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, 30 October 2014

French and Canadian Hospitals on Lemnos - 'The Gallipolian' magazine Winter 2014 edition

A Canadian nurse on Lemnos, 1915.
The Winter 2014 issue of The Gallipolian (No. 136) will be published in early December 2014. 
Stories include:
  • There are articles about the French and Canadian Hospitals on Lemnos.
  • To mark the centenary of the Naval campaign there are articles on the early Naval Bombardments’ and about Holbrook VCs submarine B11 which sunk the Turkish battleship Mesudiye.
It will be very interesting for members of our Committee to read some new research on the French and Canadian Hospitals on Lemnos. The latter were located close to the Australian hospitals on the Turks Head Peninsula and Australian and Canadian nurses had much contact with each other.
General view of shipping in the harbour at Mudros with the French hospital in the foreground. IWM image Q13705
If you would like more information, to join the Gallipoli Association (UK) and recieve its quarterly journal, click  here.
Membership of The Gallipoli Association
Membership of the Association gives you:
  • The highly respected The Gallipolian journal, posted to members three times a year. Its editorial policy is to increase our knowledge and understanding of the Gallipoli campaign.
  • Full information on and access to remembrance events.
  • Preferential invitations to conferences, lectures and Gallipoli battlefield tours.
  • Free access to expert historical advice and research support.
  • Full access to all areas of the Gallipoli Association forum.
  • Access to 45 years worth of Gallipolian journal back issues, totally free.
  • Access to the members contribution area.
You will also be contributing to preservation of the memory of the Gallipoli campaign and the exchange of related knowledge and expertise.
Gallipoli Association UK Annual Membership, only £20.00 GBP

Gallipoli Association Overseas Annual Membership, only £30.00 GBP
To join and subscribe, click here.
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Pipers of the Trenches

As we know Scottish-born Anzac Piper Archibald Monk piped the Australian nurses of the 3rd Australian General Hospital into the hospital site at West Mudros on Lemnos on 8th August 1915.
Some 2,500 pipers served in the First World War - in British and other Empire regiments. 600 were wounded and over 500 killed.
Pipers served with the British regiments at Gallipoli, 25 of these were killed.
One of those who served at Gallipoli alongside the Anzacs was Piper Kenneth McLeman from Avoch, Ross-shire, who served in the Highland Light Infantry and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for bravery at Gallipoli. He tended the wounded after his pipes were shattered by shrapnel.
For four hundred years or more, Highland regiments advanced and attacked to the sound of the bagpipes. In the Great War, pipers climbed out of the trenches, unarmed, to face machine guns and shells. The descendants of those men return to the battlefields to discover individual stories of unparalleled bravery.
Read the article "The Tunes of Glory - Heroism of Scots Pipers reprised" from The Scotsman newspaper by clicking here.
Piper Laidlaw VC
One of those pipers was Piper Daniel Laidlaw of the King's Own Scottish Borderers Regiment.
He took part in the bloody Battle of Loos in September 1915, along with over 30,000 other Scottish soldiers in various regiments. Critically, gas that had been fired to aid the Allied advance had blown back over the attacking Allied troops. It was at this moment that Piper Laidlaw mounted the trench parapet to raise the spirits of his comrades with his pipes.
The following story about Piper Laidlaw and is winning of the Victoria Cross is from the website:
Born in 1875 in Little Swinton, Berwickshire, Daniel Laidlaw joined the 2nd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry on 11 April 1896 where he was immediately posted to India where he stayed for two years until June 1898. Whilst there he was employed on plague duty in Bombay from March to May 1898. After returning to Britain he was claimed out of the DLI by his eldest brother and served in the King's Own Scottish Borderers as a piper until April 1912, when he was placed on the reserve.
Upon the outbreak of war in Europe, Daniel Laidlaw re-enlisted in the KOSB on 1 September 1914 and went to France with the regiment the following June.

How Piper Laidlaw won the Victoria Cross at Loos, Illustrated London News, 4 Dec 1915
In his own words he describes his action that resulted in him being awarded the Victoria Cross:
"On Saturday morning we got orders to raid the German trenches. At 6.30 the bugles sounded the advance and I got over the parapet with Lieutenant Young. I at once got the pipes going and the laddies gave a cheer as they started off for the enemy's lines. As soon as they showed themselves over the trench top they began to fall fast, but they never wavered, but dashed straight on as I played the old air they all knew 'Blue Bonnets over the Border'.
I ran forward with them piping for all I knew, and just as we were getting near the German lines I was wounded by shrapnel in the left ankle and leg. I was too excited to feel the pain just then, but scrambled along as best I could. I changed my tune to 'The Standard on the Braes o'Mar', a grand tune for charging on.
I kept on piping and piping and hobbling after the laddies until I could go no farther, and then seeing that the boys had won the position I began to get back as best I could to our own trenches." 

The following is Piper Laidlaw's Victoria Cross citation from the London Gazette:
"For most conspicuous bravery prior to an assault on German trenches near Loos and Hill 70 on 25 September 1915. During the worst of the bombardment, Piper Laidlaw, seeing that his company was badly shaken from the effects of gas, with absolute coolness and disregard of danger, mounted the parapet, marched up and down and played company out of the trench. The effect of his splendid example was immediate and the company dashed out to the assault. Piper Laidlaw continued playing his pipes until he was wounded." London Gazette, 18 November 1915 , Loos, France, 25 September 1915, No. 15851 Piper Daniel Laidlaw, 7th Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers.

Piper Laidlaw's medals.
Daniel Laidlaw was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 3rd February 1916.Daniel was promoted sergeant-piper on 12 October 1917, and was eventually demobilised on 3 April 1919; total service 20 years, 6 months. He died peacefully in 1950, aged 74, in Shoresedean, near Norham, Northumberland, and was buried in an unmarked grave in St. Cuthbert's Churchyard. There is a memorial plaque within the church.
A ceremony took place at St. Cuthbert's Churchyard, Norham, Northumberland, on 2nd June 2002 to place a headstone over the grave of Piper Daniel Laidlaw VC - "The Piper of Loos". The project was organised by the King's Own Scottish Borderer's Museum in Berwick-on-Tweed and by members of the Laidlaw family. 
Private John Dunnion, KOSB and Private Frank Claven, HLI
In re-telling this story, I am mindful of my own grandfather, Private John Dunnion of Dennistoun, Glasgow, who served in the King's Own Scottish Borderers  in the First World War, alongside Piper Laidlaw. He joined up in August 1914, serving on the western front, later becoming a prisoner of war and thankfully (for me and my family especially) the war.
My other grandfather, Private Frank Leo Claven, also from Glasgow, served with the Highland Light Infantry in the First world War, the same regiment as Piper McLeman. I have not been able to find out yet whether or not he served at Gallipoli but he also survived the war and went on to serve in India during the inter-war period.
The Flowers of the Forest
The official music of Scottish regiments for the fallen is the Flowers of the Forest, originally written in honour of the Scots who died at the Battle of Flodden. To listen to the music, click here.

The Pipers of the Trenches
Watch a great new documentary from the BBC on the Pipers of the Trenches by clicking here. The descendants of those men return to the battlefields to discover individual stories of unparalleled bravery.
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

OXI Day Commemorations in Melbourne - Remember the Armistice of Mudros - October 2014

The Greek and Australian flags fly at Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance as the we commemorate the 74th anniversary of OXI Day. Photo Jim Claven 2014
Today marks the 74th anniversary of the OXI Day.
28th October commemorates Greece’s rejection of Mussolini’s ultimatum in 1940 and the valiant defence mounted by the Greek people against first the Italian and then German invaders from 1940 until 1945.
this is an important day for Australians to commemorate along with their Greek compatriots.
Australian soldiers and nurses joined Greece in its defence – some 25,000 – came to Greece to join with the Greek people in their defence.
They would fight alongside their Greek comrades – in a list of battle honours including Vevi, the Vale of Tempe, Brallos Pass and Thermopylae and the Corinth Canal. And of course, they would fight to defend the beautiful Island of Crete in May 1941.
Mr Emmanuel Karvelas, Senior Vice President of the RSL Hellenic Sub Branch addresses the crowd.
Yet again Melbourne's RSL Hellenic Sub-Branch organized a wonderful commemoration of this important day in Australia and Greece's history. The day commenced with a Church Service at St Eustathios Greek Orthodox Church in South Melbourne, a commemorative service at the Australian Hellenic Memorial in the Domain Gardens near the Shrine of remembrance in Melbourne, a further service within the Shrine itself, followed by a commemorative lunch at the RSL Hellenic Sub-Branch Memorial Hall in South Melbourne.
The commemoration was honored to have both the Consul General of Greece, Ms Christina Simantirakis, and Brigadier Keith Rossi, WW2 veteran and representing the RSL, address the assembled crowd.
Congratulations to Steve Kyritsis and all at the RSL Hellenic Sub-Branch.
Below are some images from the commemorations. All photos by Jim Claven unless stated. Thanks to Emmanuel Karvelas for his assistance.
The HMS Agamemnon in Lemnos Island's Mudros Bay. IWM image

Remember the Armistice of Mudros - 30th October 1918
And on this day, we also remember another very important day which cemented the connection between Greece and Australia - the Armistice of Mudros.
For it was on the 30th October, next Thursday, 96 years ago that the Armistice of Mudros was signed between the Allies and the Ottoman - in Lemnos' great harbour.
The great British warship – the HMS Agamemnon - was the location of the signing.
This brought to end Australia’s war that had begun at Gallipoli and Lemnos in 1915. Lemnos which was the crucial base for the Gallipoli campaign was now the site of the end of the war.
Zito Australia! Zito Ellada!
Lest we forget
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
The Greek Consul addresses the assembled crowd at the Australian Hellenic Memorial

Father Ioannis Tabrinidis says a prayer for the fallen
Mr Steve Kyritsis, President of the RSL Hellenic Sub-Branch, lays a wreath.
Ms Jenny Mikakos, MP, lays a wreath on behalf of Daniel Andrews. Leader of the Victorian Opposition

Mr Martin Foley, MP for Albert Park and Convenor of the Victorian Parliamentary Friends of Greece, lays a wreath.
Mr Lee Tarlamis, Member for South Eastern Province and President of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, lays a wreath
As Secretary of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, I lay a wreath on behalf of the Committee.
Ms Christina Despoteris, lays a wreath on behalf of the Lemnian Community of Victoria.

Students from Oakleigh Grammar lay a wreath.


Spriros Robotis, President AHEPA Victoria, Commander Ioannis Mihanetsis (Ret) and Sub-Branch member Angelo Yannacaros at the commemoration.
Sub-Branch member Chris Mingos with Con Grivas and Mr Galanis at the commemoration.
Sub-Branch member Annie Tsourlinis with Brigadier Keith Rossi, Mr Lee Tarlamis MLC, Member for South Eastern Metropolitan Region and Martin Foley, MLA State Member for Albert Park and convener of the Victorian Parliamentary Friends of Greece
Committee member Ms Christina Despoteris with Mr Dennis Patisteas, Treasurer of the RSL Hellenic Sub Branch
Students from St John’s College assemble outside the Shrine of Remembrance.

The Consul General of Greece lays a wreath inside the Shrine of Remembrance.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Princes Pier's WW1 connection remembered - Neos Kosmos 25th Oct 2014

Yesterday's Neos Kosmos carried a great article reporting on our stall at the recent Prince's Pier (Port Melbourne) Centenary event, commemorating the departure of the first AIF convoy from Port Melbourne.
To read and download the article, click here.
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Their Journey is our Story - Christina Despoteris tells her family story to Neos Kosmos

Soldier Dimitrios Despoteris, Greek Army, WW2. Reproduced with permission. Private Collection of Christina Despoteris 2014
Today's  Neos Kosmos has a lovely story re-telling the family story of one of our Committee members, Chrirstina Despoteris.
It is the story of Lemnos, Egypt and Australia - a story of migration which will resonate with many Greek Australian families. It is also a story of how war affected the Despoteris family. And it tells of the importance of our project to enhance awareness of the role of Lemnos (and Greece) in Australia's Anzac story.
Christina's father Dimitrios served in the Greek Army in World War 2, seeing action in Greece, the Middle East, Syria and Europe. She has kindly let us reproduced some of the photographs of her father from the war.
Well done Christina and thanks again to Neos Kosmos.
If you would like to view and/or download the article, for page 1 click here, and for page 2 here.
Dimitrios' unit, Greek Army, WW2. Dimitrios is right rear. Reproduced with permission. Private Collection of Christina Despoteris 2014
Christina has provided the following short report in English on the article: 
"Their Journey is our Story"
Christina Despoteris was interviewed by Vivienne Morris, Features Editor of the Greek newspaper Neos Kosmos. 
The role that Lemnos played in the Gallipoli campaign is something that Christina Despoteris is keen to promote, having had many years experience in public relations. Following her attendance at the conference on Lemnos in July 2013, she became involved with the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee (LGCC). During her time on the island, she walked in the footsteps of the soldiers, noted where the invasion forces assembled, where they were trained and later where the Australian nurses in the Australian Hospitals looked after the many who had been injured. There were 50,000 Australians who either served on Lemnos or who were at Moudros Harbour in ships. There are 1,200 soldiers buried on Lemnos of which 148 are Australian. 
The LGCC's vision is to see an ANZAC trail on Lemnos.
The LGCC is fundraising to erect a statue, which has been designed by Peter Corlett, to be placed at Albert Park.
On the weekend, at Princes Pier where there were events to commemorate the departure of the WW1 convoy in 1914, the LGCC had a stand to fund raise for the statue. Christina was present and spoke to lots of people who had stories to tell about their grandfathers or their uncles who had being involved in the Gallipoli campaign.
She believes that in the future Lemnos will become better known for its involvement with the Gallipoli campaign.
Christina Despoteris was born in Egypt, an only child, she came to Melbourne with her parents at the age of seven. She had a distinguished career in the Victorian Public Service working with various departments including the Premier's. She has always been involved in promoting the Greek culture and traditions to the broader community. She is currently involved with several community groups.
Christina's sensitivities about war stem from the fact that her father, Dimitrios,  served in the Greek Army during World War 11. As a young child, she would sit on her father's lap, as a teenager and as a woman she would often listen to her father's stories about his experiences. Having witnessed so many atrocities and so much bloodshed, her father valued life and was very passionate and considerate about family, friends and relatives.
In hindsight, she feels that this was a form of cleansing, by reminiscing and reviving all the stories of the war. Christina concludes: "As far as we are concerned, the least we can do is not forget them, because their journey is our story."
Dimitrios' unit, Greek army, WW2. Greek Army, WW2. Dimitrios is kneeling at the front, on the left. Reproduced with permission. Private Collection of Christina Despoteris 2014
Dimitrios' unit , Greek Army, WW2. Reproduced with permission. Private Collection of Christina Despoteris 2014
Dimitrios' unit in the Middle East, Greek Army, WW2. Reproduced with permission. Private Collection of Christina Despoteris 2014
Dimitrios' unit marching, Greek Army, WW2. Reproduced with permission. Private Collection of Christina Despoteris 2014

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Neos Kosmos article on Lemnian Community 75th Anniversary Event

 Dear all, pictured below and on the download link below is the recent article published in Neos Kosmos newspaper on the Lemnian Community of Victoria's recent 75th anniversary Gala Dinner Dance.
Thank you to Christina Despoteris for the article.
View and download page one by clicking here.
View and download page two by clicking here.
Jim Claven 
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee


Brisbane Hospital Exhibition honors medical staff role in WW1

A new exhibition has opened at Brisbane Hospital honoring the medical staff, including its nurses, who served in WW1. It tells the story of Matron Grace Wilson and other nurses who served. The exhibition includes memorabilia.
The ABC TV report states:
"A new World War I museum in Brisbane is paying tribute to the doctors, nurses and orderlies who served on the battlefront from 1914 to 1918. During that time more than 100 medical staff left their posts at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH) to help tend to the sick and wounded.
Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove opened the Hospital Healers exhibition at the hospital's Nursing Museum, praising their vital role in the war. "I'd like to think that a desperately wounded World War I soldier committed to hospital would wake up to see tending to him an Australian nurse, would have felt that much closer to home, that much more comforted," he said.
The exhibition features diary extracts, letters and clothing of nurses like Dorothy Francis Webb, who was 26 years old when she enlisted on 20 July 1915.
Her grandson Stephen Maguire said the museum was a powerful reminder of what his grandmother endured.
"Must have been horrific," he said."She had three years on the western front and the only break seems to be, from her war record, when she got sick. She didn't talk much of what happened over there - what she would have seen would have made anyone ill."
Sister Webb was discharged from service in 1918 and awarded a Red Cross medallion. She is one of many nurses featured in the display.
The exhibition will run for the duration of the World War I centenary."

To watch the ABC report on the new exhibition, click here.
Thanks to Faye Threfall for alerting me to this new exhibition.
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Princes Pier First Convoy Commemoration A Success

Our packed stall at Princes Pier today. Photo Jim Claven
Today's commemoration of the departure of the first AIF convoy to leave Princes Pier was a great success.
It was well attend, with hundreds flowing through the marquees, listening to the music, theatre and speeches.
The event featured re-enactments, with actors dressed as nurses, diggers and members of the public from 1914.

The skirl o' the pipes - The Rats of Tobruk pipe band. Photo Jim Claven 2014
The Rats of Tobruk pipe band. Photo Jim Claven 2014
The feature of the event was a formal ceremony at the bandstand near Station Pier, followed by a massed pipe band - The Rats of Tobruk Pipe Band - leading dignitaries on to Princes Pier.The day concluded with a light show commemorating the departure of the Orvieto and the other ships of the first convoy.The followingf two photos were poster by the Hon Ted Baillieu MP and Victorian Anzac Centenary Committee chair:
The event was organised by the Victorian Anzac Centenary Committee and the City of Port Phillip. Well done.
Our display. Photo Jim Claven 2014
The Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee were able to staff a stall at the event. Business was brisque - there was hardly a moment when we were not explaining the Lemnos story, answering queries, hearing the stories of diggers and nurses who served or are buried on Lemnos from their descedents.
Many visitors generously shared their family memories and precious memorabilia with us.
They included the relative of New South Welshman 2nd Lieutenant John Harrison of the 3rd Battalion AIF who lies buried in Portianos Military Ceremony on Lemnos. Other descendents includes those of Sergeant James Reginald Matthews of the 7th Battalion AIF, Private A.G. Laws of the 7th Battalion, Digger N.W.J. Davis and Digger Alfred Ernest McGuire of the 22nd Battalion. All served on Lemnos.
Below is some of the memorabilia shared with us by their families today. Thanks to all who shared it with us and apologies for any errors in our report.
Sergeant Matthews' AIF pay book
Digger Davis enlistment disc.
Message sent to all Allied troop establishments and hospitals informing them of the Gallipoli landings
Many contacts were made and new membership applications received.
What a fantastic day.
Showing off our statue model - Me, with Paul's daughter and Martin Foley MP for Albert Park and supporter. Photo Paul Soug
People were keen to support our projects by buying our posters and books. And we sold out of our famous Lemnos Gallipoli badges!
LGCC stall volunteers with the Hon Ted Baillieu MP. Photo Jim Claven 2014
 LGCC Stall volunteers with Martin Foley MP. Photo Christina Despoteris 2014
The chair of the Victorian Anzac Centenary Committee, the Hon Ted Baillieu, congratulated us on our stall.
We were also visited by Committee members Martin Foley MP, Michael Danby MHR and Lambis Englezos and many others.
Ken Volaris, Lee Tarlamis, Nik Kydas and George Petrou. Photo Jim Claven 2014

On behalf of the Committee, I'd like to thank Lee Tarlamis, MP, Ken Volaris, Nik Kydas, George Petrou and Christina Despoteris for helping us out for the day. Volunteers are the strength of our Committee. Well done.
Christina Despoteris and Ken Volaris with our precious statue maquette. Photo Christina Despoteris 2014
A big thank you to Sandra Khazam at the City of Port Phillip for helping us make our stall a reality.
Below is a facsimile brochure produced for the event - images from the embarkation of the troops from port Melbourne from The Australasian (Melbourne), 21st November 1914.
All photos are my own unless stated otherwise.
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee