Committee I have successfully proposed the establishment of an annual commemorative service at Melbourne’s iconic Shrine of Remembrance – designed in the image of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus – the first service to take place on the centenary of the Armistice’s having come into effect – at 12 noon on 31st October this year.

It is hoped that the progressive creation of the new Lemnos Gallipoli Heritage Trail will form the beginning of a new Anzac trail throughout Greece from Lemnos, through Thessaloniki, down through mainland Greece to the Peloponnese, to Crete and across the Aegean – linking the key Anzac and other Allied related site from both WW1 and WW2.

The Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee and the Prefecture of the Northern Aegean have now commenced the planning for the creation of the Lemnos Gallipoli Heritage Trail, including a number of additional memorials commemorating significant locations in Lemnos’ link to Anzac and other related initiatives. The Committee has also extended an invitation to the regional and local Lemnian authorities to visit Melbourne and our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial. 

Jim Claven
Secretary, Lemmos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Thursday, 24 May 2018

You are Invited - Battle of Crete Commemoration - Shrine of Remembrance - 10am Sat 26th May


Australian Anti-Aircraft Battery Maleme airfield, Crete, May 1941. Photo: AWM
Australian nurses arrive on Crete following their evacuation from the Greek mainland, Suda Bay, April 1941. Photo: AWM

This Saturday 26th May will see the formal commemoration in Melbourne of the 77th anniversary of the battle of Crete.
The event will take place at the forecourt of the Shrine of Remembrance, commencing at 10am.
The Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee has again been invited to take part in this annual commemorative service by laying a wreath. Our Vice-President, Ms Christina Despoteris, will lay the wreath on behalf of the Committee.
This is an important part of the calender of annual events commemorating key elements in the Hellenic link to Anzac - stretching from Lemnos in 1915 to the battle of Greece and Crete in WW2.
All members of the Committee are urged to attend this public event.

Jim Claven
Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

You are Invited - New WW2 Memorials to be Unveiled at Pylos and Methone 6th May

Pylos and its harbour, where the damaged Nino Bixio was towed in 1942 and where the new memorial will be installed on 6th May. Photo Jim Claven 2016
All are welcome to attend the forthcoming unveiling of two new WW2 commemorative memorials at Pylos and Methone.
This event will begin at 1pm, 6th May, at the Hellenic War Memorial at Pylos harbour. This will be followed by a similar event at the Hellenic War Memorial at Methone.
While every effort has been taken to confirm event details, they may change and those wishing to attend should confirm details with the Municipality of Pylos-Nestor.
The Memorials
These two new bronze plaques commemorate the Nino Bixio tragedy of 1942 and that of the Sebastiano Veniero-Jason off Cape Methone of 1941. They commemorate those who died, those who survived and the local people who tried to help them.


These memorials have been the dream of Australian WW2 veteran and survivor of the Nino Bixio tragedy for many years.
WW2 Australian veteran Bill Rudd in WW2.
In August 1942 Bill was one of 2,000 Allied prisoners aboard the Nino Bixio, sailing from Libya to an internment camp in Italy. Bill found a spot on the steel mezzanine deck that ran around the forward hold of the ship and remembers it as “incredibly hot and stuffy.”
In waters south west of Greece, 12 nautical miles south west of Pylos, at 4.33pm on the 17th August 1942, the Nino Bixio was torpedoed by an Allied submarine. Only days before this same submarine had been taking on and dropping off Allied SOE agents and Greek resistance fighters on Crete and the mainland. Bill remembers “a sudden tremendous thud and the "whoompf" of the torpedo bursting into the hold.” As he made his way to the decks with the rest of the survivors, Bill witnessed more destruction and the bodies of the dead.
Italian POW ship the Nino Bixio.
Over 300 of Bill’s comrades were killed in the ensuing tragedy - Australians, New Zealanders and other Allied troops. Many were killed or died in the holds of the ship, as water gushed in and debris crashed on top of them. Some – like the Scottish-born Anzac Private James Paterson of the 2/28th Battalion - jumped from the ship and tried to make their way to safety on makeshift rafts. Tragically, James died of exhaustion after days adrift in the Mediterranean.
Sergeant Robert Patterson's grave at Phaleron in Athens. Photo Jim Claven 2016.
Yet the Nino Bixio did not sink and was eventually towed into Pylos harbour by an Italian warship. Here Bill came ashore with the other survivors. The dead were buried in the local Greek Orthodox Cemetery, re-buried after the war at Phaleron Cemetery near Athens. The sole Australian amongst the dead re-buried at Phaleron was Sydney-born Sergeant Robert John Patterson of the 2/32nd Battalion. Those missing would be commemorated at the El Alamein Memorial in Egypt.
The Sebastiano Veniero-Jason crashes into Methone, 1941.
A similar story of death and survival had occurred with the Sebastiano Veniero-Jason off Cape Methone on the 9th December 1941, where over 500 were killed out of a total 2,100 Allied prisoners aboard the ship. Locals at Methone also assisted in the collection and temporary burial of the bodies of Allied soldiers washed ashore.
Until this time there has been no memorial dedicated to commemorating these tragedies.
Acknowledgements
The Nino Bixio and Sebastiano Veniero-Jason Memorials will be installed by the Municipality of Pylos-Nestor, with the support of the Pammessian Brotherhood ‘Papaflessas’ (Melbourne and Victoria), the Panpyliaki Brotherhood ‘Navarino’ (Melbourne and Victoria), Veteran Bill Rudd. It has been my own personal honor to have drafted the memorials themselves.
The memorials were made in Australia and transported to the Municipality of Pylos-Nestor, who will install the memorial plaques on 6th May 2018
I would like to acknowledge the work of George Iliopoulos, Paul Sougleris, George Saratsiotis, RitaLambros, Ioannis Mitsakos and Betty Kosmas in bringing the dream of our veteran Bill Rudd to a reality.
Greece's New Anzac Trail
These memorials are another step in the formation of Greece's Anzac trail - stretching from Lemnos in 1915, through Thessaloniki and northern Macedonia in 1915-1918, and down through the Greek mainland and across the Greek Islands in WW2. This will identify and commemorate the key locations connected to the Anzac's and their service in Greece, celebrating this important bond of friendship between Greece and Australia.

Jim Claven
Member WW2 Pylos and Methone Memorials Organising Committee
Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
Member, Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council

Friday, 30 March 2018

You are Invited - Commemorative Events in Greece - April-May 2018

Greek Campaign veteran Frank Gill's daughter (speaking) with British veterans of the Greek campaign at the Battle of Kalamata commemorative service, 2016. Photo Jim Claven 2016

We have been advised of the following commemorative events to be held in Greece across April and May 2018.
Lemnos
The annual commemorative service held on Lemnos will be held on 20th April 2018. This years events will centre on the Mudros area on the eastern side of Mudros Bay.
We are glad to announce that a feature of this years program will be the unveiling of a new memorial on Lemnos at the site of the Australian Pier, erected by Australian soldiers in March 1915. This new memorial has been a major project of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, and now with the support of the Victorian Government and the Regional and Municipal authorities on Lemnos, this important marker from Lemnos' role in the Gallipoli campaign will now be recognised.
A big thank you to our Vice-President, Ms Christina Despoteris, for all her work in liaising with the authorities on Lemnos both on our Australian Pier project and our Committee's participation in the commemorative events on Lemnos.
For more information on the history and significance of the Australian Pier, please read my article in The Gallipolian magazine by clicking here.
The program of events can be read by clicking here.
Commemorative service at East Mudros Military Cemetery, 2015. Photo Jim Claven 2015



Athens
The annual Anzac Day commemorative service will take place at 11am on 25th April 2018 at Phaleron Military Cemetery in Athens. All welcome to attend this event. As more information becomes available we will update this post.
Anzac Day service at Phaleron Cemetery, 2015. Photo Jim Claven 2015

Pylos-Methone
A commemorative event is scheduled to take place at Pylos on 6th May, commencing at 1pm, followed on the same day with an event at Methone. These events will comprise the unveiling of a new plaque at each location in commemoration of the Nino Bixio (Pylos) and Sebastiano Veniero-Jason (Methone) tragedies of WW2. These plaques have been produced in Australia (pictured below) - funded by veteran Bill Rudd, the Melbourne-based Papaflessas and Navarino communities - and will be installed by the Municipality of Pylos-Nestor at Pylos and Methone respectively.
The Municipality of Pylos-Nestor is organising this event. A big thank you to all involved - in Australia and Greece - in bringing this project to a reality. Further details on these events will be posted when available.
The Pylos and Methone Plaques at their unveiling in Oakliegh, Melbourne, December 2017, in the presence of the Australian veteran and survivor of the Nino Bixio tragedy, Mr Bill Rudd (second from left). Photo Jim Claven 2017

The Nino Bixio Tragedy Memorial to be installed at Pylos. Photo Jim Claven 2017

The Sebastiano Veniero-Jason Tragedy Memorial to be installed at Methone. Photo Jim Claven 2017

Kalamata
The annual commemoration of the Greek campaign of 1941 will take place at the Battle of Kalamata Memorial in Kalamata on the 8th May 2018, commencing at 11am. The service will be conducted at the Memorial in the Railway Park, Kalamata.This will include a wreath-laying service. Contact the Municipality of Kalamata if you would like more information. Further details on this event will be posted when available.
Battle of Kalamata Memorial, Kalamata. Photo Brotherhood of Veterans of the Greek Campaign (UK)

Crete
There will be a number of commemorative events held on Crete in May, as there is each year.
Below is a program of events recently posted by Hotel Mike (Maleme, Crete) with details yet to confirmed. It is provided only as an indication as to what might be in the program.
The Commemorations should be from Wednesday the 16th of May until Sunday 20th of May 2018. Details could be the following:
  • Wednesday 16th May 2018 - 18:30 Monument of Nea Chora (small Harbor at Chania) (hasn't official confirmed yet.
  • Thursday 17th May 2018 - 11:00 5th Cretan Division at Kolimbari. (hasn't official confirmed yet).
  • Friday 18th May 2018 - 10:00 in the morning Firkas Fortress Flag Raising by Maritime Museum (hasn't official confirmed yet); 13:30 Memorial New Zealand - Australian ANZAC at 42nd Tsikaliaria St (hasn't official confirmed yet); 18:00 Galatas Hill Greek - New Zealand Memorial. (hasn't official confirmed yet).
  • Saturday 19th May 2018 - 11:00 Ceremony at Alikianos - Keritis Monument (hasn't official confirmed yet); 11:00 R.A.F Memorial at Maleme , Crete Veterans Wreath Laying. (hasn't official confirmed yet); 15:00 Welch Memorial , at Galatas, Crete Veterans Wrath Laying (hasn't official confirmed yet); 8:00 Souda Bay CWGC Ceremony (memorial service, laying of wreaths) hasn't official confirmed yet).
  • Sunday 20th May 2018 - 11:00 Doxology at Metropolitan Church in Chania. (hasn't official confirmed yet); 3:00 Ceremony at the German War Cemetery , at Maleme. (hasn't official confirmed yet); 18:30 Closing Ceremony at Maleme Airfield - Battle of Crete monument - , Air Show by the F-16 Demo Team ' Zeus ' (hasn't official confirmed yet).
When we have confirmation of the program we will update this post.

Jim Claven
Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
Member, Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council

Disclaimer
These details are provided for your information. While they are correct at the time of posting to the best of our knowledge, this information is subject to change and you are advised to check yourself with the relevant authorities to confirm any travel arrangements you.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Discovering Lemnos' Australian Pier - The Gallipolian Magazine

The new edition of the The Gallipolian, the magazine of the UK-based Gallipoli Association, has published my article on our discovery of the Australian Pier on Lemnos. With the support of the Victorian Government and Municipal and Regional authorities on Lemnos, we will be erecting a commemorative plaque at the pier this year.
You can view or download the journal by clicking here.


If you would like to join the UK-based Gallipoli Association, please contact the Membership Secretary - membershipsecretary@gallipoli-association.org


Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Greek Amabassador to Australia and Melbourne Consul-General Visit the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial - 25 March 2018


It was a very special day for the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee (LGCC) as Her Excellency the Greek Ambassador to Australia Ekaterini Xagorari and the Consul-General of Greece in Melbourne Dimitrios Michalopoulos visited the Lemnos Memorial at Lemnos Square. Cr Marcus Pearl representing the City of Port Phillip was also in attendance.
It is significant that the visit coincided with the Greek National Day and Cultural Diversity Week.
The Ambassador and Consul-General laid a wreath in memory of those fallen.

Cr Pearl welcomed quests to the City of Port Phillip, Lee Tarlamis President of LGCC spoke about the creation, location and meaning of the Memorial and Christina Despoteris Vice President outlined the Committee's work and its future projects.

Nikolaos Kydas Vice President of the Lemnos Community of Melbourne also addressed the audience. Other members of the LGCC who attended: Ange T Kenos, Angelo Yannacaros and Arlene Bennett.

Christine Despoteris
Vice-President
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Victorian Parliamentary Gardens Greek Anzac Plaque - RSL Vic Mufti Article


Photo Jim Claven 2017

The latest edition of the RSL Vic member journal - Mufti - includes an article by Tony Tsourdalakis on last years unveiling of the commemorative plaque and olive tree planting in the gardens of the Victorian Parliament.
The plaque commemorates the Hellenic link to Anzac across both world wars, as well as the link between Australia and Greece through the waves of post-war migration.
The plaque and tree was organised jointly by our Committee and the Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council - just one example of what we can both achieve by working together.
You can read and download the article by clicking here.

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee


Photo Jim Claven 2017