|Australian nurses and soldiers witness the return of Allied troops to Lemnos, December 1915. Albert Savage Collection, SLNSW|
105 years ago today the last Australian troops evacuated from Gallipoli, completing the evacuation of Anzac Cove and Suvla.
The last Australian to leave the front was Sub-Lieutenant Charles Hicks and 50 men of the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train, who departed Suvla a few minutes after 4.30am on 20th December. So ended the service of the approximately 50,000 Australian troops who had served at Gallipoli.
Allied troops would not complete the evacuation of the whole peninsula until 8th January 1916, with the withdrawal of the last British forces, the last service personnel to leave being the British Royal Navy's Lieutenant Langton-Jones who was taken off at 4.30am.
The vast majority of the Allied troops returned to the northern Aegean Island of Lemnos, for greater or lesser periods of time, resting and recuperating, some to the many medical establishment there for treatment, some to be buried in the Allied war cemeteries on the island. Many would celebrate Xmas and New Year on Lemnos.
Lemnos would go on to perform a major role in the First World War, as an Allied naval base and as the site of the signing of the Armistice of Mudros, ending the war between the Allies and the Ottoman Empire in October 1918.
For more information on Lemnos' role in the evacuation of the Gallipoli peninsula please read my Lemnos and Gallipoli Revealed: A Pictorial Histroy of the Anzacs in the Aegean 1915-16.
Lest we forget.
Jim Claven, Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee