|Approaching Lemnos Island from the sea - as Prahran's Herbert Claxton and Stanley Savige did in 1915. Photo Jim Claven 2015|
The story of two diggers from Prahran and their connection to Lemnos in 1915 will soon be honoured.
Recently whilst carrying out research on the connection between Stonnington and Lemmos, I discovered the story of the service of these two diggers. During a visit to the Prahran RSL I discovered that their service appeared to have been overlooked in the creation of the famous Prahran RSL Honour Board.
Following a proposal from myself, the service of two diggers with strong connections to Prahran -Lieutenant-General Stanley George Savige and Private Herbert Frederick Claxton - will now be honored by their names being added to this famous Honour Board.
Below is a summary of the service of these two diggers and their connection to Lemnos and beyond.
Private Herbert Frederick Claxton - From Prahran to Lemnos' Anzac Graves
Born in Prahran, Herbert's next of kin was listed as his father, F.J. Claxton of Prahran, and after his father’s death, his brother Reginald Claxton of 15 Barkly Street St Kilda. He enlisted on 11th May 1915 at Liverpool, NSW as Private 1413 in D Company, 19th Battalion, AIF.
|Attestation Form for Prahran's Private Herbert Claxton. NAA|
He and his Battalion departed Australia in late June, trained in Egypt from late July until mid August.
They arrived at Anzac Cove on 21st August 1915. Herbert was wounded barely 12 days later, on 2 September.
He received gunshot wounds and was transferred to the Hospital Ship Maheno but died on board on 4th September, on his way to the Australian Hospitals on Lemnos.
He was taken to Lemnos and buried in grave 203 at East Mudros Military Cemetery, Chaplain E. Raymond officiating.
He is the only Prahran-born servicemen who are buried in the Commonwealth Military Cemeteries on the Greek Island of Lemnos, the advance base for the Gallipoli campaign.
|Grave stone of Private Herbert Claxton, East Mudros Military Cemetery, Lemnos. Photo Jim Claven 2013.|
Lieutenant-General Stanley George Savige - The Saviour of Refugees
Morwell-born Captain Savige grew up and lived in Prahran immediately prior to his enlistment in the First World War.
Stanley and his family lived first at 42 John Street Prahran and then 11 Bendigo Street Prahran. As a young man, Stanley enjoyed the Lyric Theatre in St John Street Prahran, attended the South Yarra Baptist Church, joined the South Yarra Try Youth Society, and was a member of the 1st South Yarra Scout Troop.
|Captain Savige. AWM|
He saw service on Lemnos and at Gallipoli, including at Lone Pine. By the time he left Gallipoli – as part of the battalion’s rearguard during the evacuation in December 1915 – he had been promoted to Second Lieutenant. He survived Gallipoli and the Western Front, receiving many commendations for his service there – including being mentioned-in-dispatches twice and being awarded the Military Cross.
Savige- The Saviour of Refugees
He is also famous for his service as part of the Dunsterforce, an Allied military force operating in northern Persia in 1918.
During this service, Savige was instrumental in saving the lives of some 70,000 Christian refugees, including leading the successfully defence of the refugees in a fierce rearguard action against overwhelmingly superior enemy forces over seven days in late July and early August 1918.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his action in defending these refugees.
|Refugees fleeing with the support of Savige and his small force, Northern Persia, 1918. AWM|
|Refugees teecking through Bijar with the support of Savige and his small force, Northern Persia, 1918. AWM|
Savige Returns to Greece - 1941
During the interwar era, Stanley helped establish Legacy and continued to serve in the militia.
He returned to service in the Second World War, appointed Brigadier and commander of the 17th Brigade, AIF. He saw service in the Middle East, Greece, Palestine, Syria and New Guinea.
For his service in Greece, Savige was awarded the Greek Military Cross (Class A) by the King of the Hellenes on 8 December 1941.
His most senior appointment was as Lieutenant General in 1944.
|Savige at right, Tobruk, January 1941. AWM|
|Location of Savige and the AIF 17th Brigade, Kalabaka, Greece, 1941. Photo taken in 1945. AWM|
|Stanley Savige's grave, Boorandara Cemetery. Photo Jim Claven 2015.|
Prahran RSL Honour Board and Memorabilia Collection
Recently the Secretary of the Prahran RSL, Noel Saunderson, made me aware of the great Honour Board held by the Prahran RSL - it is one of the largest and most beautiful honour boards in Australia. It lists those service personnel who served and those who died during the First World War.
My photos of the Honour Board are reproduced below:
In addition, the RSL contains much memorabilia and other honour boards from groups associated with the Prahran area, including the Prahran & District Scottish Society's Honour Board. Many of these have been saved by the Prahran RSL from disrepair and loss. Well done. The collection at the Prahran RSL is well worth a visit.
Below are my photos of some of this memorabilia.
The Prahran RSL is currently preparing to add Private Herbert Claxton and Liuetnenant General Standley Savige to the Honour Board.
I have also proposed a the creation of a new dedication to Private Herbert Claxton as the only digger from Prahran to be buried on Lemnos - to complement that of one of Prahran's diggers who is buried at Gallipoli. Below is a draft of my proposal for this dedication.
The honouring of these two Lemnos Heroes will be an important event. Prahran RSL should be congratulated on their decision to honour the service of these men and their connection to Lemnos.
We should make sure this event is well attended.
Watch this space for further information.
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee