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, 22 March 2017

Lemnos or Imbros? - Greek labourers and the Gallipoli campaign

Greek labourers during the Gallipoli campaign, 1915. IWM/KCL

The photograph above is one of the evocative images of the Greek civil involvement in the Gallipoli campaign. Here are Greek workmen, some appear to be carpenters, working on the edge of a bay. But where is it?
Greek labourers volunteered to work for the Allies during the Gallipoli campaign. Various sources reveal that these labourers came from many locations - Lemnos, Lesvos, Imbros, Tenedos and Asia Minor - and no doubt many other locations.
The identification of the location of photographs taken in 1915 can be a difficult process. Photographs have been filed incorrectly over the years. Some photographers were confused, maybe trying to specify locations weeks or months after the fact.
The photograph above was taken by the British war photographer Lieutenant Ernest Brooks in 1915.
A copy of the photograph is held in the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London. The description of the photograph says that it depicts "civilian carpenters at work at Mudros. In the background can be seen the shipping in the harbour."
However, another copy of the photograph is held in the archives of King's College, London, (KCL) in the collection of the former British General Ian Hamilton, the commander at Gellipoli for most of the campaign. This original has words written on the back stating that the photograph is of "Hundreds of Greeks employed on Imbros Island in various tasks."

Having visited both Lemnos and Imbros Island's I now feel convinced that the photograph is more likely to be of Kephalos Bay on Imbros - and not of Mudros Bay on Lemno. Below are some photos I recently took of Kephalos Bay on Imbros, where you can see in seperate photographs a similar gradient to the hill on the left of the 1915 photo and the sharp cliff of the promontory at Kephalos, similar to that on the right distance of the 1915 photo. But then again ...

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Latest RSL Mufti Magazine - Unveiling of Peter Corlett's New Statue, Hellenic RSL News and Anzac Day March Details

The latest edition of the RSL magazine Mufti contains reports on a number of items of interest to our Commitee.
Firstly, there is a report on the unveiling in Ballarat of Peter Corlett OAM's new commemorative statue - The Grieving Mother. See the page below:

Secondly, there is a report on last years conferring of Greek Medal of Honour for service in the Greek campaign in WW2. Thanks to Manny Karvelas, Senior Vice President for getting this important event covered in the RSL magazine - and of course for his magnificent photographs! See the page below:

Thirdly, the magazine publishes the details for assembly for this years Anzac Day march. For example, the 6th Division (those troops who served in Greece and Crete) will assemble at Flinders St East (St Paul's side), departing at 9.45am. The Hellenic veterans (along with Scottish and other veterans, and WW1 and WW2 descendants) are to assemble at Flinders Walk, departing at 11.50am. See the pages below:

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Monday, 20 March 2017

Peter Vakirudis - The story of a would-be Digger of Lemnian descent

Attestation form of Peter Vakuridis, May 1918. NAA
There are two recruits to the AIF in WW1 connected to the Greek Island of Lemnos. one is Basil Demetri Passa from the village of Kontopouli on Lemnos. Dimitri joined the AIF and served in France. For more information on Basil, please click here.
The other is Peter Vakirudis and his mother was living on Lemnos when he attempted to enlist at Albury in NSW. This is his story.
A Hellene Attempts to Enlist
Peter Vakirudis tried to enlist at the Albury recruitment centre into the Australian Imperial Force on 28 May 1918, aged 18 years and ten months. He was enlisted as Private 91681 into the AIF Depot.
He listed his profession as a labourer – a very common profession for AIF recruits. He gave his address as Balfour Street, Culcairn in the south-east Riverina region of NSW. This was 50 kilometres north of the recruitment centre in Albury. Most likely Albury was the closest recruitment centre for him.
He said that he was born in Alexandria in Egypt on 15th August 1899. He was 5ft 6 inches tall and weighed 130 lbs. He listed his religion as Greek Orthodox. He recorded his next of kin as his mother - Mrs Aristor Vakirudis. Her address was given as merely “Lemnos Island” (see the excerpt from his service record reproduced below). No village is mentioned in the Australian army documents.
Despite having passed his medical examination in June 1918, his enlistment appears to have been cancelled as it was impossible to gain his parents written consent – a requirement for someone under the age of 21 (see the excerpt from his service record reproduced below).
After the War
After the war Peter seems to established himself in Sydney and getting married - and possibly having children.
The Australian Electoral Roll shows that Peter was living in Sydney at least from 1933 until 1958, and most likely beyond that date. He was registered on the electoral roll (for the federal electorates of East Sydney, West Sydney, Hume and finally West Sydney again). This doesn’t necessarily mean that Peter moved residence, it may just mean the boundaries of the electorates changed.
In 1936 Sydney Council records show that Peter Vakirudis was paying rates for 220 Goulburn Street, Sydney (in the Macquarie Ward of the City). It was a brick house of 2 floors and 4 rooms, with an iron roof. It was owned by the estate of the late Sydney Herbert Cary. The rated gross annual value of the property was 39 pounds.
He is recorded as being married to Hazel Winifred Tilney from 1937. By 1967 Peter had died and been buried in Sydney. There is evidence that there were still some members of the Vakirudis family living in Sydney in 1980.
The Mystery of the Vakirudis’
It would be great to find out more about this apparently successful young Greek migrant from the large Greek community in Alexandria, Egypt.
  • When did he come to Australia and why?
  • Did he come with relatives and are any of his descendants still alive in Australia?
  • When did his family move to Alexandria from Lemnos and what did they do there?
  • And what of his mother and his descendents on Lemnos?
  • Where did his mother Aristor live and are there any relatives still alive?
These are just some of the questions that it would great to find out the answers too. Any help anyone can provide in tracking down more of the story of the Vakirudis' would be most welcome.
The information cited here is moistly sourced from Peter Vakirudis’ service file held by the National Archives of Australia.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

New Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial Unveiled in Sydney - Congratulations from all of us in Melbourne!

The Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial, Sydney. Photos by Arthur Vergopoulos
For all of those who are not able to access the Lemnos 1915 Facebook page, below is reproduced the story and photographs taken of the recent unveiling of the new Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial on 4th March at Kogarah in Sydney.
Congratulations to all involved in erected this wonderful new statue. We know how much work must have gone into creating this lasting memorial.
With our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Melbourne, we hope that these will help to build awareness of the role of Lemnos in the Gallipoli campaign for generations to come.
I am sure that when we visit Sydney in the future, all on our Committee will pay your new memorial a visit. Well done.If anyone would like information on our memorial in Melbourne's Albert Park, please click here for the story of our unveiling in 2015 and photographs from the event. We hold an annual service at the Memorial on the first Saturday following the 8th August, the date of the arrival of the Australian nurses on Lemnos in 1915. To read about last years service, please click here.
Again on behalf of all at our Committee in Melbourne, congratulations on a job well done.

Lee Tarlamis
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Reproduced from Lemnos 1915 - "Unveiling sculpture ceremony of Anzac Nurse and Soldier:
A great morning at the unveiling ceremony of the Anzac Nurse and Soldier commemorative statue. This marks 102 years since the 3rd AIF disembarked on the Greek Island of Lemnos in preparation for the Gallipoli campaign. The work was created by Georges River Council’s first Artist in Residence, Athenian sculptor Takis Kozokos. Photos by Arthur Vergopoulos"

Reproduced from SBS:
"Μνημείο για τους ANZACs και την Λήμνο στην κεντρική πλατεία Kogarah
Μνημείο που καταδεικνύει τον σημαντικό ρόλο της Λήμνου στην εκστρατεία των ANZACs στην Καλλίπολη το 1915 κοσμεί εδώ και λίγες ώρες την κεντρική πλατεία του Kogarah, New South Wales, στα νότια προάστεια του Σύδνεϋ. Είναι έργο του Έλληνα καλλιτέχνη Τάκη Κοζόκου και δείχνει μία Αυστραλή νοσοκόμα να φροντίζει Αυστραλό τραυματισμένο στρατιώτη. Τα αποκαλυπτήρια έγιναν σήμερα το πρωί παρουσία: αξιαματούχων του Δήμου Georges River Council, αξιωματικού των Αυστραλιανών Ενόπλων Δυνάμεων, των ελληνικών προξενικών αρχών, ιερέων της Ελληνορθόδοξης Αρχιεπισκοπής, βουλευτών από την πολιτειακή κυβέρνηση και αντιπολίτευση, ομογενειακών παραγόντων και συμπαροίκων."

Photos from the unveiling by Arthur Vergopoulos below

Dr Stavros Kyrimis, Consulate General of Greece, Sydney
Photos by Liz Kaydos below

Photos by SBS below
Rosemary Dwyer, a descendant of Matron Grace Wilson, with Liz Kaydos of Lemnos 1915

Monday, 6 March 2017

Lemnos Book Recommendation - Geoffrey Morlett's Eye's Right!

In December 1914 Claude Morlet, a newly qualified doctor, set sail from Melbourne to do his duty for his Country in the First World War. After spending time in Egypt tending the wounded in Australian military hospitals, he got his wish to join the action and arrived in Gallipoli in September 1915 after the initial assault. He recorded his thoughts and observations in diaries and letters back home, many of which have survived, giving a first hand account of the action. Claude records his time on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign, including his visit to Sarpi (modern day Kalithea).
The diaries and letters have been knitted together with further background by his son Geoffrey, and illustrated with photographs from Claude's own collection.
The book is called Eye's Right! The Life of Claude Morlet, DSO, Eye Surgeon and Soldier and is published by Lythrum Press (2007). Price is $19.95. Available for order on-line from all good web bookstores.
Well worth a read by all interested in the Hellenic link to Anzac.
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

A Salonika Anzac - Balwyn's Sister Dorothy Sevilla White

The Balwyn War Memorial, Beckett Park, Balwyn. Photo Jim Claven 2017
Recently I visited the impressive war memorial in Balwyn. It stands like a miniature cenotaph on the top of the hill which is surrounds the gardens which form Beckett Park in Melbourne's eastern suburb of Balwyn.According to the Monuments Australia website, the Balwyn War Memorial was unveiled by Brigadier-General Brand on the 24th May 1919. The monument at the time of the unveiling contained the names of 146 soldiers and two nurses.
The memorial contains the names of the residents of north war in the City of Camberwell who fought in World War One. The memorial contains a further dedication to those who served in World War Two, Malaya, Korea, Borneo and Vietnam.
One of those names is another Anzac connection to Greece - Sister Dorothy White.
Attestation Paper of Dorothy White. NAA
Dorothy White - Balwyn's Salonika Nurse
Dorothy was born in Sydney on 20th January 1892. Research by Bill Richard states that:
"Dorothy was one of eight children, having 6 brothers and a sister. In the early 1900’s Dorothy and her family moved to Waratah in Pembroke Road, Balwyn. Charles was a bank manager with the London Bank and the family attended St Barnabas Anglican Church in 86 Balwyn Road, Balwyn. 
Two of her brothers also enlisted. Charles White was the first of the White boys to enlist when, as a nineteen year old, he joined the 37th Battalion on 6 March 1916. Charles embarked on 3rd June 1916 on the HMAS Persic. He suffered a gunshot wound to his arm in 1917 and was Mentioned in Dispatches. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in the 38th Battalion and arrived home on 12 May 1919. Norman White was a 26 year old bank clerk when he enlisted as a gunner in the field artillery on 19 October 1916. He embarked on 11 May 1917 on the HMAS Shropshire. During his service in France, he was gassed and suffered wounds to the head and arms. Norman returned to Australia on 7 April 1919."
Dorothy gained her nursing training at Melbourne Hospital, completing 5 years of training.
When she enlisted into the Australian Army Nursing Service on 12th July 1917 she was 25 years old and - as required by the Army - unmarried. She enlisted as a Staff Nurse, ending her Army career as a Sister.
HMAT Wiltshire. AWM
She embarked from Sydney, Australia, aboard the HMAT Wiltshire (A18) on 31st August 1917. She sailed as part of a contingent of 52nurses mainly recruited from the 2nd Military District (New South Wales), led by Matron Beryl Campbell.
After a period in Egypt, Dorothy disembarked from the transport shop Gorgon at the then named Salonika (modern day Thessaloniki) on the 22nd June 1918.
Sister Dorothy White Attestation Paper excerpt. NAA

The Salonika Front had been established in 1916 and would continue until the end of the wear in Eastern Mediterranean in October 1918. Dorothy and the other Australian soldiers and nurses who served here would serve as part of the British Salonika Force.
Salonika, Greece. c. October 1918. Australian Navy Torpedo Boat Destroyer HMAS Yarra entering the harbour after assisting in escorting a convoy. AWM
At Salonika, Dorothy served with the 50th, 42nd and 52nd British General Hospital. The 50th and 52nd Hospitals were located a Kalamaria, to the south east of Thessaloniki. The 42nd was also initially located here and then moved to Uchanta.
She did so as part of a large contingent of Australian nurses - more than served on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign - under the operational supervision of an Australian matron.
While on the Salonika Front, Dorothy's service history records periods of illness when she was admitted to some of the various British General Hospital's and Nurses Convalescent Camp, suffering from a range of illnesses including conjunctivitis and malaria in August, September and November 1918. Her illnesses stand testimony to the dreadful disease that be-deviled the troops who served here, especially malaria. She appears to have made a full recovery.
Australian nurses in their anti-malaria kit, Salonika Front, WW1. AWM
She sailed from Salonika's great harbour, beneath the impressive White Tower which still stands there, aboard the Dongala on 16th February 1919 bound for England.
After a short period in England, Dorothy returned to Australia on the 28 September 1919 and was discharged on 15th April 1920.
By 1924, Dorothy was living at 315 Barkers Road East Kew. For her service, she was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Detail from the Balwyn War Memorial, Beckett Park, Balwyn. Photo Jim Claven 2017
Her name is etched onto the Balwyn Memorial (above). She died and is buried in Maryborough Cemetery.
Remembering Salonika's Anzac Connection
Australia's participation in the Salonika Front is often overlooked.
Dorothy's service and the Balwyn War Memorial are a reminder of the Anzac connection to Greece through this campaign in World War One. Dorothy suffered illness during her service but thankfully she recovered. Such was not the fate of Ballarat Nurse Grace Munro who served with Dorothy, contracted malaria towards the end of the campaign and sadly died. She is buried at Thessaloniki's Mikra Commonwealth War Cemetery. Her medals are on display at the Ballarat RSL.
Lest we forget
Sources of information:
Attestation Paper of Dorothy White, National Archives of Australia;
Bill Pritchard, "Balwyn Families Touched by the War – The White Family", Balwyn Historical Society Newsletter, April 2011;

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee