The Centenary of Anzac events held in Greece were the most extensive ever held. They included many events held on the Island of Lemnos - the forward base of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915, where Australia's nurses served throughout the campaign and where 148 diggers remain buried - as well as on Anzac Day itself in Athens.
The Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee assisted in organizing and actively participated in many of these events. Many of our members and supporters traveled to Greece to take part in the events held in April 2015.
We worked with other Australian commemorative groups - including Liz Kaydos of the NSW-based Lemnos 1915 committee - to help the Lemnian and Greek authorities in planning their commemorative activities.
It was a pleasure to work with the Australian Embassy in Greece, the Embassy of Canada, the Royal Australian Navy and HMAS Success, Commonwealth War Graves Commissions, the Athens War Museum, Hellenic Navy and the Lemnos Friends of Anzac.
Our Report outliens the all the major events held to commemorate Lemnos and Greece's link to Aistralia's Anzac story. These included:
- The unveiling of the new nurses memorial at Portianos Military Cemetery, the result of much lobbying and effort by his Excellency Robert Peck, ambassador of Canada to Greece, along with the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- A viewing of Australia's Anzac Girls docu-drama at Portianou
- The involvement of the ships crew of the Royal Australian Navy's HMAS Success, including a sunset service in Mudros Bay - the first visit of an Australian warship into the bay since 1918.
- Major wreath-laying ceremonies at east Mudros and Portianos Military Cemeteries, as well as at the Anzac Memorial at Mudros harbour, with representatives of our Committee laying wreaths at these event
- A major military and community parade at Mudros
- The historic re-enactment of the famous 1915 football match on Lemnos - re-enacted by teams from HMAS Success and the Hellenic Army based on Lemnos
- he presentation by Lemnos 1915 to the Lemnos authorities of a reproduction of the famous painting – The Lemnians by Sir William Russell Flint– held by the Art Gallery of NSW
- A folkloric event by folk dancers from the village of Agios Dimitrios on Lemnos, held at the Myrina Theatre, representing the dances of Asia Minor refuges who came to Lemnos after WW1
- Our assistance to the Canadian Embassy and the descendents of the 3rd AGH's Matron Grace Wilson in touring of the key Anzac sites
- Anzac Day dawn service on HMAS Success at Piraeus, Athens
- Anzac Day Wreath-laying ceremony at Phaleron Military Cemetery, Athens, followed by a reception at the Australian Embassy
- Anzac Day Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committed photographic exhibition and presentation at the Athens War Museum.
Read about and view the many photos of these events and more in the attached Report.
Congratulations to his Excellency Robert Peck for his success in having a new memorial erected to the nurses of all countries - including Australia and Canada - who served on Lemnos in 1915. And to the Captain Justin Jones and the ships company of HMAS Success who actively participated in all the commemorative events on Lemnos and Greece, as great ambassadors for Australia. One hopes that this is the first of many future visits by Australia warships to Greece as part of future commemorative events.
Our President has placed on record the appreciation of our Committee of the work of our Committee Executive member, Ms Christian Despoteris, in helping organize the events on Lemnos and in Athens - especially the commemorative event held at Portianou on Lemnos and the Anzac Day function at Athens War Museum. Both involved the presentation of our specially curated photographic exhibition and presentation by myself on the Lemnos and Hellenic link to Anzac. Gifts were made of the photographic exhibition - on Lemnos by Malama Varvaras on behalf of the Lemnian Community of Victoria and in Athens by our Committee. Christina traveled especially to Greece in advance of the events and played a great role in bringing these events to fruition. Thank you, Christina.
Lets hope that the events held in 2015 are only the beginning of a renewal of the commemorative connection between Australia and Greece.
To download and read a copy of our report on these events, including many photographs of the Centenary events in Greece, click here - LGCC Report - Anzac Centenary Commemorations in Greece 2015
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee