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: Bendigo Bank; Account No: 188010037; BSB No: 633000; 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

Thursday 18 April 2024

Lemnos Nurse Daley-Sergeant Lawrence graves to be recognized in St Kilda Cemetery Tour - 28 April 2024


 LGCC members and supporters will be aware that Friends of St Kilda Library (FOSKL) will recognize the Daley/Lawrence graves in the forthcoming Anzac Day related tour which will take place on 28 April 2024. 

The tour is entitled - Remembering Our Fallen - and will recognize a number of Anzacs buried in the cemetery. The tour will be led by the FOSKL's Claire Barton. The tour will commence from the Dandenong Road Pavilion of the St Kilda Cemetery at 1.45pm for a 2pm start. Those attending are advised to wear appropriate footwear as surfaces can be uneven. A small attendance charge is required ($5 FOSKL members, $15 non-members), afternoon Tea included. Tour leaflet can be downloaded 

This recognition follows much lobbying by the LGCC of the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust and FOSKL over many years. 

The Daley/Lawrence grave is particularly significant in that it is not only a dual Anzac grave - containing the remains of both Nurse Clarice Lawrence and Sergeant Ernest Lawrence - but it is the only grave to contain two Anzacs who were married on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign. Their story is of course recounted in our publication - Lemnos & Gallipoli Revealed.

The LGCC has raised the profile of the graves by our having held small commemorative gatherings, with Daley/Lawrence descendants, at the graves following the annual Albert Jacka service held there (pictured above). To read a report on a previous gathering click here.

Members of the Daly/Lawrence family will be attending the gathering and tour. 

All welcome.

Those wishing to attend should contact 0488 740 195 or email GKP@NETSPACE.NET.AU

Jim Claven OAM, LGCC Secretary

Anzac Lemnos 1915 Documentary and Through These Lines Playscript Release Announced


New Anzac Lemnos 1915 Documentary

"Anzac. Lemnos. 1915." is a new one hour documentary film recounting the “the little known role of Lemnos, the unsung hero in the shadow of Gallipoli", combining rare visual archives and gripping personal accounts. The film seeks to bring to life what that chapter in Australia’s wartime history was like.

Information from the fundraising Documentary Australia website states that Mr Pria Viswalingam is the Director and Ms Liz Kaydos is the Producer of the documentary. It provides the following synopsis for the film:

The extraordinary story of a Greek island in the Aegean and its pivotal role in the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915. With rare visual archive and compelling personal accounts, this unique documentary explores a little known setting during Australia’s first war that was crucial in the shaping of our modern identity with themes that reach through the decades and stir the national interest. These include: the critical role of Lemnos in the Gallipoli Campaign; Women in Conflict Contexts (in National School Curriculum); Pioneering medicine in war zones; and, The foundation of Greek-Australian relations. Few people are aware that Lemnos served as the base for the Allied campaign against the Ottoman Empire. The island became the M*A*S*H for the Gallipoli campaign where medical procedures were pioneered in make-shift conditions under challenging environmental extremes.

Below is a review of the documentary from The Age (Melbourne):


The documentary is being presented by the Lemnian Association of NSW, in partnership with the Consulate General of Greece in Sydney, and will be screened first at the club’s premises in Belmore on Tuesday 23 April (6.30pm for a 7pm start) before airing on SBS on Anzac Day.

To book for the Belmore screening click here.

Watch on SBS FREE-to-air and On Demand on Anzac Day, 25 April 7:30pm.

Through These Lines Playscript Release

A new edition of Cheryl Ward’s play script for Through These Lines, an original 5 act play based on the letters and diaries of Australian army nurses in WWI.

Follow Sister Florence Whiting on her four-year journey, from departure on the troopship Kyarra to tours of duty in Egypt, Lemnos and France. Flo and her fellow nursing sisters are outnumbered and out of their element, their skill dismissed by senior officers. Against a backdrop of lantern-lit wards, bright Mediterranean skies and crowded, muddy fields, we see Flo fight to find her place.

As the promotional material states, the book is “based on meticulous research, Through These Lines is an honest account of women in war. There is humour, anger, hope, sadness and frustration. But most of all there is courage – Flo sees her task through to the end.”

 “Out of the ordinary” – ydney Morning Herald; “Grabs the audience’s attention and emotions right ‘til the very end” – The Blurb; “Sad. Affecting. And very worthwhile” –Crikey

For more information, click here.

Jim Claven OAM, LGCC Secretary



Thursday 4 April 2024

Lemnos & Gallipoli Revealed Book and more - New Bookshop Outlets Announced

Our impressive Lemnos & Gallipoli Revealed Book is now available for purchase at a range of new outlets. Details of how to contact and order a copy are set out below.

Lemnos & Gallipoli Revealed tells the story of the role of Lemnos in the Gallipoli campaign, through the words and photographs of the Anzacs, who served there. Read about the meeting of Greeks and Australians in this northern Aegean Island. All explained in this 350 page larger format hardback book features lavish reproductions of over 300 photographs. Published by the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee.

More information: https://lemnosgallipolicc.blogspot.com/2019/08/lemnos-gallipoli-revealed-pictorial.html

Melbourne

Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria - Greek Centre Bookshop -  Contact Details: Level 3, 168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne; Email: bookshop@greekcommunity.com.au. Website link (for ordering): https://bookshop.greekcommunity.com.au/product/lemnos-gallipoli-revealed-a-pictorial-history-of-anzacs-in-the-aegean-1915-16/. This bookshop also stocks Grecian Adventure.

Royal Historical Society of Victoria Bookshop - Contact Details: 239 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne Victoria, 3000; Phone: 03 93269288; Email: office@historyvictoria.org.au; Website link (for ordering): https://www.historyvictoria.org.au/product/lemnos-and-gallipoli-revealed-a-pictorial-history-of-the-anzac-in-the-aegean-1915-16-by-jim-claven//

Readings Bookshop - Carlton - Contact Details: 309 Lygon Street, Carlton, Victoria, 3053; Phone 9347 633; Email: customerservice@readings.com.au; Website link (for ordering): https://www.readings.com.au/product/9780646996615/lemnos-gallipoli-revealed-a-pictorial-history-of-the-anzacs-in-the-aegean-1915-16--jim-claven-editor-appendix-by-lee-tarlamis-foreword--9780646996615. This bookshop also stocks Grecian Adventure.

Sydney

Greek Bilingual Bookshop - Contact Details: 180 Unwins Bridge Road St Peters NSW 2044; Mobile 0400436079; Website link (for ordering): https://bilingualbookshop.com.au/reference/. This bookshop also stocks Grecian Adventure.

Canberra

Australian War Memorial Bookstore - Contact Details: 20 Treloar Crescent, Campbell ACT 2612; Phone: +61 (02) 6243 4555; Email: memorial.shop@awm.gov.au.

Australia-wide/Overseas Orders

The Book Grocer - Contact Details: 5/101 Keilor Park Drive, Tullamarine, Vic 3043; Phone: 03 9310 3938; Email: hello@bookgrocer.com; Website: https://bookgrocer.com/.

More Books Available

While there you might like to ask the bookshop about obtaining a copy of the other books we are promoting:

Grecian Adventure –takes the reader on a journey across Greece in April and May 1941, following the Anzac trail throughout the Greek campaign, from the battlefields of the mainland and across to Crete. This 334 page paperback tells the story through the individual stories and photographs of some of the Australian soldiers who served there and nearly 100 never before published original photographs. Published by the Pammessinian Brotherhood Papaflessas. 

More information: https://lemnosgallipolicc.blogspot.com/2022/05/new-book-jim-clavens-grecian-adventure.html

From Imbros Over The Sea is a unique re-telling of the story of the northern Aegean Island of Imbros and Gallipoli, drawing on many archival collections in Australia and overseas for its reproduction of photographs and artworks. It is the first time that so many of these images have been published together, accompanied by the author’s historical commentary, in a single, accessible volume. This 132 page paperback is illustrated with 80 photographs and 3 original maps. Published by the Imvrians’ Society of Melbourne.

More information: https://lemnosgallipolicc.blogspot.com/2023/09/imbros-gallipoli-revealed-new-book.html

To order please contact georgexinos@gmail.com or scan the QR code to order online.

Jim Claven OAM, Author Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Secretary


Friday 27 October 2023

Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed Book - Order Now

The new book - From Imbros Over The Sea - Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed - can now be ordered directly online.

The book is available to order from the Imvrian Society of Melbourne. The book is priced at $35 plus postage. Please Note - The book will be shipped or available for pick up in November 2023.

The book can be order via the following weblink - From Imbros Over The Sea - Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed Book - Order

Alternatively the book can be ordered directly by scanning the following QR code:

Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed - The Book

Imbros played a major role in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915-16. The safest base close to the Peninsula, Imbros and its harbours would host hundreds of ships and thousands of Allied soldiers and sailors throughout the nearly twelve months of the campaign, including many Australians. It would be transformed by the infrastructure needed for a major military and naval base. these new arrivals would spread across the Island beyond their main camps at Kephalos Bay, viewing the mountains and valleys of Imbros, crossing its farmlands rich in produce, visiting its towns and villages an meeting its people.

This book and its accompanying Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed Exhibition brings to life the story of the life the story of the link between Imbros and Gallipoli for the first time, from records and photographs held in archives across the world.

The book comprises some 132 pages telling the Imbros-Gallipoli story in detail, includes a detailed timeline listing key events concerning Imbros connection to Gallipoli, references for further reading and is illustrated with 80 photographs and 3 original maps from the Exhibition.

For more information on the book and its associated exhibition go to the following link - From Imbros Over The Sea - Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed Book - Information


Jim Claven
Author & Secretary Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee




Sunday 15 October 2023

Annual Armistice of Mudros Commemoration at Melbourne’s Shrine – All Welcome


All are welcome to join with the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee in commemoration of the Armistice of Mudros. The annual service will be held in the Sanctuary of Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, commencing at 11.45am on Tuesday 31 October.

Those wishing to attend may join with members of the Committee who will gather at 11.15am at the Lemnos Tree near the Shrine forecourt before proceeding to the Shrine Sanctuary.

This commemorative service marks the 105th anniversary of the coming into effect of the Armistice of Mudros at noon on the 31st October 1918. The Armistice was signed the previous day by representatives of the Entente Powers, represented by the British Admiral Arthur Calthorpe, and those of the Ottoman Empire.

The negotiations and signing ceremony took place aboard the Royal Navy warship HMS Agamemnon anchored in Mudros Bay in the northern Aegean Island of Lemnos (pictured above). HMS Agamemnon had played a major role as part of the Naval forces in the Gallipoli campaign and the Island of Lemnos as the advance base throughout the campaign.

Now both Lemnos and HMS Agamemnon played host to the signing of the Armistice which brought to an end the First World War across the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. For tens of thousands of Australian soldiers across the region, the First World War was now at an end.

In many respects the war that for Australia had begun as the troops departed Lemnos’ Mudros Bay for Gallipoli was now formally ended in the same waters.


Following the proposal by the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee and its support by the Shrine Governors, in 2019 the Committee dedicated the Memorial Tree B37 in the Shrine gardens (pictured above and below) and unveiled the above plaque in recognition of all Australian service personnel who served on the Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign of 1915-16. This is now a permanent commemorative memorial to the role of Lemnos at Melbourne’s iconic Shrine of Remembrance. The Committee thanks the Shrine Governors for their support for this initiative.


Those wishing to lay a wreath or seeking more information on the service should contact Jim Claven via email – jimclaven@yahoo.com.au

Lemnos & Gallipoli Revealed Book Donation

The Committee encourages all seeking to lay a wreath to consider purchasing and laying a copy of our commemorative book - Lemnos & Gallipoli Revealed - for the price of $50. This book can then be gifted to an institution of your own choice (such as a school, university, public library, RSL club etc). 

To do so please contact our President - Lee Tarlamis OAM MP - via email (lee.tarlamis@hotmail.com). You can deposit $50 into our Committee account (Account Name: Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Inc; Bank: Bendigo Bank; Account No: 188010037; BSB No: 633000) and insert your name and "LGR Book" into the deposit name.

Jim Claven, Secretary Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Friday 15 September 2023

Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed - New Book Released - Order Now

 

Jim Claven’s new book – From Imbros Over The Sea - the Imbros & Gallipoli Exhibition Guide. Photo Kostas Deves 2023.

“Imbros, that queen of the isles, sleeps like a goddess wrapt about in a garment of violet and silver …” Imbros, 3 May 1915, Captain John Gillam, Royal Army Service Corps. 

Recently our Secretary – the historian Jim Claven – curated a new pictorial and historical display telling the story of the role of the northern Aegean Island of Imbros (modern day Gokzeada) in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915-16.

This Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed Exhibition was launched in June 2023 by the Imvrians’ Society of Melbourne at the Parkdale Greek Orthodox Church, with our President Mr Lee Tarlamis OAM MP officiating representing the Minister for Veterans, the Victorian Government and the Victorian Veterans Council.

To complement this project Jim Claven has written a new book –From Imbros Over the Sea - Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed – A Pictorial & Historical Overview and An Exhibition Guide.

It is now available for order (details below).

A Unique Offering

The book is unique, possibly the first book dedicated to telling the story of Imbros and Gallipoli in any detail. He covers the long history of Imbros and its people, the coming of the Gallipoli campaign and its major impact on the Island.  He tells the story in both words and pictures, drawing on many archival collections in Australia and overseas. It publishes many of these images – photographs and artworks – for the first time. It is certainly the first time that so many of these – along with Mr Claven’s own photographs of Imbros – have been published together, accompanied by Jim’s historical commentary, in a single, accessible volume.

The book comprises some 132 pages telling the Imbros-Gallipoli story in detail, includes a detailed timeline listing key events concerning Imbros connection to Gallipoli, references for further reading and is illustrated with 80 photographs and 3 original maps from the Exhibition.

“This is a story that needed to be told. As we delve into the archives of the Gallipoli campaign, the story of Imbros – like that of Lemnos and Tenedos – emerges from the records. My small contribution to the re-telling of this story will hopefully stimulate a new conversation and other researchers on their own journey of discovery to tell Imbros’ Gallipoli story in all its aspects”, Mr Claven said.

The book takes its title from a famous war poem Stand with me, Achilles, written by Patrick Shaw-Stewart, an officer with the British Royal Naval Division, as he rested on Imbros during the campaign.

Imbros from myth to Gallipoli

The book outlines Imbros place in Greek myth and history and then proceeds to explain the various aspects of why and how Imbros came to be involved in the campaign – from the arrival of the first Allied ships off Imbros to the evacuation of the Peninsula and the end of the campaign.

Boats in Kephalos Bay, Imbros 1915-16. AWM Collection.

Imbros Transformed– The Forward Base for the Campaign

It sets out how Imbros was transformed into the forward military and naval base for the campaign, with the erection of new piers and navigational aids, with anti-submarine nets to protect the hundreds of Allied ships that would come and go from its harbour at Kephalos Bay. It also tells the story of the great storm that hit Kephalos Bay and its Allied shipping in November.

The Allied base on Imbros, August 1915. AWM Collection.

It explains the establishment of the various army camps and supply depots, medical facilities and road ways. These included the Allied Bakeries established on Imbros to supply the army with fresh bread, vital sustenance to the diet and morale of the troops.  The Army camps would fill with troops returning from the Peninsula for rest and again at the end of the campaign. It also discusses the establishment of the war cemeteries on Imbros and some of the burials there, including Australians.

The Australian Field Bakery on Imbros. 1915. Courtesy AWM.

The shores of Kephalos Bay were home to the Allied Headquarters of the campaign – as well as the home for its war correspondents. The former would be guarded by troops on rotation from the Peninsula, including soldiers from two Australian battalions. It was at the latter that the Australian war correspondent Charles Bean compiled The Anzac Book, a volume of writings and drawings by Australians soldiers at the front that would become a best-seller across Australia.

Aircraft at Kephalos on Imbros, 1915-16. Pollard Collection/Cross & Cockade Archive.

It explains Imbros’ role as an Allied airbase, with seaplanes, aircraft and balloons as well as a helium-filled airship. The world’s first purpose built aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal would be anchored in Kephalos Bay for many months, its seaplanes departing and returning from their missions in support of the troops on the Peninsula.

The airship and its hangar on Imbros, with a local villager in the foreground. Imbros, 1915. Watercolour by Horace Moore-Jones. AWM Collection.

Inspiring Imbros

Imbros would inspire some Allied soldiers and sailor to write poetry or make artworks. On the 13th July, while staying on Imbros, Patrick Shaw-Stewart would one of the most famous poems of the war, Achilles in the Trench, the poem ending with the soldier returning to Gallipoli “From Imbros over the sea”. Charles Bean and his Australian correspondent’s team would assemble the famous and best-selling Anzac Book while staying at “Villa Pericles” at Kephalos. Others drew and painted scenes of the island, including the New Zealand soldier-artist Horace Moore-Jones who depicted the various Allied camps and aircraft within the natural environment of Imbros – as well as watercolours of villages and churches. Both Australian Sapper Alec Holland of the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train and Charles Bean would produce artworks depicting Imbros from the sea during their Gallipoli service.

Priest from Panagia on Imbros visiting the Allied base at Kephalos, 1915-16. Pollard Collection/Cross & Cockade Archive.

Discovering Imbros and its People

“Here I am, living in a Greek village, speaking the language of Demosthenes to the inhabitants.” Imbros, June-July 1915, Patrick Shaw-Stewart, Royal Naval Division

The book also tells the story of the how the campaign impacted on the local population, as they interacted with their new soldier-visitors, in the harbour and on its shores or as they  traversed the Island’s hinterland, visiting its villages and towns, experiencing its environment and history. Imbros and Gallipoli is also the story of the meeting of two peoples – the overwhelmingly Hellenic population of the Island and the soldiers, sailors and airmen of many lands – from Australia, New Zealand and Britain – during often brief periods of respite from the terrible fighting on the Peninsula.

Some would be invited to take part in local village celebrations, in an intimate encounter with Imbros’ population. They would write of hearing the songs, seeing the dances and enjoying the food and beverages – and hospitality of the island. They would rest atop Castro, gazing across at Samothrace, musing on Homer and the ancient history of the land on which they walked, before taking a refreshing swim in its waters.

Importantly this tells the story of Imbros from another light – from the view of the young men who came there from far away, who captured its life in their own words, photographs and artworks, leaving behind legacy for all, including the descendents of both the Imbrians and the veterans who served there.


Australian soldiers playing a game with Greek children in the courtyard of a stone house on Imbros. January 1916. AWM Collection.

Along with the many photographs reproduced in the book, this story is complemented by the creation of maps, detailing the location of Imbros in the Northern Aegean, its main villages and contours as well as the various Allied establishments on the Island (see below). 


A Story in Pictures – Unique and Printed Together for the First Time

The book is lavishly illustrated with 80 photographs, drawn from the Exhibition, some of which are reproduced here. These include photographs of Imbros during the campaign reproduced with permission from the Australian War Memorial as well as those from the collection of the First World War Aviation Society in the UK. The vast majority of these images have never before been published and certainly not in a volume dedicated to telling the story of Imbros and Gallipoli. To the many archival photographs are added a number from the author’s private collection, depicting Imbros and its Gallipoli campaign- connected locations today.

Australians at Kephalos, 1915-16. Pollard Collection/Cross & Cockade Archive.

Approaching the entrance to Kephalos Bay. The great barrier of the Tusla Peninsula can be seen at left, with Cape Kephalos at the end. 2015. Photo Jim Claven.

Kephalos Bay, with the Tusla Peninsula in the distance. 2015. Photo Jim Claven.

The Author

Jim Claven is a trained historian who has both BA and MA degrees from Melbourne’s Monash University. His is freelance writer and published author, including Lemnos & Gallipoli Revealed (2019) and Grecian Adventure (2021) as well as numerous historical articles in a range of journals and newspapers. Secretary of the Melbourne-based Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee he has worked on the creation of the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park, the Australian Pier Memorial on Lemnos and the Lemnos & Gallipoli Revealed photographic exhibition, to name only a few of his many commemorative projects. Amongst his other interests, he has been researching the Hellenic link to Anzac for over a decade, both in Australia and overseas.

Historian Jim Claven on Imbros. 2015. Photo Jim Claven.

Order Now

The book is now available and copies will be shipped to purchasers in November. The book will sell for $35 each plus postage. You can order your copy by clicking on the following link - Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed Book Order Form

You can also contact either George Xinos at georgexinos@gmail.com.au or Jim Claven at jimclaven@yahoo.com.au.

Jim Claven, Secretary Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee & Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed Exhibition Curator and Author

Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed Exhibition - The Story of Imbros and its Gallipoli Connection - Launch and New Locations

The Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed Exhibition - some of the display panels. Photo Jim Claven 2023

Over the past few months it has been my pleasure to work with the Melbourne's Imvrian Society on a beautiful new project. The Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed Exhibition is a new pictorial and historical display telling the story of the role of the northern Aegean Island of Imbros in the Gallipoli campaign. It reveals this story through not only the Island’s role as a military and naval base for the campaign but how this role impacted on the people of the Island.

This story is told through the display of 21 large panels, each explaining the different ways the campaign impacted on the Island and the various stages of the campaign’s impact on the Island. A further explanation of these themes and stages, as well as reproduction of some the panels themselves is set out below. The Exhibition project is supported by a complementary new publication, authored by myself, which will be launched in coming weeks.

From Imbros Over the Sea - Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed - The book - to be launched soon. Photo Kostas Deves 2023.

The Exhibition was sponsored by the Imvrian Society of Melbourne Inc with the funding support of the Victorian Government’s Veterans Council, the City of Council and community fundraising. The Society supported the project due its wish to raise awareness of the role of their Island in the Gallipoli campaign and Australia’s Anzac story.

The Exhibition was curated by myself, drawing on my extensive research into the impact of the Gallipoli campaign on the Island’s of the northern Aegean (especially Lemnos, Imbros and Tenedos) as well as field visits to the Island. New research identified important new archival photographic and documentary source materials which have proved essential to the Exhibition. I acknowledge the work and support of the Society’s project officer George Xinos who was a fellow participant on the journey and who played a key role in the design of the panels.

After months of research, writing, image sourcing an selection and finally production, the result is this important pictorial and historical exhibition. It is the first pictorial and historical exhibition to depict and explain one of the main connections between the northern Aegean Island of Imbros and its inhabitants and Australia, through its connection to the Anzac story and the Gallipoli campaign.

The launch of the Imbros & Gallipoli Exhibition at Parkdale, June 2023. Photo Jim Claven 2023.

The Exhibition was launched to a large crowd by the Imvrian Society of Melbourne Inc in Parkdale in June 2023. Some images from the launch at reproduced below. To read the story of the Exhibition launch click here.

Some of the dignitaries who attended the Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed launch. Photo Jim Claven 2023

Jim Claven (left) with Ann Holland the descendent of Sapper Alec Holland who came to Imbros and painted a view of the Island from Suvla Bay. Photo Jim Claven 2023.

Jim Claven (left) and George Xinos (right) at the launch. Photo Jim Claven 2023.

The Exhibition is now available for display in other locations through the engagement of like-minded community organisations. This post explains how these organisations can access the Exhibition.

The Exhibition – Telling the Imbros & Gallipoli Story

This Exhibition commemorates the role of the northern Aegean Island of Imbros in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915-16.

It does so through the reproduction of many of the archival photographs from the time, displayed as part of the key themes of that role, all placed in context with a specially commissioned historical overview explaining the various elements of Imbros’ role in the Gallipoli campaign, accompanied by modern photographs of the island, revealing the continuing visual connection between Imbros, Gallipoli and Australia.

Drawing on the historical record, the Exhibition explores a series of themes on this connection - from its pre-Gallipoli story to its naval and military role in the campaign, including some important Australian or Anzac connections. My research reveals that Imbros performed an essential role in the Allied effort throughout the Gallipoli campaign.

Exhibition Panel with maps of Imbros and its Allied bases. Photo Jim Claven 2023.

Located opposite the Gallipoli Peninsula, the Island was an ideal location for an advanced base for the coming military and naval operations. The Island would host the Allied Headquarters for the whole campaign, with an impressive guard which included Australian soldiers brought from the Peninsula.

Allied Headquarters, Kephalos Bay, Imbros, 1915-16. IWM Collection.

HMS Arno in Kephalos Bay, 1915-16. Pollard Collection/Cross & Cockade Archive.

Its harbours – especially the great Kephalos Bay with its large open entrance protected by specially sunken ships as well anti-submarine boom - would provide safe anchorage for the hundreds of Allied shipping required by the campaign (from the world’s first purpose built aircraft carrier to battleships, supply ships and all manner of other craft). The Island's infrastructure would soon be transformed as the military and naval base took shape, with piers, roads and buildings being erected around Kephalos Bay.

An aerial view of the piers and part of the Allied camp at Kephalos Bay, Imbros, 1915-16. IWM Collection.

Its shores would be home to supply depots, field medical services and importantly major bakeries that would feed the weary troops fresh bread. Its valleys would host huge army camps as troops made their way to and from the Peninsula, as well as prisoner of war camps.

Aerial view of Allied camp at Kephalos Bay, Imbros, 1915-16. AWM Collection.

Australian field bakery at Kephalos Bay, Imbros, 1915-16. Pollard Collection/Cross & Cockade Archive.

One of the aerodromes at Kephalos, Imbros, 1915-16. Pollard Collection/Cross & Cockade Archive.

Its flatlands would be home to various Allied aircraft (from airships and seaplanes to traditional military aircraft) with these supplemented by balloon ships harboured at Kephalos and the waters surrounding the Island. Imbros was thus an essential part of the Allied aerial war over Gallipoli and the surrounding waters.

Airship base at Kephalos Bay, Imbros, 1915-16. Pollard Collection/Cross & Cockade Archive.

It was also the place of final rest for a number of Allied personnel who would be buried on the Island in a newly created Allied war cemetery located to the immediately to the north of Kephalos Bay. While the dead were mainly British, the cemetery was also the location of a number of Australian graves.

Allied war cemetery, near Kephalos Bay, Imbros, 1915-16. Pollard Collection.

War correspondents Charles Bean and Ashmead-Bartlett riding on Imbros, 1915-16. AWM Collection.
 
It would also be the home for many months of the Allied war correspondents, including Ashmead-Barlett from England and the Australian Charles Bean. It was these writers who wrote their accounts of the Gallipoli campaign as it unfolded, keeping an eager public back home informed as best they could given the constraints of military censorship. They would name the house in which they lived the Villa Pericles, a nod to their own classical education and the overwhelmingly Hellenic population and ancient history of the Island. It was on Imbros that the famous Anzac Book – a best-seller during the war – the soldier contributions were initially compiled by Bean and his team for publication. And it was from here that the details of the famous Murdoch letter made its journey into history, revealing the failures of the whole campaign.
Villa Pericles, Imbros, 1915-16. AWM Collection.

But most importantly it reveals how the Gallipoli campaign brought together the Island's overwhelmingly Hellenic population and the tens of thousands of Allied service personnel - including Australians - impact on both their lives. The residents visited and worked at the Allied camps on the Island, some sailing out to the Allied ships at anchor in its bays offering the Island’s fresh produce to the eager troops.

Australian soldier resting on a hillside above the Allied camp at Kephalos Bay, Imbros, 1915-16. AWM Collection.

Australian and New Zealand soldiers with locals on Imbros, 1915-15. AWM Collection.

The service personnel wandered the Island, riding hired donkeys or walking its tracks, visiting its churches, villages and towns, staying in its inns and enjoying the hospitality of the Islanders. Some would write about their experiences in poetry, in letters and diaries, recording their impressions for posterity. Others – like British Royal Navy aerial photographs Bill Pollard - would take photographs leaving us an amazing visual archive. They rested on the side of its mountains, gazing out over the Aegean or swam in its waters. And they attended local village celebrations.

Australian soldiers playing with village children, Imbros, 1915-16. AWM Collection.

Imbros was for many service personnel a haven from the stresses and dangers of war.

The major military and naval role of the Island would end with the evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula in January 1915 but it would remain an Allied base throughout the war and coming to prominence again as the war drew to an end with the naval battle fought in its waters in 1918.

Imbros clearly played a major role in the Gallipoli campaign and beyond – a story that has now been told vividly through this Exhibition and accompanying book.

The Exhibition – The Display Panels

This story is brought to life through the Exhibition's 20 large panels, AO (84 x 119 cms) size panels, produced on light-weight form board for ease of display. They can be displayed either on stand-alone easels or on wall space directly through various means.

Each panel reproduces numerous archival and related modern photographs, explained by authoritative text and new maps created from archival sources held in Australia and overseas. The panels have been created in such a way that they can either be displayed in total or as a selection, depending on the available display space.

The themes and titles of the panels are as follows: Welcome to the Exhibition - From an Ancient Land to the Gallipoli Campaign; Key Maps of Imbros & the Northern Aegean in 1915-16; The Allied Fleet at Imbros; Imbros Transformed – Creating the Military & Naval Base; The Campaign Headquarters and its Australian Guards; Feeding the Troops – The Australian Bakery on Imbros; Medical Help Comes to Imbros; The Army Rest Camps of Kephalos; The Correspondents Camp and the Anzac Book; Air War over Imbros; Prisoners of War on Imbros; The Great Storm; Discovering Imbros – Meeting the Locals; Evacuation; The Dead of Imbros; The Artists of Imbros; After Gallipoli – Remembering Imbros

To give and impression of the nature and content of the Exhibition panels, a number of panels are reproduced below (all photographs by Jim Claven, 2023).









My Imbros Journey

I had become aware of Imbros and some aspects of its role a few years ago. I had seen Imbros many times from the eastern shores of Lemnos and read about some of its role in Gallipoli in the historical records. During the Centenary of Anzac in 2015 I visited Imbros, walked its landscape and villages, meeting its people, all guided by my own historical research into its link both to Gallipoli and Australia's Anzac tradition. This resulted in my article published in Australia's Neos Kosmos newspaper. You can read the results of this early visit to Imbros by clicking here.

Since then I have continued my research into Imbros and published historical articles on aspects of its link to Gallipoli - I held the view of Imbros from Suvla Bay painted by Australian engineer Sapper Frank Holland and treasured by his descendants in Melbourne (read about Frank Holland by clicking here), I read about the visit by a former Victorian Governor and his famous suffragette wife to Imbros during the Gallipoli campaign (read about Lord and Lady Brassey and Imbros by clicking here) and of the Hellenic sailors who assisted the Allied cause at Gallipoli on the communications vessels plying the waters of Imbros and Gallipoli (read about the sailors of the Cable Ship Levant II by clicking here). 

All of this intimated to me that there was another Gallipoli story - that of Imbros, its people and the role of the Island in the campaign. 

Jim Claven on Imbros, with the Island of Lemnos on the horizon in the distance. Photo Jim Claven 2015.

The Imvrian Society of Melbourne Inc & Acknowledgements

Melbourne's vibrant Imvrian Society is a community organization representing those who migrated to Australia from Imbros or their descendants and who live in Melbourne. They remain connected to their Island and are keen to bring its story to a wider audience. The Imbros & Gallipoli Exhibition is an important aspect of this desire, telling both the role of Imbros in the Gallipoli campaign and Australia’s connection to the Island through the Anzac story.

In undertaking this project, the Imvrian Society acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government’s Veterans Council, the City of Kingston and other community funding,

Imbros & Gallipoli Revealed – Telling the Story

I have worked with the Imvrian Society of Melbourne to create this Exhibition to stimulate awareness of the important role of Imbros in both the Gallipoli campaign and Australia’s Anzac story.

We believe that the Exhibition is only the beginning. The display only scratches the surface of the experience of the Island and its inhabitants of the Gallipoli campaign. Hopefully new research both in Australia and overseas will show more light on this often overlooked aspect of the Gallipoli campaign.

Our dream it spread awareness of Imbros and its role and Gallipoli. We can do this through displaying the Exhibition and making presentations. Imbros’ role in Gallipoli could also be recognized in appropriate memorials, whether on Imbros or at locations connected to the story. A memorial trail could be created for Imbros, identifying and linking the various locations connected to the Gallipoli campaign (either physically, online or both). These are some of the new concepts we are working on. Watch this space.

That's why are encouraging like minded community organization's to display the Exhibition in their own communities across Australia (and potentially overseas). These organization's can purchase a set of the light-weight panels which will be sent to them directly for their display. This will be offered at the cost of production and transportation. Other display costs such as easel hire or a-fixing to walls is at the host organization's expense.

How to Access the Exhibition

Organization's seeking to partner with us by accessing and displaying the Exhibition should contact the Imvrian Society’s project officer, Goerge Xinos via email - georgexinos@gmail.com 

An Appeal - Donations and Fundraising

All these initiatives will require funding and support. Join us on this journey to tell a forgotten story connecting Imbros and Australia. If you or your organization would like to support our ongoing work through making a financial or in-kind contribution as well as hosting a fundraising event, please contact the Imvrian Society of Melbourne’s project officer, George Xinos via email -georgexinos@gmail.com 

Jim Claven, Secretary Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee & Curator Imbros & Gallipoli Exhibition