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

Sunday, 27 August 2017

A British Nurse in Greece 1940-41

Just found this old book which gives various first hand accounts of nurses serving at the various fronts in WW2 - including the Greek campaign of 1940-41. 
A little appreciated aspect of the Greek campaign was the service of British, Australian and New Zealand nurses.
This book contains the memoir of a British nurse with the British Territorial Army Nursing Service (known as TANS) who arrived in Greece in November 1940 as part of the early British effort to support Greece's defence against the Italian invasion (the British also sent airforce units which served at the front in support of the Greek ground forces). 
They first provided medical care to injured Greek soldiers from the Albanian front (at a hospital at Kephissia) and later after the invasion injured German POW and Allied troops. They were some of the last nurses to be evacuated from the area, leaving on 23rd April and being evacuated to Crete from Megara. 
After a brief stay on Crete they were evacuated from Crete to Egypt - as nearly all nurses were. We do know of one British Red Cross nurse who remained on Crete and served during the Battle of Crete.
The nurse in this book records a beautiful description of Kephissia and Athens: 
"The beauty of the mountains, the fields, the flowers, the lovely pinewoods running down to the sea, the clear sunny atmosphere, the laughing hospitality of the people, the spirit of freedom - all theses things made us happy. The Acropolis also is most wonderful. I never imagined such perfect splendour."

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial Commemorative Service 2017 - Congratulations!

Lemnos Gallipoli Committee members with Col Jan McCarthy (at right). Photo Peter Ford 2017
As the President of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee I would like to thank all those who attended, took part in or helped organise our annual Commemorative event earlier today at the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial.
The feelings of pride that we all experienced when we unveiled this Memorial two years ago, were repeated today with the official naming of Lemnos Square and unveiling of the new sign acknowledging this naming that will soon accompany our Memorial.

Cr Bernadene Voss and Lee Tarlamis unveil the mock-up of the proposed Lemnos Square sign. Photo Peter Ford 2017
Appropriately we also welcomed the addition of an olive tree. We will continue our work to promote the important connection between Lemnos, Greece and the Anzac's and the role of the nurses, diggers and local Lemnians during this defining time of our country. Stay tuned for announcements of more initiatives soon and thank you again for all your valuable support.
Photo Peter Ford 2017

Piper Squadron Leader Steve Campbell-Wright. Photo Peter Ford 2017

Cadets of 30 Amry Cadet Unit form the catafalque party. Photo Jim Papadimitriou 2017

The RAN Band perform. Photo Peter Ford 2017

Thanks to all who were able to join us - Cr Bernadene Voss, Mayor of Port Phillip, Colonel (Ret.) Jan McCarthy, Father Konstantinos, Members of Parliament, Councillors, Royal Australian Navy Band, Piper Squadron Leader Steve Campbell-Wright, 30 Army Cadet Unit, the various descendants of Anzac's who served on Lemnos as soldiers or nurses, representatives of a number of Melbourne's Hellenic community organisations, members of our Committee and the many members of Melbourne's Lemnian community who attended. Your involvement was essential to making our event such a success.
And thanks to Peter Ford for the photos and to John Irwin for filming the event.

Lee Tarlamis
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Thursday, 10 August 2017

BBC Scotland reports on our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial

Piper Alan Leggett performs at our unveiling ceremony in 2015. Photo Anthony Leong 2015
A key element of every Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial commemorative event is the playing of the bagpipes by a Scottish piper. This has been performed at our unveiling and at each of our annual commemorations.We do so in tribute to the 3rd Australian General Hospital's Warrant Officer Archibald Monk who piped the Australian nurses ashore at Lemnos' Turks Head Peninsula on the 8th August 1915.
Piper Steve Campbell-Wright performs at the inaugural commemoreative service, August 2016. Photo Peter Ford 2016.
A native of the Scottish Outer Hebrides Island of Benbecula, Archibald had served in the Cameron Highlanders before he decided to join the rush of new migrants to Australia. It was after arriving in Australia, working as a hospital orderly, that he joined the Australian Imperial Force in March 1915.
Piper Archbald Monk pipes ashore the Australian nurses, August 1915. AWM
I have recounted Archibald's story on a previous post. You can read that post by clicking here.
Scottish Anzac's
Some 30% of the Anzac's were overseas-born, with 18% coming from the United Kingdom. Archibald would have been one of many Scottish-born Anzac's.
Some preliminary research reveals that Anzac's even came from some of the more remote parts of Scotland - 73 having been born in Shetland and 54 from Orkney, 7 of the latter being killed in Western France. They include diggers like Kirkwall-born Private (Service Number 4441) James Millar of the 33rd Australian Infantry Battalion, a 22 year old carpenter, who was wounded at Gallipoli on the 18th August 1915 and brought to Mudros' Australian Hospitals. After a bought of enteric fever, James was repatriated back to Australia in January 1916.
And of course, there is the commanding officer of the 6th Australian infantry Brigade - Colonel Richard Linton - who was born in Dalton, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He was off Lemnos with the torpedoing of the troopship Southland in 1915.
These are just some of the Anzac migration stories. 
BBC Scotland and the Monk Connection  
The news is that today we have been contacted by a relative of Archibald who has provided us with more information on this famous piper on Lemnos.
Ms Seonag Monk works with BBC Scotland's Gaelic language service and although based in Glasgow (my birthplace) was himself born on Benbecula.
Archibald Monk was Seonag's grandfather John Monk's brother from the Island of Benbecula.
She told me that Archibald's family knew that he had gone to Australia but had no more news of him.
Seonag writes that the family story is that on the day Archibald left the island that he had been out ploughing in his his home village of Uachdar. At this time making a living in the Hebrides was difficult with much poverty. As Seonag says:
"The story goes that he stopped the plough mid furrow and released the horses headed home and changed into a clean pair of trousers and left the island forever."
This story will have much resonance with Lemnos' migrants to Australia - and many others - who also left the land of their birth due to difficult circumstances at home and made a new life in Australia.
Seonag will announce our coming Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial commemorative service during his afternoon music show with the BBC's Gaelic language program. As Seonag says the program has "many listeners from the gaelic diaspora worldwide."
Update - The BBC Scotland Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee program.
Well I know most of you won't be able to understand Scots Gaelic but here it is - the Lemnos connection to Anzac has been broadcast on the BBC Scotland's Gaelic language program. You can listen to it by clicking here.
If you listen in from 21.19 minutes onwards, you'll hear mention of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, Lemnos, Anzac and the Nurses, the announcement of Lemnos Square's naming, Archibald Monk - the Anzac piper from Benbecula who welcomed the nurses to Lemnos in 1915 - and one of our pipers Steve Campbell-Wright, who will be performing later today at our Memorial. Seonag also plays Eric Bogle's And the band played Waltzing Matilda - sung by the Pogues - a great version!

A big thank you to Seonag Monk, a relative of Archibald Monk and to both Alan and Steve Campbell-Wright for volunteering their services at our events, enabling us to pay homage to Piper Archibald Monk - The Piper of Lemnos!

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Lemnos Hero - Private Edward James Cummings - Digger and Freemason

Gravestone of Private Edward Cummings, East Mudros Military Cememtery, Lemnos. Photo Jim Claven 2015
Today we recognise the service of Private (Service Number 2052) Edward James Cummings who was buried on Lemnos this month 102 years ago.
Edward is the first Freemason to be identified among the diggers buried on Lemnos.
Edward enlisted at Liverpool on the 18th January 1915 into the 5th Reinforcements of the 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion 5th Reinforcements. He was relatively old for a digger, recording his age as 33 years old on his AIF Attestation Paper.
Sydney Morning Herald, 9th September 1915. Uploaded to NAA by Kiely McGregor
An engineer by profession - or more specifically an engineers pattern maker, Edward had been born in England - at St Mary’s Extra in Southampton, Hampshire. By the time he enlisted Edward was living at Napier Street in Drummoyne, NSW - residing with the Bulfin family - and by this stage his next of kin was given to be his brother George Cummings of Victoria Dock, London. He was one of many diggers born in the United Kingdom.
Edward embarked from Sydney on the HMAT A55 Kyarra on 13th April 1915.
Having served on the Gallipoli peninsula for a number of months, Edward was tragically wounded and while at sea aboard the SS Reiva died of these wounds. He had received a"shrapnel wound head” during action on the peninsula.
He was taken ashore at Lemnos and buried in East Mudros Military Cemetery on 3rd August 1915. His grave is located at III. D. 53.
His family requested the following epitaph to be placed on his grave stone – “God be with you Till we meet again.”
Service File of Private Edward James Cummings, NAA
Among his personal effects returned to his family was a "masonic diploma." While he is most likely not to have been the only Freemason to have been buried on Lemnos, this is the first time I have discovered documentary evidence of such.

Service File of Private Edward James Cummings, NAA
Another possible digger buried on Lemnos who may also have been Freemason is another English-born Anzac - Corporal (Service Number 353) John Charles Douglas of the 1st Divisional Headquarters. Born in Hackney, London, John was 23 years old when he succumbed to enteric fever and typhoid while under the care of the medical facilities on Lemnos. He is also buried in East Mudros Military Cemetery. After his death, his next of kin - his sister Ethel - sought particulars of her brothers death, in part "for Lodge purposes" This reproduced below. This implies that John may well have also been a Freemason.
Correspondence of Ethel Stott, Service File of Corporal John Charles Douglas, NAA.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Friday, 4 August 2017

Reminder - Lemnos Gallipoli Commemoration Next Saturday

Download our event leaflet!

A reminder to all that our Second Annual Commemorative Service in recognition of Lemnos' role in the Gallipoli campaign will take place next Saturday, 12th August 2017, starting at 11am, at the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial, Lemnos Square, Foote Street, Albert Park.
Our President Lee Tarlamis will be Master of Ceremonies.
This year our event will take place at the same location - recently re-named Lemnos Square by the Victorian Government on the submission of the City of Port Phillip, following our proposal to the City.
Colonel (Retired) Ms Jan McCarthy will give this year's keynote address. Jan is a former Director of Army Nursing and current President of the Returned Nurses Sub-Branch of the RSL. She served in 1st Field Hospital in Vung Tau during 1968-1969 during the Vietnam War and went on to complete 26 years service with the Australian Army.
In honour of Warrant Officer Archibald Monk who welcomed the Australian nurses to Lemnos in August 1915 - Shrine Governor & Squadron Leader Steve Campbell-Wright will play the bagpipes at the event.
Again we will have representatives of the Sunshine 30ACU Cadet Unit, thanks to Major Terry Kanellos, Committee member and Secretary of the RSL Hellenic Sub-Branch.
And a lot more!
A big thank you to Committee member and Lemnos veteran descendant Deb Stewart for distributing 500 of the above event leaflets throughout the surrounding area of the Memorial.

Come along. All welcome.
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee