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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

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