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

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Urgent - Anzac Commemorations in Greece Cancelled

East Mudros Military Cemetery, Lemnos. Photo Jim Claven

The Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee has been informed that due to the COVID-19 virus the planned Gallipoli commemorations scheduled for April 2020 will not long be held. This is consistent with not only Greek Government advice regarding the holding of public events at this time. Although we have not been able to confirm the situation with the Australian Embassy in Athens, it can be expected that the Anzac Day commemorations, held every 25th April at Phaleron War Cemetery in Athens, will also not be held this year. It can also be assumed that other public Anzac commemorations planned for other parts of Greece - such as Crete - will also not be held as public events.
Those seeking further information should contact the relevant local authorities in Greece.

Although this is disappointing to those wishing to take part in these commemorations, it is entirely understandable and appropriate in the circumstances. A similar approach is being taken in Australia regarding Anzac Day commemorations.

We look forward to the Anzac commemorations which will take place in April-May 2021, which coincides with the 80th anniversary of the Greek campaign of 1941. Hope to see you all there.

Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial, Lemnos Square, Albert Park. Photo Jim Claven

We also hope that we will be able to hold our annual Lemnos Gallipoli service at our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Lemnos Square, Albert Park on 8th August - as well as the Armistice of Mudros commemoration at the Shrine of Remembrance on 31st October - latest this year - COVID-19 situation permitting.

Jim Claven
Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Push by Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee for recognition of WW1 Lemnos service with Gallipoli Medallion

Gallipoli Medallion. Australian Defence Department
One of the major oversights of Australia’s commemoration of the Gallipoli campaign is now formerly under review by the Australian Government – the eligibility of those who served on Lemnos (as well as the adjacent Islands of Imbros and Tenedos and the surrounding sea) for the Gallipoli Medallion. The Gallipoli Medallion was instituted in 1967 by the then Australian Government led by Harold Holt to Gallipoli veterans or the descendents of those who had since passed. The award consisted of a medallion and a small matching lapel badge, the former pictured here. My research revealed that eligibility was restricted to those who had served in direct support of the operations of the campaign at Gallipoli and in a defined geographic area of the campaign.
To my amazement this area was limited to the land masses to the north and south of the Dardanelles and the immediate waters. The area specifically excludes the nearby Islands of Lemnos, Imbros and Tenedos as well as the waters surrounding these areas. These Islands and the waters surrounding them played a major role in the Gallipoli campaign, providing direct and essential support to the troops serving on the Peninsula.
View of the Island of Imbros, where Charles Bean and other Anzacs walked in 1915. Photo Jim Claven 2015
As my research has shown Lemnos was the major advanced base for the Gallipoli campaign, its large and protected harbor providing a safe haven to the tens of thousands of troops who came there as they travelled to and from the battlefields of the Peninsula. The Island was home to major supply bases, medical facilities and other important infrastructure. Almost every soldier who served at Gallipoli served part of his time on Lemnos.
Southland Memorial publication
The other Islands of Imbros and Tenedos as played key roles in the campaign. Imbros was the main harbor close to the fronts at Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay, acting as a transit hub, there were medical facilities, supply depots and headquarters. Tenedos was major naval and air base, as well as being a transshipping hub for troops headed for the southern front at Helles. And through the waters surrounding these Islands stretching to Gallipoli, troopships and hospital ships made there way. It would be true to say that without the direct support of the troops and other units serving in these Islands and waters, the Gallipoli campaign could not have taken place.
Colonel Linton grave, East Mudros Military Cemetery, Lemnos. Photo Jim Claven
And these were dangerous locations to be based. Proximity to the Gallipoli battlefront meant being subject to enemy air, submarine and torpedo attacks. Lemnos was subjected to numerous enemy air attacks, one resulting in the deaths of many soldiers, with bombs being dropped close to Australian medical facilities on the Island. By far the greatest danger was at sea. Many Allied ships were attacked, damaged and sunk, with consequent loss of life, in the waters off Gallipoli. The most well-known Australian example was the attack on the troopship Southland on 3 August 1915 as it headed to Lemnos with reinforcements for the August Offensives. This resulted in thirty-two Australian deaths, including that of 54 year old Colonel Richard Linton, commander of the 6th Australian infantry Brigade. Those bodies that were found were buried on Lemnos, others being memorialized on the great commemorative edifices on the Peninsula.
Private Jones grave, East Mudros Military Cemetery, Lemnos. Photo Jim Claven
Hundreds of Australian soldiers became all and a number died at Lemnos on their way to Gallipoli, some from the illnesses that plagued the troopships, others in training accidents. One of the former was 29 year old Private Alexander Jones who never made it Gallipoli, having died of pneumonia and was buried on Lemnos. Indeed, many of those based on Lemnos were subjected to the ravages of disease, some brought with the ill soldiers, many having to be repatriated. It was due to illness that two Canadian nurses died on Lemnos, the only nurses to die during the campaign. Surely this suffering stands testimony to the bravery of the service of those on Lemnos, the other Islands and in the disease-ridden ships transporting the wounded and ill from Gallipoli.
Australian nurses arrive on Lemnos, August 1915. Photo Albert Savage Collection, State Library of NSW
It is my contention that all of the Australian personnel who served on the northern Aegean Islands mentioned or in the waters nearby deserve to be included in the criteria for the Gallipoli Medallion. What better way to recognize the service of the medical staff on Lemnos, including the many nurses such as Matron Grace Wilson and Staff Nurse Evelyn Hutt. And those who died – like Colonel Linton from Brighton in Victoria - as part of their service during the Gallipoli campaign.
Last year it was my pleasure to prepare a submission for the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee proposing a review of the eligibility criteria for the Gallipoli Medallion in order that service on Lemnos, Imbros, Tenedos and on the ships sailing in the adjacent waters be incorporated to the eligibility criteria as an amendment to the defined area. Recently the Australian Minister for Veterans Affairs informed the Committee that he had referred the matter to the Department of Defence for formal review.
Colonel (Ret) Jan McCarthy OAM RRC, President of the Nurses RSL Sub-Branch said that nursing service personnel had long sought the expansion of the criteria as proposed and supported the Committee’s initiative. “The nurses who served on Lemnos and on the hospital ships that sailed the dangerous waters of the northern Aegean deserve no less,” she added.
The President of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, Mr Lee Tarlamis OAM, stated that the Committee was keen to pursue this issue of recognition and welcomed the news that the Australian Government had placed the proposal under review. “The Committee is ready and willing to provide any documentary evidence to the review that might be required,” he added.
It is anticipated that the review should be completed by the end of 2020.
Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Lemnos Gallipoli Tour - 22nd April 2020

Jim Claven at the unveiling of the nurses memorial at Portianos Military Cemetery in April 2015. Photo Jim Claven 2015

Jim Claven will be leading a small group guided tour of Lemnos and its Anzac-related sites in April 2020.
The tour is planned to take place on 22nd April, following the formal Gallipoli campaign commemorations that will be held on Lemnos on the preceding 20th and 21st April.
The tour will take in the major sites of East and West Mudros, including the Allied war cemeteries, the Turks Head Peninsula, Therma and some of the various villages connected to the Allied presence on Lemnos during the campaign. There will be an opportunity for  refreshments in a local village, completed with a final dinner at Myrina.
You can download Jim Claven's Lemnos Gallipoli Tour brochure by clicking here.
Tour Leader - Jim Claven, MA
As many will know, Jim is a historian and freelance writer who has studied Lemnos’ role in Australia’s Anzac story for many years, combining academic research with extensive field trips to the sites connected with the Anzacs on Lemnos, Imbros, Tenedos as well as Gallipoli itself and beyond.
Jim Claven (left) on his tour of Lemnos in 2015 with descendants of Matron Grace Wilson on Lemnos' Turks Head Peninsula, April 2015. Photo Jim Claven 2015
Jim's tour of Lemnos in 2018, with Deb Stewart (left, descendant of Staff Nurse Evelyn Hutt) and Lee Tarlamis OAM (second from right, descendant of Private Ted Tozer) at the Therma baths. Photo Jim Claven 2018.

Holding Bachelor and Masters degrees from Australia’s Monash University, Jim Claven has researched the story in the archives held in Australia and overseas. He has walked the ground where the Anzacs stood in 1915-16. His extensive research led to the identification and commemoration in 2018 of the Australian Pier on Lemnos, the pier having been originally erected by Australian soldiers in 1915. He is the author of many articles on the connection between Australian and Lemnos through the Anzac story (including in the Melbourne Shrine's Remembrance magazine, the State Library of Victoria’s La Trobe Journal, the UK's Gallipolian and that of the Hellenic Navy in Greece).
He has delivered many presentations on the topic, both in Australia and in Greece.
He has curated the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee’s Photographic Exhibition – Lemnos and Gallipoli: A Story in Pictures - showcasing 40 of the best photographs taken from the archives in Australia and overseas - along with its accompanying exhibition booklet. This exhibition has been displayed in Greece (at the Athens War Museum and on Lemnos) as well as across Australia (including at the Victorian State Parliament).


He is also the author of the recent publication – Lemmos & Gallipoli Revealed: A Pictorial History of the Anzacs in the Aegean 1915-16 – published by Australia’s Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, of which Jim has been the Secretary since its foundation in 2011.
Register Now
If you are interested in joining Jim on this personal, small group tour of Lemnos, please contact him for information or to register directly via email - jimclaven@yahoo.com.au - or on 0409402388 - by the end of March 2020.

Sunset over Lemnos' Mudros Bay, with the Turks Head Peninsula in the middle distance. Photo Jim Claven 2015

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Lemnos & Gallipoli Revealed - Review in the UK Gallipolian journal

The latest edition of The Gallipolian journal - a historical and commemorative publication of the Gallipoli Association based in the UK - contains a review of Lemnos & Gallipoli Revealed.
The review can be read below.
 I highly recommend joining the Gallipoli Association. For more information, please click here.

Jim Claven, Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Shrine of Remembrance - Combined Armistice of Mudros Commemoration, Lemnos Tree Dedication and Plaque Unveiling - 31st October 2019

Those who attended the Lemnos Tree Dedication and Plaque Unveiling ceremony. Photo Jim Claven 2019
October 2019 saw a dedicated crowd gathered on a beautiful summer’s day at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance gardens to witness the formal dedication of a tree and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque honouring the role of Lemnos in the Gallipoli campaign. An initiative of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, this tree dedication and plaque unveiling formally recognizes the role of Lemnos in Melbourne’s pre-eminent commemorative space.

The service took place as part of this year’s Armistice of Mudros commemorative service at the Shrine. This recognizes the Armistice for its bringing the First World War across the Western Mediterranean and the Middle East to an end, releasing thousands of Allied prisoners who would begin the long journey home as the Armistice took effect on 31st October 1918.

It was my honor to address the assembly, drawing their attention to the significance of the day in the history of the Hellenic link to Anzac. Not only did Lemnos play this important role in the ending of the war but the same Mudros Bay where the Armistice was concluded aboard the British warship HMS Agamemnon, was also the place where the Anzacs had assembled before the landings at Gallipoli more than three years earlier.

Lemnos and the shores of the bay had played host to the tens of thousands of Australian and other Allied troops that came to Lemnos throughout the campaign – whether that was to train, be treated in its many field hospitals or to rest and recuperate. 130 Australian nurses served in two of the three Australian field hospitals on the Island throughout the campaign providing essential medical care to the wounded and sick. And 148 Australians were buried across East Mudros and Portianos Military Cemeteries, amongst the other 1,300 Allied dead buried there. But these Australians also enjoyed the hospitality of the island, visiting its villages and churches, eating its food and drinking its beverages, bathing in the Islands mineral springs baths and otherwise enjoying this beautiful island in the northern Aegean.

For all these reasons it is appropriate that Lemnos is now recognized in the grounds of the Shrine. In my address I pointed out that we could not have found a better location, situated as the tree is in the First World War section of the gardens, with nearby plaques commemorating many of the units that served on Lemnos, with the great Shrine building nearby. On behalf of the Committee I thanked the Shrine Trustees for their support for this initiative.

The Consul of the Hellenic Republic Mr Dimitrios Michalopoulos (third from left) and Shrine Life Governor Lieutenant Colonel Adrian Lombardo (right), with the Shrine Guard and Guard Commander Bob Roberts (second from right). Photo Jim Claven 2019
The event was attended by many dignitaries, including Mr Dimitrios Michalopoulos, the Consul of the Hellenic Republic, The Hon Ted Baillieu former Premier of Victoria and chair of Victorian Anzac Centenary Committee and Shrine Life Governor Lieutenant Colonel Adrian Lombardo. The Presidents of the Nurses RSL Sub-Branch Col (Ret) Jan McCarthy ARRC, the Hellenic RSL Sub-Branch Mr Steve Kyritsis OAM and the Essendon RSL Mr Ange Kenos were all in attendance. Mr Antonis Tsourdalakis, Chair of the Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council and Ms Arlene Bennett, President of the Nurses Memorial Centre as well as representatives of Victoria’s Lemnian and Krythian communities were also present.

The Committee was particularly pleased to see the attendance of descendants of those who served on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign, joining the Committee’s Executive Member Deb Stewart, the grand-daughter of Staff Nurse Evelyn Hutt of the 3rd Australian General Hospital.
The Lemnos Tree and plaque, as the Shrine Guard stand post for the singing of the Australian national anthem. Mr Ange Kenos, President of the Essendon RSL is flagbearer. Photo Jim Claven 2019
The service itself was a moving one, with Australian Army Cadet Chaplain Darren Thomas performing the dedication ceremony and prayer reading, followed by Colonel (Ret) Jan McCarthy’s reading of the Ode and the singing of the Australian National Anthem by Mr Simon Gibson from the Victoria Police Band. The service was accompanied by the music of Ms Stacey Harris, the bagpiper for the day, along with the Victoria Police band. The Shrine Guard also stood post as part of the dedication ceremony. The whole conduct of the event underscored the significance of the occasion. The Committee’s Vice President Christina Despoteris conducted the event as Master of Ceremonies.
Committee Vice-President Ms Christina Despoteris addresses the assembly as master of ceremonies. Photo Jim Claven 2019
As part of the service Committee President Mr Lee Tarlamis OAM was joined by co-patron Colonel (Ret) Jan McCarthy ARRC in unveiling the plaque, with Lee laying a wreath on behalf of the Committee, with others invited to lay a poppy at the end of the service.
Committee Vice-President Ms Christina Despoteris addresses the assembly as master of ceremonies. Photo Jim Claven 2019
During the ceremony the assembly welcomed the important announcement by Master of Ceremonies Christina Despoteris of the news that Lemnos’ authorities have invited the Victorian Chief Commissioners of Police Mr Grahan Ashton and the Shrine Guard to attend the annual commemorative services to be held on the Island on 20-21st April next year. This will be the first time that Melbourne’s Shrine Guard will take part in commemorative services in Greece. Their presence will include a special commemoration of those Victoria Police members who served on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign.
The Committee has been working with the Shrine Guard and the local authorities on Lemnos to bring this proposal to a reality. Committee President Mr Lee Tarlamis OAM said that this be a very special occasion, as the Shrine Guard, dressed in their First World War uniforms, will walk on Lemnos following in the footsteps of the Anzacs. “It will be a spectacular site to see them take part in the commemorative services on Lemnos,” he said. He also paid tribute to the work of Committee Vice President in promoting this visit to Lemnos.
Anzac commemorative services on Lemnos in 2018. Photo Jim Claven 2018
Next year’s commemorative service is building up to be a major event, with the planned local launch of my book Lemnos & Gallipoli Revealed as well as the participation of many dignitaries from Australia, including Mr Stephen Cook, Principal of Albert Park College, and many members of Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee.
Plans are also underway to install a new commemorative plaque on Lemnos, honouring the service of the only Australian soldier in the First World War to come from Lemnos, Sapper Basil Passa from the village of Kontopoulou. This will join the Committees unveiling of the Australian Pier memorial on Lemnos last year, as another step in our creation of the Lemnos Gallipoli Heritage Trail on Lemnos.
The Hon Ted Baillieu, former Premier of Victoria, and Chairman of the Victorian Anzac Centenary Committee, addresses the crowd at the Shrine. Photo Jim Claven 2019
Both the Consul General of the Hellenic Republic, Mr Dimitrios Michalopoulos, and the former Premier of Victoria, the Hon Ted Baillieu addressed the crowd, praising the work of Mr Lee Tarlamis, Ms Christina Despoteris and myself, along with the rest of the Committee, in raising awareness of the role of Lemnos in Gallipoli. Mr Michalopoulos noted the many achievements of the Committee, in Australia and in Greece, in such a short period of time. Mr Baillieu praised the book Lemnos & Gallipoli Revealed in its ability to identify some of the many threads that connect Lemnos to Australia through the lives and experiences of the young Australians who served there.
Committee President Mr Tarlamis OAM thanked all for coming on this important day for Lemnos and the recognition of its part in the Gallipoli campaign and the Armistice of Mudros. “This is another important step in our work to increase awareness of the Hellenic link to Australia’s Anzac story,” Lee said. The ceremony concluded with Lee’s invitation to all to come to Lemnos in 2020.
Lemnos Tree and Plaque, Shrine of Remembrance gardens, Melbourne. Photo Deb Stewart 2019

The published version of this story can be read by clicking here.

Jim Claven, Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee