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, 30 October 2017

Remembering the Liberation of Lemnos - 23 October 1944

Liberation memorial at Myrina. Photo Jim Claven 2015
Earlier this month - on the 23rd October - was the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of the northern Aegean Island of Lemnos from German occupation in the Second World War.
The liberation was undertaken by the combined force of the Greek resistance - the andartes, many of whom came from nearby Lesvos to help liberate their neighbours - as well as soldiers of the Allied Special Boat Service led by the Scottish-born Major Jock Lapraik and including members of the Greek Sacred Squadron led by Colonel Bourdaras. The local resistance on Lemnos led by EAM's Andreas Noulas played their part in supporting the liberation.
The Germans did not leave without a fight. Withdrawing to Moudros, destroying bridges as they crosssed the Island, the German forces on Lemnos were engaged in a fierce firefight as they sought to depart. Miuch of Moudros tonw was destroyed by German mortar fire. One Greek Sacred Squadron officer - from Larissa - was killed, Lieutenant Panayiotis Dimoulas. And Major Lapraik received a head wound.
The fight ended with manty Germans killed, hundreds of prisoners and the sinking of the German vessels by the British Royal Navy's HMS Argonaut as they sought to depart Lemnos.
HMS Argonaut
Meanwhile the liberation was announced in Melbourne's Argus newspaper with its report the "the historic Lemnos Island" having been liberated - an obvious reference to the popular awareness in Melbourne of the role of Lemnos in the Gallipoli campaign!
And so modern day Argonaut's had returned to Lemnos and helped the Island - as Jason had done.
The liberation of Greece from the long years of German occupation is sadly rarely commemorated. It should be. In the later months of 1944, the liberation progressed across Greece's Island's and the mainland. The bravery of those who helped ended the occupation - whether civilians, andartes or members of the various armed services - should be remembered.
Next time you visit Lemnos, go to Myrina's Roman Shore and stand before the memorial to Lieutenant Panayiotis Dimoulas and the liberation of Lemnos in October 1944.
More to follow - watch this space.
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Remembering the Armistice of Mudros - Lee Tarlamis' Message

HMS Agamemnon at Mudros. AWM
99 years ago today, on the 30 October 1918, the Armistice of Moudros was signed on board the HMS Agamemnon in Moudros Harbour on the Greek Island of Lemnos.
The Armistice between the defeated Ottoman Empire and the Allied Forces ended the hostilities which started in the Dardanelles and at Gallipoli and was signed by the Ottoman Minister of Marine Affairs, Rauf Bey, and British Admiral Somerset Arthur Gough-Calthorpe.
The armistice was signed in the waters that sheltered the three war cemeteries containing the dead from the campaign in 1915 - at the Commonwealth Cemeteries at East Mudros and Portianou and on the Turks Head Peninsula, where the Muslim cemetery lies containing the graves of Ottoman prisoners of war who died on Lemnos in 1915.
The significant event of the signing of the Armistice in Lemnos was fitting as this was the location where the war in this region had begun. During these hostilities Lemnos was the principal assembly, embarkation and supply point for the Gallipoli landings and Moudros Harbour was a major staging post for naval operations.
It was the location of soldier rest camps and two Australian field hospitals and where the first overseas deployment of Australian Nurses to a war theatre took place. In fact there were over 130 Australian nurses on Lemnos during the Gallipoli Campaign and many more on the hospital ships in the harbour.
Plans are already underway for next year's 100th Anniversary of this significant event both in Lemnos and Australia and the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee will keep you informed of these events as they develop.
The commemoration of this event occurs a few days after 'OXI' Day and less than two weeks before we commemorate Remembrance Day. On these and other important occasions we take the time to commemorate and acknowledge the sacrifices of those who fought and died for the freedoms that we enjoy today. Lest we Forget.
Lee Tarlamis
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee 

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Lemnos Hero - Vale Cowes' Lance Corporal Raymond Thornton

Grave stone of Cowe's Lance Corporal Raymond Thornton. Photo Jim Claven 2015

Today we honour the service of Lance Corporal Raymond Thornton served at Lemnos and on Gallipoli - and remains on Lemnos in East Mudros Military Cemetery.
Raymond Thornton had been born at Cowes, Phillip Island, to the south east of Melbourne - now a popular tourist destination.
By the time he was 21 years old, Raymond was yet to be married and living with his parents and two sisters at 55 Donald Street in Prahran and working as a "Letter Carrier" - the original name for what we would now call an Australia Post Postie!
He enlisted almost as soon as war broke out in Europe, going to the enlistment centre in Prahran to complete his Attestation Papers on the 19th August 1914.
Raymond recorded his previous 3 years military experience with the senior cadets at Healesville, on Melbourne's eastern fringe.
He was enlisted into the 2nd Field Ambulance of the Australian Army Medical Corps as Private 224.
After training at Broadmeadows, Raymond and his comrades made their way to Port Melbourne's Princes Pier for their departure for Europe aboard the troopship Whiltshire on the 19th October 1914.
By the 5th April Raymond was sailing from Alexandria for Lemnos' Mudros Bay. By the time he arrived at Gallipoli, he had been promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal.
As we know from the fate of that other medic - Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick of the 3rd Field Ambulance - ferrying the wounded and sick from the Gallipoli trenches to the field hospitals and piers was a dangerous task.
And so it was that Raymond recieved a fatal gunshot wound to his right side at Gallipoli on the 27th May 1915. He died as he was being treated on the Hospital Ship Dunluce Castle.
He was taken ashore and buried at East Mudros Military Cemetery. I have visited his grave stone, my photograph of it is reproduced above.

Maybe we should have a plaque on Phillip Island, commemorating this digger from Cowes who came all the way to Gallipoli and was buried on Lemnos.

Vale Raymond Thornton of Cowes, Philip Island.

This is just one of connections between the wider Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia, and Lemnos' role in the Gallipoli campaign.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committe

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Cyprus Mule Corps history - New Book by Adelaide's Dr Andrekos Varnava

Adelaide-based historian Dr Andrekos Varnava has released his new book on the famous Cyprus Mule Corps and its war service in the First World War, including on the Salonica Front. This follows on his previous work "British Imperialism in Cyprus 1878-1915" also published by Manchester University Press.
The promotion for the book states:
"This book contributes to the growing literature on the role of the British non-settler empire in the Great War by exploring the service of the Cypriot Mule Corps on the Salonica Front, and after the war in Constantinople.
Varnava encompasses all aspects of the story of the Mule Corps, from the role of the animals to the experiences of the men driving them both during and after the war, as well as how and why this significant story in the history of Cyprus and the British Empire has been forgotten.
The book will be of great value to anyone interested in the impact of the Great War upon the British Empire in the Mediterranean, and vice- versa."

Andrekos Varnava is Associate Professor in Imperial and Military History at Flinders UniversityCypriots would go on to serve in the Second World War with the Cyprus Regiment, including taking part in the Greek campaign of 1941.
You can purchase the book direct from Manchester University Press by clicking here or via Abebooks by clicking here.
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

President's Message - 105th Anniversay of the Liberation of Lemnos in 1912

Last Sunday was a significant day for the Greek Island of Lemnos as 105 years ago on the 8th October 1912 Admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis aboard the Aegean Fleet Flagship 'Averof' liberated the island ending over 456 years of foreign rule. The Greek forces landed near Vourlidia in the bay of Mudros and travelled inland where the first flag of liberation was raised on the small bridge opposite the Church of Assumption of the Virgin Mary in the village of Tsimandria.
Which is the village where my father was born, my grandmother’s family are from and where many of my relatives still live. Lemnos has a rich and diverse history and there is a strong connection between Lemnos and Australia which dates back to the Gallipoli Campaign in the First World War in 1915.
The Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee has been working hard to promote the significant role that Lemnos has played and to ensure that it is better understood, recognised and not forgotten. That’s why we built the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park, why we worked hard to have its location named Lemnos Square, why we have commissioned a book to educate people about the important history of Lemnos and its Anzac connection and so many other projects.
There are many reasons for Lemnians to be proud of their history and their achievements – and I am certainly proud of my Lemnian heritage and the outcomes that have and will continue to be achieved by the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee. I congratulate the Lemnian Community around the world on this important anniversary.
Lee Tarlamis
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee