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, 27 February 2017

You are invited - Anzac Lemnos Memorial to be unveiled in Sydney on 4th March 2017

Nurses arriving on Lemnos, August 1915. Photo AW Savage, State Library of NSW
A memorial to Lemnos' role in the Gallipoli campaign will be unveiled in the Sydney suburb of Kogarah on 4th March. This will join with our Memorial in Albert Park as fitting permanent reminders of Lemnos and its role in Anzac.
Lee Tarlamis, our President, on behalf of our Committee congratulates Kogarah Council, the Lemnos 1915 committee in Sydney and all involved in bringing this project to reality. We know how much dedication and work this would have required.
If you can make it to Sydney for the unveiling you will be welcome.
The following event information has been provided by Nick Andriotakis BE (Hons),
Secretary, Joint Committee for the Commemoration of the Battle of Crete & The Greek Campaign. Thank you Nick.
We look forward to seeing this new memorial commemorating Greece's connection to Australia's Anzac tradition.

"One of the foundation stones of the Greek Australian relationship is the island of Lemnos. This is where the Australian Nurses tended to the wounded Gallipoli Anzacs and alas some 250 of them did not make it and are buried on Lemnos .
Georges River Council is inviting the community to attend the unveiling of an ANZAC commemorative statue and plaque in Kogarah Town Square on Saturday 4 March 2017. This statue seeks to honour the incredible courage, bravery and sacrifice of ANZAC soldiers and Australian nurses during the battle for Gallipoli. The memorial also acknowledges the vital role the people of Greece, particularly those from the Greek island of Lemnos who supported the Anzacs .
The memorial’s placement within the Kogarah Town Square, is fittingly placed in direct sight of the Greek Orthodox Church and adjacent to the St George Hospital.
The work was created by Georges River Council’s first Artist in Residence, sculptor Takis Kozokos, and the council invites the community to witness the unveiling.
Design and construction of the statue was made possible thanks to a grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program.
Please consider taking your families to this important event . I look forward to see you on the day .
When: 10.30am – 11.30am, Saturday 4 March 2017
Where: Kogarah Town Square, Derby Street, Kogarah NSW 2217
For more information phone Council on 9330 6400."

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Lemnos Gallipoli at the Lonsdale Street Greek Festival!

Once again our Committee has been at the famous Lonsdale Street Greek Festival in downtown Melbourne.
Again we were invited by the Pontiaki Estia and Merimna community organisations to share their stall at the Festival.
We have been working together for a number of years now - supporting our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial work and the push to erect a statue to George Devine Treloar in Ballarat.
We again distributed our promotional material - getting the story of Lemnos' role in Gallipoli out to the wider community - as well as our forthcoming major publication - Lemnos and Gallipoli.
Great also to hear and see the great Greek folkloric music and dance on display - especially as we are hosted by the magnificent Pontiaki Estia and its dancers - as well as being next door to the Cretan Brotherhood and its musicians and dancers! Opa!
Great also to see our friends Konstantinos Kalymnios at the Pan Epirotic stall, Peter Andrinopoulos and Katy Karabatsos at the Society of Kalamata stall, MC Lee Andrikopoulos, the Greek Anzacs' Paul Sougleris and Peter Ford - honorary Cretan and roving photographer!
Thanks to all who came and helped out at the stall today - Deb Stewart, Vice-President Christina Despoteris, John Salpigitidis and Ange Kenos. We couldn't do it without you!
And thanks to all those who visited to say hello and lend support - like Angelo Yannacaros.
Thanks to the Pontiaki Estia and Merimna for their on-going support for our work.
See some of the photos I took above and below.

Lee Tarlamis, President
Jim Claven, Secretary
for the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Wattle Park Lone Pine Memorial - The Lemnos Connection

Photo Jim Claven 2017
Recently Committee member Malcolm MacDonald and myself visited the Lone Pine Memorial at Wattle Park in Melbourne's eastern suburbs.
There is a proposal to add a commemoration of Lemnos and its role in the battles of Lone Pine to this memorial area.
The Memorial area contains a clocktower monument, surrounded by smaller memorial plaques, in front of a pine tree grown from a seedling from the pine trees of the Gallipoli peninsula. The memorial also includes information boards, not dissimilar to that of the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park.
An annual Anzac Day service is held at the Memorial under the auspices of the Wattle Park Heritage Group and Parks Victoria.
Photo Jim Claven 2017

Photo Jim Claven 2017
Photo Jim Claven 2017
Wattle Park Patriotic Area
This area in Wattle Park commemorates the 24th Battalion. which served at Gallipoli and France in WW1. The Battalion has its roots in a militia unit, the Kooyong Battalion.
After sailing for Egypt in May 1915 aboard the HMAT Euripides, the Battalion was transferred to Gallipoli in September 1915. Here it served as a relief battalion (along with the 23rd Battalion) defending the Lone Pine sector until the evacuation of the peninsula in December 1915.
The Battalion included Lieutenant Stanley Savige, who was one of the officers commanding the rearguard during the evacuation.
Later Lieutenant Colonel Stanley Savige commanded the Battalion as as militia unit after the end of the war. The Battalion used the Wattle Park area for its training base after WW1. In May 1929 a Trooping of the Colour ceremony was held at Wattle Park in commemoration of the departure of the battalion in 1915 for Egypt and Gallipoli.
Photo Jim Claven 2017
The Clocktower Monument
This was erected by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board in 1948 in honour of a soldier of the 7th Battalion who fell during WW1. Research has revealed the soldier was 26 year old Private Royden Louis Charles Bennett, who fell at Pozieres in 1917.
Photo Jim Claven 2017

The Lone Pine
The pine tree memorial was propagated from a seedling from the orginal solitary Loine Pine that stood on the famous Gallipoli battlefield of the same name. The cone from which four seedlings were grown was taken from battlefield by Private Thomas Keith McDowell of Wonthaggi, a soldier with the 23rd Battalion.
It was planted on 7th May 1933 by the Mayor of Box Hill, at an event organised by Lieutentant Colonel Stanley Savige.
Another seedling from this same cone was planted at the Shrine of Remembrance.
Photo Jim Claven 2017
Photo Jim Claven 2017

Photo Jim Claven 2017
Lemnos, Lone Pine and Wattle Park
There are many direct connections between Lone Pine and Lemnos - and the Wattle Park area.
Some of these are:
  • Lemnos was the forward base for the Gallipoli campaign of 1915;
  • In preparation for the coming battle of Lone Pine (and the other connected attacks planned as part of the August Offensive at Gallipoli) a major increase in the medical facilities on Lemnos was undertaken;
  • Approximately 136 Australian nurses (as well as other medical staff) were sent to Lemnos to support the location of two new Australian field hospitals (the 3rd Australian General Hospital and the 2nd Australian Stationary Hospital) as part of this enhanced medical base. This was the first location of Australian nurses into a warzone;
  • One of the nurses – Nurse Clarice Daley - was born in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, not far from Wattle Park, in Box Hill;
  • Lieutenant Stanley Savige and the soldiers of the 24th Battalion, whose service is commemorated at the Wattle Park Memorial, served on Lemnos – arriving there from Egypt with his battalion in September prior to going to Gallipoli, returned there after the evacuation for two weeks, including taking part in the famous Anzac Christmas celebrations on Lemnos in December 1915. From their arrival on 8th August, these field hospitals and the nurses were caring for the wounded from Lone Pine and the other August Offensive battles;
  • 8 diggers have been identified as being from the battalions principally involved in the Lone Pine battles, having been wounded and cared for on Lemnos and being buried in one of the Islands two commonwealth war cemeteries. A list of these diggers is attached. Another 5 diggers buried on Lemnos are from other battalions which the Australian War Memorial identifies as being part of the battle of Lone Pine; and,
  • Of the 13 diggers listed above, 7 were tended by the Australian nurses at either the 3rd AGH or 2nd ASH on Lemnos before they succumbed to their wounds and were buried in one of the Islands two commonwealth war cemeteries. 6 of these were from Victoria, one from Hawthorn. 

Photo Jim Claven 2017
The Committee will soon put a proposal to the Wattle Park Heritage Committee to add a new plaque to the existing memorial recognizing the rtole of Lemnos, its nurses, the dead of Lone Pine who remain there and their connection to Wattle Park.
Watch this space.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Sunday, 19 February 2017

75th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin - 19th February 1942

First Japanese bombs land on Darwin, 19th February 1942. AWM
Yesterday the 19th February marked the 1942 bombing of Darwin, 75 years ago.More than 240 people died during two separate attacks when 242 Japanese aircraft bombed Darwin on 19 February 1942.
The Bombing of Darwin
The following text is from the AWM:
"Darwin, the largest population centre in northern Australia, was considered a vital asset in Australia's defences against an increasingly aggressive Japanese Empire in the 1930s. Its port and airfield facilities were developed, coastal defence batteries constructed and its garrison steadily enlarged. The outbreak of war in the Pacific resulted in the rapid enlargement of the military presence in Darwin and it was used as a base from which to deploy forces for the defence of the Dutch East Indies. In January and February these forces were overwhelmed by Japanese landings, usually preceded by heavy air attacks.
"On 19 February 1942 Darwin itself was bombed. Japanese fighters and bombers attacked the port and shipping in the harbour twice during the day, killing 252 Allied service personnel and civilians. On 3 March Broome, in Western Australia, was strafed. In succeeding months air attacks were made on many towns in northern Australia including Wyndham, Port Hedland and Derby in Western Australia, Darwin and Katherine in the Northern Territory, Townsville and Mossman in Queensland, and Horn Island in the Torres Strait. Despite popular fears these raids were not the precursor to an invasion but they did serve to interrupt the use of Darwin's port facilities. The raids also tied up anti aircraft defences and air force units that would have otherwise been sent to more forward areas.
"The Japanese air raids on Darwin on 19 February involved, collectively, over 260 enemy aircraft. Subsequent raids in April, June, July and November 1942, and March 1943 where carried out with forces of 30 to 40 fighters and bombers. Between the large raids there were smaller operations by groups of under a dozen Japanese aircraft. Most of the raids occurred in daylight but there were some small scale night attacks.
"The 64th, and last, air raid on Darwin occurred on 12 November 1943. In total there were 97 air attacks on northern Australia and enemy air reconnaissance over the region continued through much of 1944.

Commemorations to be held in Darwin and across the Northern Territory
Federal Minister for Veterans Affairs, Mr Tehan MP, said the attacks had brought the Second World War to Australian shores and we should pause to remember those killed and those who defended Darwin on this national day of observance.
The Minister's press release states that a national commemoration organised by the Northern Territory Government will recognise the anniversary with a service at the Cenotaph on the Darwin Esplanade at 9.30 am on Sunday 19 February, with an air raid siren sounded at 9.58 am to mark the precise time the first attack took place. The Australian American Association of the Northern Territory will also conduct a USS Peary Memorial Service.
“The bombing of Darwin Day has been a national day of observance since 2011 but other towns across Australia’s north were also bombed, including Katherine, Broome, Townsville, Wyndham and Cairns,” Mr Tehan said.
“Australia has been fortunate that global conflict has rarely reached our shores and the 75th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin is an opportunity to reflect on the lives lost because of the attack and to be grateful for the men and women of our armed forces who fight to defend us. On the 75th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin the country will stop, pause and reflect on a significant moment in our history and how it has shaped Australia.”
More information
If you woulds like to read more about the bombing of Darwin, a good read is by Peter Ewer, a member of the Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign Commemorative Council. It is called Wounded Eagle. Another book is by Peter Grose, An Awkward Truth. You can pick them up at any good secondhand bookstore or on-line.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Bangka Island 75th anniversary commemorative service - Melbourne Nurses Memorial Centre

Photo Jim Claven 2017

It was an honour earlier this evening to attend the 75th anniversary commemorative service for the Bangka Island massacre of 16th February 1942 held by Melbourne's Nurses Memorial Centre.
There were over 120 people present, including representatives of the Army and Air Force, as well as many former nurses and senior medical staff.
I attended the event with Committee member Ange Kenos, who is also President of the Essendon RSL sub-branch (pictured above).
Photo Jim Claven 2017

NMC President Karla Freer opened proceedings with a presentation telling the story of the Australian nurses at Singapore and the subsequent deaths of the nurses from the SS Vyner Brooke. There were also moving addresses by relatives of some of the 65 Australian nurses who were aboard the SS Vyner Brooke in February 1942, including Mr John Bullwinkel (nephew of Lt. Col Vivian Bullwinkel AO, MBE, ARRC, Ed, FNM) and Ms Emily Malone (a relative of Nurse Betty Jeffrey OAM). A message from the Premier of Victoria, the Hon Daniel Andrews, was read to the assembly. Mr Murray Thompson, MLA, also attended the event.

Photo Jim Claven 2017
The commemorative display included the photographs of all of the Australian nurses killed as a result of the sinking of the SS Vyner Brooke and the subsequent massacre at Radji Beach on Bangka Island. The Australian Army Nursing Service uniform of Lieutenant Clarice Halligan, who was killed at Radji Beach, was on display (pictured below). Also on display were the medals of Colonel Annie Sage, RRC, Matron-in-Chief Australian Army Nursing Service, who was part of the Australian team that made first contact with the surviving nurses in their Japanese POW camp in 1945 (pictured below).
Photo Jim Claven 2017
Photo Jim Claven 2017

Photo Jim Claven 2017

Photo Jim Claven 2017

Photo Jim Claven 2017

Following the presentations, a short service was held at the WW2 nurses memorial on St Kilda Road. RAAF Group Captain Chris Potter read the ode to the fallen.
Photo Jim Claven 2017
Photo Jim Claven 2017

Photo Jim Claven 2017
Photo Jim Claven 2017
Also present were Maggie Stowers and her fellow volunteers and supporters from the Queenscliffe Historical Museum, who helped restore the gravestone of Nurse Violet Duddy who served on Lemnos in 1915.
Photo Jim Claven 2017
Thanks to NMC President Karla Freer and all at the NMC for putting together this important commemorative occasion.NMC Vice-President and our Committee Treasurer, Arlene Bennett, is currently on Bangka Island to attend the service being held on the site of the massacre of the Australian nurses. We look forward to her report on and photographs of this important overseas commemorative event.
For more information on the Australian nurses on the SS Vyner Brooke and at Bangka Island massacre go to my previous post by clicking here.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Fall of Singapore commemorative service - Ballarat National POW Memorial Ceremony - 15 February 2017

Photo Jim Claven 2017
Yesterday it was an honour to attend the fall of Singapore commemorative service held at the National POW Memorial at Ballarat. This was to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the surrender of Allied forces in Singapore in February 1942.Myself, along with Committee Vice-President Christina Despoteris, Committee members George Petrou and John Salpigtidis, attended the service.

Some of the veterans and former POW's who attended yesterdays event, pictured with the Governor General of Australia, Peter Cosgrove. Photo Jim Claven 2017
It was also an opportunity to catch up with veteran and former POW, Bill Rudd, who was landed in Greece during WW2 after his POW ship was attacked and nearly sunk off Methone and Pylos. Amongst the other POW's present was Norm Maddock, a proud trade unionist and a veteran of the Greek campaign. 
One Digger from the Memorial Wall
I took the opportunity to find the name of one digger who was captured on Crete in 1941, He was Private Gordon McGrath, from NSW who joined up in Wangaratta. He is connected to my sister-in-law's sister, Beth McGrath in Albury. Beth's husband was his brother. More to come on Gordon's story.
Below are some photos of the memorial wall, highlighting Gordon's name:
Photo Jim Claven 2017
Photo Jim Claven 2017
Below are some of the key pages from the commemorative service booklet produced by the Department of Veterans Affairs:

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee