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

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Lemnos Gallipoli Exhibition & Talk - Eltham Library Community Gallery - Thursday 4 to Monday 29 August 2016

Sick Australian nurses on Lemnos, 1915.
Further to our previous post regarding the above, Eltham Library has release publicity materials advertising the Lemnos Gallipoli Photographic Exhibition (4th-29th August 2016) and my presentation - "The Anzac's at Lemnos" - at the Library (7-8pm, Tuesday, 16th August 2016).

Eltham Library is located at Panther Place, Eltham Victoria 3095. Phone: (03) 9439 9266. It is open as follows: Monday-Thursday 10am-8.30pm; Friday-Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 10am-1pm.

The Lemnos Gallipoli Photographic Exhibition showcases images of the Anzacs taken on the Greek Island of Lemnos 1915–16. As a base for the Gallipoli campaign, the place of assembly and practise prior to the landings of 25th April, Lemnos was the location of the Australian hospitals and their 130 nurses. It also became a rest camp and place of recuperation for young Australians where an interaction developed with the local Greek population. Poignant photos reveal soldier and nurse visits to local villages, churches, spas and caf├ęs.

To download the details for the Exhibition, please click here.
To download the details for the presentation, please click here.
You can also download the Library's Bi-Monthly Bulletin which details both the Exhibition and the presentation by clicking here.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Lemnos Photographs from 1912-13 published

It was a great pleasure to be gifted a copy of this amazing book of photographs of Greece taken during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, published in 2012.
It features photographs of the liberation of Macedonia as well as the various Aegean Islands - including Lemnos.
The many images of Lemnos show the arrival of the Greek troops on the Island (including naval and air forces), the people of the Island and the celebrations that followed the liberation.
Some of the sites photographed would be visited by the Anzac and other Allied troops in 1915 - such as Therma and its water fountain. Below are just some of the images reproduced in the book.
I urge all interested in the history of Greece and its people during this period - including Lemnos - to purchase a copy on their next trip to Greece or on-line from the publisher.

The book is priced at 38.16€ plus mailing costs.
Copies of this excellent book can be ordered by emailing -

The address of the publisher's bookstore in Athens is:

The Cultural Foundation of National Bank of Greece Bookstore
Amerikis 13
10672, Athens
Tel: +30 210 3614 143
Fax: +30 210 3614 163

A big thank you to our archivist and researcher in Athens, Tsimandria's Lisa Koutsaplis, for this wonderful gift.


Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Anzac Heroes - Remembering Western Australia's Corporal's Arthur Liddell and Albert Spencer of the 2/11th Battalion

Grave of Corporals Liddell and Spencer, 2/11th Battalion, near Brallos. AWM ref P00129.007
The battle to defend Greece in April and May 1941 saw over 600 Australian soldiers killed and over 5,000 captured. Many of those who died did so in the great battles that raged across the Greek mainland and the Island of Crete - from Vevi and Brallos and Corinth, Kalamata and Rethymon, Chania and 42nd Street, to Heraklion and the fighting retreat to Sfakia - to name a few.

But many soldiers were killed outside of these great engagements. Many on the exposed roads and tracks as they tried to make their way south in the fighting retreats that would hold up the German advance. Many died as they suffered the constant attacks of German air attacks, their bombs and machine guns wreaking havoc on soldiers and civilians alike.

These soldiers would be buried hastily near to where they fell. I've already written of Private Felix Craig's brave fight on the road near Pharsala and his burial near Domokos. So with Australia's Hellenic Anzac Private James Zampelis who fought across Greece and was killed and buried at the village Mournies near Suda in Crete.
Recently I came across the image reproduced above. The story behind the photograph reveals yet another story of the terrible suffering of the Anzac's in Greece.
It shows the graves hastly dug by members of the Australian 2/11th Battalion for two of their number killed near Brallos on 20th April 1941. This is their story.
From Western Australia to Greece
Like the rest of their Battalion, Corporals Arthur Liddell and Albert Spencer were recruited from Western Australia. The Battalion was commanded by Geraldton-born Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Steane Louch, a former solicitor.
Corporal Arthur Liddell, Service File Photo, NAA
Arthur Liddell had been born in Katanning. He was an unmarried 24 years old labourer when he enlisted at Koyonup on 11th November 1939. He was the son of Arthur George and Grace Adeline Liddell, of Kojonup, Western Australia. He embarked from Fremantle with the battalion on 30 November 1939, arriving in Egypt in May 1940.
Corporal Albert Spencer
Albert Frank Spencer had been born at Northam. He was a married 24 year old farmer when he enlisted at Subiaco on 4 December 1939. With fair hair and blue eyes, Albert was the son of George Spencer. He was living at 25 Duke Street, Northam when he enlisted. After he had enlisted and before he left Australia, Albert married his sweetheart – Joyce – on 12 April 1940. He recorded her address as 16 Anstey Street, South Perth. He embarked for overseas service in 20 April 1940 – eight days after his marriage - and arrived in Egypt on May 1940.
The 2/11th sailed from Egypt for Greece, arriving at Piraeus on 12 April 1941.
After a short stay near Athens, the 2/11th moved north as the Allies sought to defend Greece against the coming German invasion. They held various positions - from Larissa, through Pharsala, Kalabaka and Domokos - before being moved south to form part of the Allied defensive line that was forming to defend the crucial Brallos Pass.
The results of an air raid outside Pharsala, April 1941. AWM
The Dangerous Roads of Greece
All the time the Australian and other Allied units moved across the battlefields of Greece they were subject to the withering attacks of the German air force. Enjoying almost total air superiority, these deadly stuka bombers enjoyed the freedom of the skies on most occasions.
Arthur and Albert's Battalion commander described just such an attack on the battalion as it moved south of Domokos on the 19th April:

“We hadn’t gone very far when the Germans started an intense strafe of the road – dive bombing and machine gunning the 20 miles or so from the Baillos Pass to Domokos. The planes came over in relays and aimed their bombs at the vehicles on the road and then machine gunned the area at the side of the road where the troops had taken cover. This strafe lasted for well over two hours.”

He did record an occasion near Domokos were brave British pilots in Hurricanes bombers took to the skies to take on the overwhelming numbers of German aircraft - downing two German aircraft.

Brallos Pass, April 1941. AWM
Brallos Pass and the death of two young Western Australians
The 2/11th Battalion Unit Diary records the movements of the diggers as they moved into position at Brallos. On the evening of the 19th April, the Battalion was bivouacked 500 yards from the main Brallos Pass road, with its transport dispersed. The next morning of the 20th April, most of the troops began the steep ascent up the Brallos Road - walking 7-8 miles - to their defensive position astride the road up within the Pass. This was an exhausting march, after which the troops were exhausted. Most of the Battalion's headquarters troops remained at the bivouac site.
Captain Ainslie went on to report that the battalion’s:

“…bivouac area had been bombed and machined gunned during the day and we were not sorry to leave it as planes were constantly passing directly overhead on their way to Athens and Brallos (which was receiving a good bit of attention) and the temptation to machine gin and bomb this straight bit of road was obviously very great. The battalion had a few casualties as a result."

It is reported that the battalion sustained four soldiers killed and eleven wounded. Two of these were Arthur and Albert. They were most likely either killed at the bivouac site or as they made their slow ascent of the Brallos Pass on the 20th April.

Both Corporals Liddell and Spencer are recorded as having been killed in action on the 20th April, “blown up by bomb.”
They were buried by the battalion on the 20th April “near Brallos” as they prepared to defend the strategically important Brallos Pass
He was 25 years old. Corporal Liddell is recorded as having been promoted to Corporal on the same day that he was killed. And Corporal Spencer had just celebrated his first wedding anniversary 8 days earlier.
The days ahead would see other diggers killed or fatally wounded in the defence of the Pass - including a former Hawthorn Football Club player from Perth, Jack Drake. Five gunners would be killed at the Pass and three wounded as they continued to fire of their artillery against overwhelming force, enabling the rest of the defending force to retreat. The Australian commander Brigadier George Vasey (born in East Malvern) famously urged his men to defend their positions with the exhortation that:

"Here we bloody well are and here we bloody well stay."

Commonwealth War Cemetery, Phaleron. Photo Jim Claven 2016
Commonwealth War Cemetery, Phaleron
After the war, their remains would be disinterred and re-buried at the Commonwealth War Cemetery at Phaleron in Athens. Both these diggers from Western Australia are buried nearby each other.
Grave of Corporal Arthur Liddell, 2/11th Battalion, Commonwealth War Cemetery, Phaleron. Photo Jim Claven 2016
Grave of Corporal Albert Spencer, 2/11th Battalion, Commonwealth War Cemetery, Phaleron. Photo Jim Claven 2016
I visited the Cemetery on a warm summer day earlier this year. The Cemetery is positioned near the Athens' great bay, the sun glinting on the sea surface. Standing amid the beautiful gardens and manicuared grave sites, colourful flowers swaying in the breeze, it is a calm place, a million miles from the war that took the lives of those who are buried here.
These two diggers from the 2/11th Battalion are interred nearby each other in the cemetery's Plot 3.
Corporal Arthur Liddell is buried in Plot 3, Row E, Grave 1 and Corporal Albert Spencer in Plot 3 Row D Grave 20.
Where Arthur's headstone contains a simple cross, the Spencer family have had etched a poignant phrase on their sons grave stone:

“Some day we will understand.”

This remarks should remind us all that war is a brutal affair, marring bodies and taking life, leaving those behind in grief and struggling to deal with the void created in their lives.
Brallos Pass, the place for a new Anzac Memorial. Photo Jim Claven 2015
Remembering the Diggers of Brallos Pass
Today there is yet no memorial to the diggers who fought to defend Brallos Pass.
The service and sacrifice of men like Arthur and Albert who came all the way from Western Australia to defend Greece should be remembered at the site they fell.
Brallos Pass should take its place as one of the key sites on Greece's Anzac Trail.
Lest we forget.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign Commemorative Council

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Patrick Leigh Fermor Home and Museum to be Restored

Patrick Leigh Fermor's Home, Kardamyli, Greece. Photo Jim Claven 2016
In May this year I was able to fulfill one of my dreams by visiting the former home of Patrick Leigh Fermor on the outskirts of Kardamyli in the Mani region of southern Greece.
For those who don't know, Patrick was a great Phil-hellene, WW2 veteran of the Greek and Crete campaigns, SOE agent on Crete during the occupation and travel writer - author of Mani, one of the best travel books about Greece. He was also the patron of the British-based Brotherhood of Veterans of the Greek Campaign.
His exploits during the war were immortalised in the British movie - I'll met by moonlight - which recounts the story of the kidnapping of the German General Kreipe during the German occupation of Crete. I was also fortunate to have been able to walk the location on Crete - south of the ancient site of Knossos - of this famous kidnapping.
Patrick Leigh Fermor (front centre) with another SOE Agent and their Greek Resistance fighter comrades

He died 5 years ago and gifted his home and its magnificent library to the people of Greece. It is now being managed by Greece's Benaki Museum.
I was joined on my visit by members of the British-based Brotherhood of Veterans of the Greek Campaign.
Great news this week is that the Stavros Niarchos Fondation will fund its much needed repair, restoration and new equipment purchases. Soon the home will host artists and writers.
If you would like to visit the Fermor home contact the Benaki Museum on-line - its well worth a visit.
For more information on the announcement and how to visit the home, click here.
Posted for all interested in the preservation of Patrick Leigh Fermor's heritage in Greece.
Thanks to David Sanderson of the British-based Brotherhood of Veterans of the Greek Campaign for this information.
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial Commemoration Flyer Released

We have just released our new flyer promoting our coming commemorative event at our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial. The event will be held at 11am, Saturday 13 August 2016. All are welcome.
View, download and distribute a full colour copy of the lfyer by clicking here.

Lee Tarlamis
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Monday, 11 July 2016

You are Invited - Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial Annual Commemorative Service - 11am Sat 13 August 2016 Foote St Albert Park

The Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial, Albert Park. Photo Jim Claven 2015
This August marks the first anniversary of the unveiling of the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial erected in Albert Park.
It is also the first of our annual commemorative services to be held at the Memorial. Our Committee plans to hold our annual commemorative service in August each year.

The unveiling of our Memorial, August 2015.
Mr Lee Tarlamis, President of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, said that the creation of our new Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial and its gifting to the City of Port Phillip had been a major milestone in the work of our Committee and the commemoration of Lemnos' role in the Gallipoli Campaign.
"This year we will commence our annual commemorative services at the Memorial. We hope that descendants of those who served on Lemnos and the local Lemnian population - as well as the wider Australian and Greek-Australian community - will come to the event to honour the soldiers, nurses and local Lemnian population who came together in a time of war over 100 years ago.

We hope that our annual commemoration will become part of the annual calendar of Anzac commemorative events and play its part in ensuring that Lemnos' role in Anzac is not forgotten."

Members of the public are invite to attend the event.

Details of the event are as follows:

When: 11.00am, Saturday 13th August 2016
Where: Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial, Foote Street Reserve, Foote Street, Albert Park

The Hon Ted Baillieu, Victorian Anzac Centenary Committee
The commemoration will include a keynote address by the Hon Ted Baillieu, Chair of the Victorian Anzac Centenary Committee and Former Victorian Premier. Ted has been a keen supporter of the work of our Committee and the recognition of Lemnos and its role in Anzac. He addressed our Memorial launch held at Parliament House in October 2013 which began our journey to erect our Memorial.

A formal commemorative service will be the centerpiece of the event, including the laying of wreaths at the Memorial.
The Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial, Albert Park. Photo Jim Claven 2015
The Memorial, located in the City of Port Phillip was sculpted by the renowned commemorative artist Peter Corlett, OAM. It comprises two evocative bronze statues - one of a nurse and the other of a digger - one standing and one seated on a carved stone plinth, along with information signage and flagpoles.

It recognises the important role of the Greek island of Lemnos in Australia's ANZAC story and is dedicated to the Australian nurses and soldiers who served there during the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915, to the 148 Australian soldiers (along with 76 New Zealand and nearly 1,000 other Allied soldiers) who remain buried there and to the local community who supported them.

The Committee welcomes all members of the public who would like to attend this inaugural annual commemorative event.
The Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial, Albert Park. Photo Jim Claven 2015
Christina Despoteris
Vice President
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee