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

Monday, 14 January 2019

Dunkeld and Lemnos ... Another Lemnos connection in Victoria

Dunkeld War Memorial, Victoria. Photo Lee Tarlamis 2019

Recently our President, Lee Tarlamis OAM, made a visit to the central Victorian country town of Dunkeld.
At Dunkeld Lee came across its War Memorial and special dedication to Australia's WW1 submarine, the AE2. the AE2 is famous for having been the first Allied naval vessel to have breached the Turkish defences at the narrows in the Dardanelles. After an engagement, the submarine was scuttled to ensure it didn't fall into enemy hands and the crew went into captivity for the rest of the war.
Dunkeld War Memorial detail. Photo Lee Tarlamis 2019
One of those crew members was Stoker Michael Williams, born in Dunkeld in 1894.
What is not so well known is that the AE2 has a strong connection to Lemnos.
Firstly, the submarine sailed in one of the convoys which would ultimately bring the Australian troops to Lemnos.
Secondly, the submarine itself came to Lemnos prior to the landings on 25th April, and no doubt its crew looked out on the Island and the villages across its shores.
And finally, the submarine would sail from the port of Mudros on its journey to the Dardanelles that would see it pass the narrows.
It is also true that those crew members who survived Turkish captivity - sadly not Michael - would be released following the signing of the Armistice of Mudros at Lemnos in October 1918.
This demonstrates again the Hellenic link to Anzac, connecting local Australian communities and their Anzac history to the Greek Island of Lemnos.
Below are some of the photos taken by Lee of the Dunkeld Memorial.

Jim Claven
Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

The Day Australian Nurses met the Commander of Allied Fleet at Gallipoli

HMS Nelson during the Gallipoli Campaign, 1915-16. Photo IWM
Sailors from the Lord Nelson on Lemnos, 1915. Photo IWM
During their over five months service on Lemnos' turks Head Peninsula the Australian nurses of the 3rd Australian General Hospital (3rd AGH) had had to endured summer heat and winter storms in their tents on the exposed peninsula. And they had treated thousands of wounded and sick Allied soldiers from the Gallipoli trenches and battles.
Staff Nurse Lucy Daw (second from left), rugged up against the winter cold at the 3rd AGH, Turks Head Peninsula, Lemnos. Photo Albert Savage, SLNSW
On a few occasions the nurses were able to enjoy a few hours respite aboard some of the great warships that came to Lemnos' great Mudros Bay during the campaign. Invited by the naval officers, they would enioy afternoon tea or dinner, sometimes with a musical concert. And most importantly an improvement on their rations at Lemnos!
We know about one of the most important of these occasions due to the surviving diary of one of those nurses - South Australian Staff Nurse Lucy Daw - who served with the 3rd AGH on Lemnos throughout the campaign, keeping a detailed and very informative diary of her experiences of Lemnos and the Gallipoili campaign. Historians are extremely indebted to Lucy for her diligence in keeping this diary as it contains many unique references to many events and experiences on Lemnos.
And so Lucy recorded the day she enjoyed a few hours respite on the HMS Lord Nelson, the flagship of the Allied Dardanelles Naval Squardon.
The afternoon tea took place on Sunday 5th December 1915, Lucy having been invited aboard along with twelve other nurses from the 3rd AGH.
Rear-Admiral Wester-Wemyss, photographed in 1918. Photo National Portrait Gallery (UK)
They were the guests of Rear-Admiral Rosslyn Wester-Wemyss, the former Military Governor at Mudros, who had recently assumed command of the Squadron following Vice-Admiral John de Roebeck’s return to England on Leave.
Lucy noted the Vice-Admiral’s monocle and wrote in her diary that he “was a Typical Englishman, they make very fine hosts.” They all enjoyed “a very nice” afternoon tea.
This is just one of such occasions where the Australian nurses enjoyed a respite from their work. And one of the only references to the event.

Thanks to Gil Daw for providing me with a copy of Lucy Daw's war diary.

Jim Claven
Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Medical Officers on Lemnos - An Albert Savage Photograph Identified

It is always nice to find a photograph of the soldiers and nurses one is researching for the role of Lemnos in the Gallipoli Campaign. This photo is one taken by the 3rd AGH's resident photograph Sergeant Albert Savage, one of many he took during the Gallipoli campaign and after, depicting the life of the hospital during the First World War.
Who were these medical officers?Thanks to a post on the National Archives of Australia website the medical staff in the photograph can be identified - with many if not all of them having served on Lemnos in 1915-16.
The photograph was published in an Australian newspaper - probably the Sydney Mail which published many of Albert's photographs. The title for the newspaper clipping lists the medical officers as follows:
“Medical Staff of the 3rd AGH Abbassia.” This was subsequently published in the Australian press (possibly the Sydney Mail) with the following title: “Officers of the 3rd AGH at Abbassia, Egypt. The hospital was formerly at Lemnos, but after the evacuation of Gallipoli it was removed to Abbassia. No. 1 and No. 2 hospitals are in France. Back row (left to right): Captain Lawton (Melbourne), Captain Mathews (Sydney), Capain Kellaway (Melbourne), Captain Eberle, Lieut Glen, Captain Macleod, Liuet Hill (NSW), Captain Lowe (Sydney), Captain Anderson (Western Australia). Second Row: Liuet. Marshall (Sydney) Major Reid (Sydney), Captain Steuart (Melbourne), Major Stewart, Major Morton (Sydney), Major Wassell, Lieut Hazlitt (Sydney), Captain Markham. Bottom Row: Major Gibson (Brisbane), Lieut.-Colonel Martin (of the Lister Instutute, London, and formerly of Sydney University), Liuet.- Colonel Stawell (Melbourne), Colonel Newmarch GMG OC (Sydney), Lieut.-Colonel Mcknight, Major Trethowan (Western Australia),Major Smith (Sydney).”
Along with the other medical staff at the 3rd AGH, many of these officers played an important and vital role in providing medical care on Lemnos under first Colonel Fiaschi and then Colonel de Crespigny - such as Major Stewart, Major Morton, Major Gibson, Major Trethowan and Lieutenant-Colonel Stawell - amongst others.
One of these officers - Captain Anderson - photographed his time on Lemnos, his archive is now in the State Library of Victoria.
Thanks to "blacksmith" for posting the image of the newspaper article on the NAA website.

Jim Claven
Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee 

Monday, 31 December 2018

Happy New Year - from Lemnos 1915!

As the old year draws to an end and while we all begin to celebrate the coming of the new year, think of the soldiers and nurses on Lemnos in December 1915 as they prepared to celebrate their New Year on this lovely northern Aegean Island!
The troops had been evacuated from Gallipoli and were resting in Lemnos' rest camps, meanwhile the medical staff - including over 100 Australian nurses - were caring for the sick and wounded in the field hospitals that dotted Mudros Bay. And we know that they celebrated New Year in style from the writings of the diggers and nurses left to us.
The weather was fine and camp concerts were held, with songs and speeches. Eyewitness accounts tell that on the stroke of midnight the sirens of the ships anchored in the Bay began to sound, bands played and crowds of soldiers joined in banging tins to "make a great noise.” Rockets were fired into the sky, lighting up the whole place. And then the “fun begins” as Lance Corporal Albert Coates wrote, with drunken diggers pulling down their tents!
Sister Anne Donnell of the 3rd AGH wrote of having a merry time, clasping the hands with others and singing that old Scots favourite “Should Old Acquaintance” (written by Robert Burns) and wishing that the war would soon be over.
But best of all is the coming together of these young Australians and their Hellenic hosts.
One Western Australian digger recuperating at the medical facilities on the Turks Head Peninsula spent New Year’s Day enjoying the hospitality and dancing at an unnamed nearby village, possibly Portianos.
He wrote home of the great hospitality and hearty welcome he received in the homes of locals, who opened their homes for the celebration. William wrote that "lift the latch and walk in’ appeared to the order of the day.” He describes the local village square, cobbled with a single tree, being taken over by villagers taking celebration with “their national dance.” With words recognisable to anyone familiar with Greek traditional dancing, William writes of the dancers linking up “per medium of hand-kerchiefs” and rotating three shuffles forward and two back, all to the music of a “three stringed violin in the hands of an ancient minstrel."
On behalf of all in our Committee, we wish all our friends and supporters a Happy New Year and looking forward to working with you all again in 2019!
Jim Claven
Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

HMS Waterwitch, Lemnos and Constantinople

Halas 71 (formerly HMS Waterwitch) on Bosphorus. Photo Akasiayachting
While the waters of Lemnos' Mudros Bay was deep enough to accommodate the anchorage of a large warships and luxury liners converted into hospital ships, the approaches to her shoreline were shallow.
During the months of the Gallipoli campaign, with thousands of troops coming and going, they were ferried ashore by smaller vessels with a small draft. Some of these were motorised lighters, like large barges. Others were converted trawlers or despatch vessels. One of these was the HMS Waterwitch.

HMS Waterwitch loading Allied troops during WW1
A British Royal Navy ship, the HMS Waterwitchhad been built at the Fairfeild shipyards in Glasgow (my home town), originally intended for delivery to the Ottoman Navy. The outbreak of the First World War saw her commandeered by the Royal Navy as a despatch vessel.
HMS Waterwitch during WW1
With the commencement of the Gallipoli campaign - and the need for such vessels as short journey troop transport vessels in the waters of Lemnos - the HMS Waterwitchsaw service during the campaign. Her work is revealed in the many diaries, letters and memoirs that were made by the veterans of this campaign.
One of those was Lance Corporal William Dalton Lycett of the 4th Australian Field Ambulance. Born in England, William was living in Flemington (Melbourne) when he enlisted in the AIF. In mid-September, he wrote of his journey on the HMS Waterwitch in Mudros Bay, as it transferred men recently brought from Anzac Cove by the transport Osmanieh. They had arrived at Mudros Bay at 11.30 am on Wednesday 16th September 1915. William wrote in his diary on 16th September:

"A river steamer the Waterwitch came alongside and took off all troops except those to unload stores. I was left behind to help unload our stores and panniers. Waterwitch alongside again about 8 p.m. when we put all stores aboard her and went alongside wharf."

Having to stay aboard the HMS Waterwitch overnight, William described his experience in his diary entry for the following day:

"Slept on Waterwitch all night uncomfortable on a seat. Up at 5 a.m. and commenced unloading on to wharf."

The HMS Waterwitch would see service during the Salonika campaign and would be taken to Constantinople and serve their as part of the Allied Occupation forces until 1923. The HMS Waterwitchwas then handed over to Turkey, where she worked the Bosphorus as a ferry until she was converted into a luxury charter yacht in 1986.  Her name is now Halas 71 and she operates from Istanbul and Fethiye.
Halas 71 (formerly HMS Waterwitch) on Bosphorus. Photo Bernard Gallay
The old HMS Waterwitch- built before the First world War - is still sailing, on the Bosphorus. They certainly made their boats solid in those days!
She is one of the very few Gallipoli era vessels still in service around the world.
So next time you are in Istanbul, look out for the HMS Waterwitch. You might even match to get a journey aboard her.

Information sources include from the Gallipoli Association, Charter World,
akasiayachting and AnzacsOnline webpages.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Friday, 14 December 2018

Vale Nikos Kambouris

Many members will be aware of the recent sad passing of Nikos Kambouris.
Nikos was a great supporter of our work, an early contributor to our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial project and gave great assistance to us on Lemnos itself.
In the early days of our Committee Nikos helped our executive in contacting the authorities on Lemnos and encouraging them to further promote their annual commemorations.
He represented our Committee at some of the events on the Island, laying wreaths for the Committee, when we couldn't make it. And if he was unavailable Nikos could always recommend and organise someone else to help us.
Our President, Lee Tarlamis, can never forget the invaluable help Nikos gave him during his first time visit to Lemnos. He organised a meeting for Lee with the Mayor and an interview on the radio on Lemnos. He took Lee around the Island introducing him to people and showing Lee some of its amazing sights.
It was never any trouble for Nikos.

He also assisted me in my historical field research on Lemnos, helping me in identifying some of the locations visited by the ANZACs in 1915, including his own beautiful horio or village of Romanou. I am personally sad that he will not see the images of his village taken by an unknown digger during a visit in 1915 being brought to a wider audience through the publication of our Lemnos and Gallipoli Revealed publication early next year.

Many will also remember his generosity and friendship. I personally will always remember Nikos and Sophia's hospitality on Lemnos - whether sitting in the local kafenio as I did with Nikos, Bill Georgandis and Chris Mingos one day - or having lunch at their lovely home in Romanou.

Nikos and Sophia were able to join us all in the centenary of Anzac commemorations on Lemnos in April 2015, joining us all at the wreath-laying events and on the HMAS Success in Mudros Bay. He was a great help to our Executive representatives who took part in these important commemorations - myself, Lee Tarlamis and Christina Despoteris, our Vice-President.
Nikos was also an active supporter of the Lemnian Community in Victoria, as well as the RSL Victoria's Hellenic Sub-Branch. Many of us will remember his regular participation in the annual commemorations of the Gallipoli campaign on Lemnos in April - laying a wreath on behalf of the Hellenic Sub-Branch.
Our thoughts are with Sophie and family at this time.
Vale Nikos.
Jim Claven, Secretary
on behalf of the Committee

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Enjoying Christmas on Lemnos in 1915 - With a Port Melbourne Christmas Pudding!

One of the memorable and enjoyable events that occurred on Lemnos in 1915 for the thousands of Anzacs and other Allied soldiers who came there after being evacuated from the Peninsula at the end of the Gallipoli campaign was the celebration of Christmas.
Debilitated and tired after months in the Peninsula's trenches, taking part in murderous battles, suffering shelling and subject to rampant diseases, Christmas on Lemnos brought a well deserved return to a small part of normality to the soldiers.
On Christmas Eve many soldiers received two gifts donated by thoughtful Australians - the famed Christmas Billies, filled with various goodies from home - and a Christmas Pudding between each groups of two diggers.
My research into the Lemnos and the Gallipoli campaign has revealed the origin of these Christmas Puddings - the famous Swallow and Ariell Biscuit Factory in Port Melbourne!
A Port Melbourne Pudding for a Port Melbourne Digger
I was recently reading about one digger, Captain Goeorge Furner Langley of the 21st Battalion. A high school teacher before the war, 24 year old George had been born in Port Melbourne, his parents living in Bay Street.
He sailed from Australia on the troopship Ulysses - named after Homer's great warrior and wanderer - as part of the Second Convoy. His ship departed from Port Melbourne in December 1914. I would think that his parents would have been in the enthusiastic crowd that waved them off from the pier.
George would survive injury in the torpedoing attack on the troopship Southland in the waters off Lemnos in September 1915 as they for Lemnos and Gallipoli.
After the evacuation of the Peninsula, George returned with his unit to Lemnos and its great Anzac Rest Camp near the village of Sarpi on the western shores of Mudros Bay.
It was here that George and his comrades enjoyed the arrival of their Christmas Billies and Christmas Puddings - like little children with Christmas stockings he later wrote home.
Australian soldiers enjoying Christmas on Lemnos, 1915. AWM
The distinctive Christmas Billie Tin. AWM
Port Melbourne's Swallow and Ariell Biscuit Factory Comes to the Rescue
It was in one of his letters home that I discovered his reference to the source of the puddings, made by the famous Swallow and Ariell Biscuit Factory in Port Melbourne. Each pudding was donated by an individual, a card with their name accompanying each pudding. George wrote that he and his men wrote back to each of these donors to thank them for their gift.
He also writes that the men received a parcel of shirts and handkerchiefs, a gift from the factory's Working Bee. He also wrote a letter thanking a Miss Holmes, the Secretary of the Working Bee.
Christmas Day was enjoyed on Lemnos, with concerts, church parades and dinners, with music from military bands and the singing of carols and other songs by the soldiers well into the night.

Swallow and Ariell Biscuit Factory
The Swallow and Ariell Biscuit Factory was the first biscuit company to be established in Australia. Founded by Englishman Thomas Swallow in 1854 and located in Port Melbourne, the factory would grow to be the fifth largest biscuit company in the world.
Some of its famous brands were Marie Biscuits, Uneeda and many more. The company also sourced fruit and vegetables from Mildura, Mooroopna, Kyabram and Wandin in country Victoria, and sugar from Queensland. The factory building was located within the boundary of Rouse, Stokes, Beach and Princes Streets Port Melbourne. The company was taken over by the Australian Biscuit Company in 1964 and later Arnotts. The factory where George Langley's Christmas Pudding was made is no more but the building remains, converted for residential use.

Lemnos and Port Phillip
This is just another little known connection between the Port Phillip area and Lemnos. Many soldiers and two nurses from the area enlisted and served on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign. Now we know that the puddings a received by the weary diggers on Lemnos were made by the workers of Port Phillip.
this only reinforces the importance of the location of our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial at Lemnos Square in nearby Albert Park - not far from Bay Street Port Melbourne were George Langley grew up.
Enjoy your Christmas Pudding and think of Lemnos
So this Christmas if you sit down and enjoy some Christmas Pudding and custard, think of the workers of the Swallow and Ariell Biscuit Factory in Port Melbourne making the puddings for the diggers on Lemnos - and the enjoyment of the same diggers as they enjoyed them on Christmas Eve, on the shores of Mudros Bay, Lemnos.
More Information
For more information on George Langley see Alan Gregory (ed.), Langley’s Letters, Langley, Courtis, Thompson Library Trust, April 2015. For information on the Swallow and Ariell Biscuit Factory see the following websites:
Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society
Trust Advocate; 
Thomas Swallow - ADB

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee