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, 26 May 2014

Australian nurses on Lemnos - with Lemnian donkeys and their owner!

Look at this wonderful photograph taken in 1915 of Australian nurses enjoying a donkey ride on Lemnos!
These are nurses from the 3rd Australian General Hospital.
Knowing as we do the traumas faced by these young nurses, and the ever present guns of war on the Gallipoli peninsula nearby - isn't it lovely to think that they - and some of the recuperating soldiers - were able to enjoy some relaxation on Lemnos.
And its just more evidence of the interaction between these young Australians and the Lemnian Islanders all those years ago.
The Australian war Memorial archive is full of these gems - lets make sure more people are aware of this great archive demonstrating Lemnos' role in the ensuring link between Greece and Australia goes.

Thanks to Faye Threlfall for finding this photograph.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Vale James Zampelis - Honouring the sole Anzac of Greek heritage buried in Greece

Gunner James Zampelis. AWN
The arrival of the first Australian soldiers and nurses in Greece on Lemnos in 1915 was the beginning of the strong connection between Australian soldiers and nurses and Greece that would grow with the years.
Less than 30 years later, Australian soldiers and nurses - along with their New Zealand and British allies - would return to Greece to defend it against an aggressive invader.
So it was in 1941 that Gunner James Zampelis - from Melbourne's St Kilda and whose family traced their origins to Lefkada - along with his comrades followed in the footsteps of those first Anzacs on Lemnos.
James and his unit fought in some of the toughest battles in the Middle East and Greece - taking part in the successful assault on the well-defended Italian base of Bardia in Libya, and then the fighting withdrawal through central Greece, including the famous defence of Brallos Pass and then the battle of Crete.
James is the only Anzac of Greek background (his father was born in Greece) who not only fought in the defence of Greece and Crete in 1941 but sadly was killed in action and is buried on Crete. He is memorialised at the Phaleron War Cemetery in Athens.
He was buried by his comrades near where he fell at the village of Mournies, south of Suda. But this grave could not be located after the war. So his name alone is memorialised at Phaleron.
Modern techniques might help identify his grave and remains.
It would be a fitting commemoration of James' service an sacrifice if his remains could be located and re-interred at either Phaleron in Athens or at the Suda War Cemetery on Crete.
Neos Kosmos Article - Vale James Zampelis
As part of its feature on the anniversary of the Battle of Crete, Neos Kosmos featured my article on James Zampelis and his war this weekend.
To link to the article on the Neos Kosmos webpage, click here.
Alternatively, you can read my scan of the pages by click here - for page 1 and for page 2.

Lest we forget.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
Australian troops evacuated from Greece arrive at Crete's Suda Bay. AWM
Suda Bay harbour under attack from German bombers, May 1941. AWM
the commemoration of James Dimitri Zampelis on the memorial walls at Phaleron War Cemetery, Athens. Photo Jim Claven 2014.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Those we forget - Australia's WW1 casualties higher says new book

The official Australian casualty statistics suffered by the men of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF)  in the First World War are seriously wrong, with significant inaccuracies and omissions, this new book argues.
Groundbreaking research exhaustively examining over 12,000 individual soldiers' records has revealed that hospitalizations for wounding, illness and injury suffered by men of the AIF are five times greater than officially acknowledged today.

As a proportion of its fighting force of men who were actually exposed to a theatre of war, Australia’s army suffered more deaths, more hospitalizations for wounding and more hospitalizations for illness and injury than the armies of Britain, Germany, France, Canada or the United States. Winning this war came at too high a cost for this young nation; for Australia, the First World War was indeed a pyrrhic victory.

But it does not finish there.
Of those Australian soldiers who survived, more than half of them were discharged medically unfit. Of those who were not discharged medically unfit, 60 per cent of them applied for pension help in the post war period; so four out of five servicemen survivors were damaged or disabled in some way. Of those who did not survive, it is now estimated that 62,300 died (+/- 400), approximately 550 by their own hand, mainly in 1919 and 1920, and a further 8000 men would die a premature death due to war-related causes in the post war years.
As we approach the Centenary of Anzac in 2015 it is important that re-assessments such as this are made. It brings us all closer to a fuller and proper appreciate of the reality of the suffering caused by the First world War - both on the battlefield and afterwards.
This new book is by David Noonan, its title is Those we Forget and it is published by Melbourne University Press. It costs $60. 
For The Age's article on this new book, click here.
To order the book, click here. 
The official Australian casualty statistics suffered by the men of the Australian Imperial Force in the First World War are seriously wrong, with significant inaccuracies and omissions.
Groundbreaking research exhaustively examining over 12,000 individual soldiers' records has revealed that hospitalisations for wounding, illness and injury suffered by men of the AIF are five times greater than officially acknowledged today. - See more at:
The official Australian casualty statistics suffered by the men of the Australian Imperial Force in the First World War are seriously wrong, with significant inaccuracies and omissions.
Groundbreaking research exhaustively examining over 12,000 individual soldiers' records has revealed that hospitalisations for wounding, illness and injury suffered by men of the AIF are five times greater than officially acknowledged today. - See more at:

Friday, 16 May 2014

Jacka VC Legend of Gallipoli - The Musical - Previews May 16

During the Great War all Australians knew his name - Jacka V.C.
Now, a century on, his EPIC story comes to the stage - Jacka V.C. Legend of Gallipoli, A New Musical.
Written by William James Smith, with the libretto based on the original novel “Hard Jacka” by Michael Lawriwsky as adapted by William James Smith
A cast of great singers will bring great men of yesteryear back to life.It was staged tonight at an exclusive preview at Northcote Uniting Church (Chalice) at 251 High St on Friday 16 May, 8pm.Starring: William James Smith in role of Jacka, Blake Testro, James Cutler, Lydia Kovesi, Mitch Roberts, Alice Bottomley, Will Sayers, Amy Cumming. Violin: Zachary Johnston Piano: Amanda Kepert
Directed by William James Smith.
Michael Lawrinsky reported that tonight's preview was well attended.
Look out for this new musical when it starts its run.
The Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee wishes the musical all success. Hard Jacka, Lemnos and St Kilda
Michael Lawrinsky's historical novel makes great mention of Jacka's comrade Ernie Hill and his fight to name the soldier settlement near Shepparton after Lemnos, the base for the Anzacs at Gallipoli. Members of the Committee will now that Jacka spent time on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign, visiting the Island on a number of occasions. He went on to be a future Mayor of St Kilda on his return to Australia.
For more information on Albert Jacka and his connection to Lemnos, click here.
It is one of the reasons why the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee fundraiser on 28 June will be held at Jacka's old Town Hall in St Kilda! For more information on this function click here.

Albert Jacka VC on Lemnos, 1915. AWM
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Thursday, 15 May 2014

New BBC drama - WW1 nurses - The Crimson Field

Various images from the series set. BBC
Great new BBC drama series on nurses serving on the Western Front in the First World War. Hopefully it will be shown in Australia.
To read about the series and the meticulous research that they went in to, click here to read the blog by the production designer.

New BBC documentary - I was there - The Great War Interviews

The BBC The Great War series conduct interviews with veterans, 1960's.

In the early 1960s, the BBC interviewed 280 eyewitnesses of the First World War for the series, The Great War. Using never-before-seen footage from these interviews, this film illuminates the poignant human experience of the war, through the eyes of those who survived it. 
One of these veterans is an Australian. Wouldn't it have been great if Australian documentary makers had thought of interviewing Australian veterans then alive.
Cecil Arthur Lewis - in 1914 and in the 1960's
Cecil Lewis is interviewed as part of this documentary. He became a famous war veteran who often publicly recalled his experiences. He was one of the founding members of the BBC and had a long and celebrated career as a writer, notably of the aviation classic Sagittarius Rising. At the 1938 Academy Awards, he won an Oscar along with George Bernard Shaw and two others for their screen adaptation of Pygmalion.

The Director, Detlef Siebert, wrote about why he made the series:
More than two years ago, I learned that the Imperial War Museum still had the original interview rushes of The Great War series from 1964, which the BBC had produced in partnership with IWM.
I was intrigued. Having worked on a few similar history series myself – such as Laurence Rees’s The Nazis or Auschwitz  – I knew that only a tiny fraction of the recorded interviews would have made it to air.I reckoned many strong and insightful testimonies must have ended on the cutting room floor because they didn’t fit into the series’ narrative or because they were simply too long.
IWM had digital audio files of the interviews and I went through all 280 recordings (more than 50 hours) looking for testimonies about the human experience of the war.
I didn’t want to make I Was There: The Great War Interviews about the military or political history of the war. I wanted to make a film about individual responses to extreme situations.
For more of this interview, click  here.
 To watch this great new documentary click here.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Lemnos Gallipoli Gala Dinner 28 June - You're Invited

Make sure that you don't miss important event. A great opportubity to have a good time and help raise funds for a good cause - remembering Lemnos and the Anzacs.
This will be the event of the year for all those in Melbourne concerned to ensure that Lemnos' vital role in Australia's Anzac story is not forgotten.
Contact Major Terry Kanelos or Mr Steve Kyritsis at the RSL Hellenic Sub Branch on the phone numbers listed above.
Book your tickets early - book a table of 10 - as you may miss out and be disappointed!
Thanks to the RSL Hellenic Sub Branch and our own Committee members for putting this wonderful event together.
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Lemnos' Gallipoli connection will boost tourism to Greece - Herald Sun

Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni addresses the HACCI forum in Melbourne, 13 May 2012. Photo:

During here visit to Melbourne, the Tourism Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Ms Olga Kefalogianni, has been talking up the opportunity for Greece and Australia to come together in the Centenary of Anzac in 2015.
She was in Melbourne to meet representatives of the Greek diaspora, attend a special HACCI business forum, meet tourism industry representatives and the announcement of the forthcoming link between the famous Benaki Museum in Athens and Melbourne's Hellenic Museum.
Thanks to Vicky Kyriakopoulos and John Pandazopoulos for promoting the opportunities for tourism between Greece and Australia, especially as we approach 2015.

If you would like to read the full article by John Masanauskas in the Herald Sun, please click here.
If you would like to read the report in the Greek Reporter website, click here.
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Albert Kahn Colour Photographs of Greece - 1913

While this may not be of Lemnos, we would like to share the experience of seeing the amazing colour photogrpahs of Greece in the Albert Kahn Collection in Paris.
450 Australian soldiers and nurses served in the Salonika campaign from 1915 until the end of the war. These included the famous Australian feminist and author, Myles Franklin, and the famous Australian soldier, Ned Herring, who served as an artillery officer in the campaign and would return to northern Greece in 1941 to fight with the Anzac's alongside the Greek Army resisting the Germany invasion. 5 Australians remain buried across northern Greece, one of these being Sister Gertrude Munro from Ballarat, who lies buried in Mikra Military Cemetery, Thessaloniki.
British hospital at Hortiach, near Thessaloniki, where Sister Munro and other Australian nurses served. AWM
You can watch a youtube video containing an excerpt of the BBC documentary on this amazing collection by clicking here.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Matron Grace Wilson comes to St Kilda Town Hall ... 1934

The strong connection between Lemnos, the Anzacs and the City of Port Philip has recieved an added boost with a great discovery from the the archives of Port Phillip City Council.
In August 1934 the forerunner of Port Philip City Council, St Kilda City Council, invited Matron Grace Wilson to a special function to honour the contribution of women who enlisted for active service in the First World War and who were resident in the City.
Matron Wilson was a guest of honour, along with Sister Norah Lehman.
Sister Lehman had served in Egypt and with the 2nd Australian General Hospital in France, being mentioned in dispatches for her gallantry in the field.
Clearly, the citizens of St Kilda had not forgotten the important contribution of Australia's nurses, as well as those from the local area.
And how fitting to invite Matron Wilson, the former Matron of the 3rd Australian General Hospital on Lemnos, arriving on the Island some 19 years before in August 1915. Matron Wilson returned to Australia and became the Matron of the Alfred Hospital.
Yet another good reason to locate our proposed memorial statue in the City of Port Philip.
Thanks to Sandra Khazam, Cultural Heritage Officer at Port Philip City Council, for bringing this important piece of local history to light. Well done.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Commonwealth War Graves Newsletter - Marks Gallipoli but no Lemnos!

East Mudros Military Cemetary. Lemnos. Photo Jim Claven. 2013

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has issued its latest newsletter.
A key feature of the leaflet is a special new publication commemorating the Gallipoli campaign and the commemorative sites associated with it. You can  view the publication by clicking here.
While the leaflet is information and welcome, sadly it ignores the role of Lemnos, its three military cemeteries and the over 2,000 soldiers and nurses who served at Gallipoli .
This is yet another terrible oversight. and this by the official Commonwealth organisation whicg looks after and promotes remembrance of our Anzac heritage. It is a body funded by the whole Commonwealth, including Australia and New Zealand.
The Hon John Pandazopoulos MP has already emailed the Commonwealth War Graves Commission protesting this oversight. He has written:
"I write to you as a Member of Parliament, Parliament of Victoria Australia. I was disappointed to read of the 2015 Gallipoli campaign guide which is mentioned in the latest newsletter does not refer to the Island of Lemnos which has 2 Commonwealth War Cemeteries and was the supply, training, rest and medical base of the Gallipoli Campaign. 
It is historically inaccurate to refer to the Gallipoli campaign without reference to Lemnos. 
In Australia much of the emphasis is not only the battlefield sites but other important places in the campaign which 100 years after we should not forget- those who treated the thousands of sick and wounded, those that are buried away from the battlefield sites and those others who supported the campaign. 
I urge you to update the guide with reference to Lemnos at least under the 'Other Places' t itle. 
The CWGC has and continues to do great work in honouring our dead and interpreting sites that were important to our war dead and those that served. 
I look forward to your feedback."
If you would like to register your concern also the following link has a draft letter and addresses for you to send your email to:
Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Suggested Letter

To view the whole newsletter, click here.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Victorian Anzac Centenary on the recent Victorian students tour of Lemnos

The Victorian Government's Anzac Centenary website has publicized our Committee's report on the recent Premier's Anzac Student Prize tour of Lemnos on their website.

To see the report, click here.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee