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, 26 January 2016

Imbros and Tenedos - The other "forgotten" Island's of the Gallipoli campaign

Tenedos Island, April 2015. Photo Jim Claven 2015

Lemnos was the main forward base for the Gallipoli campaign, bringing tens of thousands of Allied troops and hundreds of ships to this beautiful Island in Greece's northern Aegean.
Researching the role of Lemnos and having been fortunate to have visit the Island over recent years has only strengthened my resolve to tell the story of Lemnos and Gallipoli - and especially for the over1,200 Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen (as well Egyptian labourers and Turkish POW's) who lie buried there in its three war cemeteries.

Lemnos, Imbros and Tenedos, 1915. AWM

Last year, in April 2015, prior to Anzac Day, I fulfilled a long held dream of visiting the other northern Aegean Islands that played an important role in the Gallipoli campaign - Imbros and Tenedos. Accompanying me was my friend Chris Mingos, one of our Committee members and whose father hailed from from the former Greek community of Asia Minor, the village of Reisdere on the Chesme peninsula opposite Chios.
Overwhelmingly Greece populated, these two Islands had been joined to Greece in 1912 during the Balkan Wars. Both Island's were critical in their own way to the whole Gallipoli campaign.
Although Lemnos' great and safe harbour of Mudros ensured its primacy as the forward supply and hospital base for Gallipoli, Imbros and Tenedos in their own ways were brought into the Gallipoli campaign's in 1915. Greece offered all three Island's to the Allies as bases for the coming Gallipoli campaign.
Standing at the entrance to the Dardanelles, Imbros and Tenedos - along with nearby Lemnos - have a long history stretching back to the era of Greek mythology and legend, from Homer and beyond. The Islands were part of the Greek settlements that sprang up along the Asia Minor coast as Greek sailors and traders spread out from the Greek heartland.

Imbros Island, April 2015. Photo Jim Claven 2015

Imbros was the location of Allied commander General Hamilton's headquarters, the rendeavous point for Anzac troops as they sailed from Lemnos to Anzac Cove and the where the Allied war correspondents were based. Imbros' Kephalos Bay saw Allied ships anchor as they sailed to and from Gallipoli, Lemnos and Egypt.

The Allied Base on the shores of Imbros' Kephalos Bay, 1915. AWM

For Australians, it also was the location of the 1st Australian Field Bakery that supplied fresh bread to the diggers on the peninsula, transported by the wagons of the Australian Army Service Corps. One wonders if they also made lamingtons or scones! 25th Casualty Clearing Station commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Mackenzie was based here, as was the 1st Australian Field Artillery Battery temporarily.
Photographs of Australian war correspondents Charles Bean and Philip Schuler walking on Imbros and photographing its Byzantine fortresses lie in the Australian War Memorial.
And as the war drew to a close the waters off Imbros saw the last great naval battle of the war in the Middle East - the naval battle of Imbros.

Byzantine Ruins, Imbros, 1915. AWM 

Byzantine Ruins, Imbros, 2015. Photo Jim Claven 2015

Tenedos was occupied by the Allies along with Imbros and Lemnos. The Allied naval commanders, first Admiral de Roebeck and then Admiral Carden,were often based atTenedos, holding many conferences there. The base for an important Allied airbase for the Captain Samson and the Royal Naval Air Service that flew reconnaissance and bombing raids over Gallipoli, Tenedos remained an Allied base until the end of the First World War, as was Lemnos and Imbros.

Local Tenedos residents greet Venzelos in Tenedos harbour, 1915. IWM

The great Greek leader Venezelos visited Tenedos in 1915 to the cheers of the local population.
Allied soldiers would recall Tenedos’ part in Greek history and myth when they came in 1915. A statue of the goddess Aphrodite was unearthed by an Allied soldier when digging a trench. One wrote of “Tenedos, dear of old Apollo” and that Homer’s snakes had been replaced 3,000 years later by anti-submarine cables.And it was from Tenedos that Allied Commander Sir Ian Hamilton issued in May his statement praising the “audacity” and valour” of the Anzacs at Gallipoli.

Captain Samson of the Royal Naval Air Service on Tenedos, 1915. IWM

Neos Kosmos Articles
Over the past few weeks Australia's Neos Kosmos has published two articles tyhat I have wirtten followinf my research visits to Imbros and Tenedos. If you missed these publications, you can view them by clicking the links below.
To read my article on Imbros - A Voyage to Imbros - click here.
To read my article on Tenedos - To Tenedos they came: Palm Sunday on Tenedos - click here.
Thanks to Neos Kosmos for publishing my stories and bringing them to wider audience.

Modern Imbros and Tenedos
It was a pleasure to visit both Imbros and Tenedos and to walk in the footsteps of those Anzac and other Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen who made them there whom for the months of the Gallipoli campaign. It was great to be welcomed by the locals, especially the remaining Greek population of both Islands.
While the exempt from the population exchanges that followed the Greco-Turkish war of the early 1920's, the Greek population of both Island's has dwindled, especially since the 1960's and 1970's, many former residents making their new homes in Greece and beyond, including Australia.
Anyone who visits the Islands on an Anzac pilgrimage will be rewarded by a visit to these villages - to the Byzantine ruins of Imbros, the classical remains on Tenedos, the village of Aya Theodoros at its Nostos Cafe on Imbros and the main Church in Tenedos town.

Lemnos viewed from Imbros. Photo Jim Claven 2015

The Essential Gallipoli Tour - Lemnos, Imbros, Tenedos and Gallipoli

I encourage all those who visit Gallipoli to make a little more effort and travel to Imbros and Tenedos - as well as Lemnos - and have a coffee in the Nostos Cafe or a tsipouro in the villages of Tenedos!
Your pilgrimage will honour the Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen who came there in 1915, walking in their streets and villages, befriending the locals, enjoying their hospitality and some remaining buried on Lemnos' war cemeteries or in the waters surrounding these beautiful Islands in the northern Aegean. As you sail around the Islands, you will feel the winds and warming sunlight that the Anzac's wrought about all those years ago and you will approach Gallipoli as the Anzac's did - by sea, from the Islands of Lemnos, Imbros and Tenedos.
Thanks to all who encouraged me to travel to these often "forgotten" Gallipoli campaign Islands, including Sophie Arvanitou from Melbourne's Tenedos community.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Robert Burns, Scotch Whisky and Gallipoli - Hugo Throssell and his dram at the Nek

View from Walkers Ridge Cemetery. In 1915 Anzac Hugo Throssell shared a whisky near here. Photo Jim Claven 2015
Today is the 25th January - the anniversary of Scotland's famous bard, Robert Burns. Many Scots and Burns fans will celebrate his birth at Burns Nights across the world - often enjoying a glass of Scotland's just as famous Whisky.
Burns is celebrated as Scotland's national poet, a writer of great love poetry but also of the common man, many of his poems written in the vernacular. One of his most famous is "Is there for honest poverty" commonly referred to as "A Man's A Man for A' That", a celebration of the equality of man, its final lines ending:
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's comin yet for a' that
That man to man, the world o'er,
Shall brithers be for a' that.

Scotland and the Anzacs Scotland and its culture were well represented amongst the Anzac's. The connection between the Anzacs and Scotland and its culture. Tens of thousands of Anzacs were of Scottish birth or heritage. As an example, Colonel Richard Linton who died as a result of the torpedoing of the troopship Southland off Lemnos and is buried at East Mudros, was born in Dalton, Scotland. And Ned Herring who would serve in both World 
A Dram Before the Charge at the Nek
Here an Australian officer, who would be awarded the VC at Gallipoli, drank Scotch Whisky with his comrades to steady their nerves the evening before the terrible assault at the Nek at Gallipoli in August 1915. Another connection is that this particular officer would no doubt have appreciated the words of Burns famous poem cited above.

Lieutenant Hugo Throssell VC. AWM
On the evening prior to the well-known charge of the Australian Light Horse at the Nek (the evening of the 6th August 1915), Lieutenant Hugo Throssel "borrowed" a bottle of Scotch Whisky from Major Tom Todd's dugout. He arranged to meet a few of his fellow 10th Australian Light Horse comrades on the cliff overlooking Anzac Cove.
As the author John Hamilton quotes from a newspaper report of the event:
"It was ... the first occasion during his lifetime on which he had taken strong drink. they knew that in the morning they had to make a bayonet charge and he thought that something was needed to steady the their nerves."
Hamilton records that Hugo and his mates moved to a spot on the cliff at Walker's Ridge and opened the whisky:
"They yarned together about their school days together until midnight, as they passed the bottle around ... At midnight they shook hands all round and wished one another luck."
Hugo was not a whisky drinker and did not like strong drink. Yet when he wanted to share a few moments of camaraderie with his men before the terrible attack that would come only hours ahead - a chose a Scotch Whisky.
The next morning the Western Australian men of the 10th Battalion would take part in the charge at the Nek. Hugo and many of his company managed to survive the murderous assault on the Turkish lines.
During the later action as Hill 60 on 29-30 August, Hugo performed the valorous deeds for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. He was the only Australian light horseman to be so decorated during the Great War.

Men of the 10th Australian Light Horse, the day after the charge at the Nek. Walkers Ridge, Gallipoli, 1915. AWM
The Cemetery at the Nek today. Photo Jim Claven 2015.
Hugo Throssell After Gallipoli
Hugo served in France and survived the First World War, although his brother who also served would not. He was promoted to Captain. He married the Australian author Katherine Susannah Pritchard, having met her while convalescing in England during the war. He would be a passionate anti-war advocate after the war. Invited to address his local Peace Day Parade at Northam in July 1919 - commemorating the signing of the peace treaty with Germany - Hugo publicly declared his opposition to war and that "war had made him a socialist." Harassed by Australian authorities after the war due to his views, Hugo tragically shot himself with his service revolver in 1933.
Hugo's family sold his VC in 1984, the medal going to the Australian War Memorial and the funds raised being awarded to the People for Nuclear Disarmament, in respect to Hugo's commitment to peace.

For more on the great Hugo Throssell VC, see John Hamilton's excellent book - The Price of Valour: The triumph and tragedy of a Gallipoli Hero, Hugo Throssell, VC - published by Macmillan, 2012.
For two reviews of this book, click here and here.
for the full poem "Is there for honest poverty" by Robert Burns, click here.
Below are images of bottles of Scotch Whisky from the era of WW1:

So if you are commemorating Burns today, spare a thought for Hugo Throssell and his comrades enjoying a Whisky on the eve of the dreadful charge at the Nek.
Rum, Gallipoli and Egypt
Anzac and other Allied soldiers were served a rum ration at Gallipoli. Rum flagons have been found during recent archaeological surveys. These are marked SRD - Service Ration Department.
Rum Ration bottle.
As the Allies evacuated Gallipoli destroyed those stores that they were not taking - including some Rum rations seen in the photograph taken on 17th December 1915.
Anzacs destroying rum cases, Anzac Cove, December 1915. AWM
Alcohol of course was available to diggers in Egypt. The photo below shows an old White Horse Scotch Whisky ad on a wall in Cairo, photographed in 1918 and held in the Australian War Memorial.
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Brighton's Colonel Richard Linton Remembered

Bayside War Memorial, Green Point Brighton. Photo Jim Claven 2015

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting the magnificent Anzac War Memorial at Green Point, Brighton.
The Memorial sits atop the shore line of Melbourne's Port Philip Bay. It commands excellent views.
The Memorial contains the name of one of Brighton's famous Anzacs - Colonel Richard Linton.
Commander of the 6th Brigade in 1915, Richard had been born in Dalton, Scotland. His home in Brighton was named "Dalton" in his birthplace's honour. His home is part of the Bayside City Council's Ostend Historical trail (click here for more details).
He died as a result of the torpedoing of the transport ship, Southland, off Lemnos. He never got to command the brigade at Gallipoli. He was buried on Lemnos, at East Mudros Military Cemetery.
Bayside War Memorial, Green Point Brighton. Photo Jim Claven 2015

Bayside War Memorial, Green Point Brighton. Photo Jim Claven 2015

Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay, from Green Point, Brighton. Photo Jim Claven 2015

Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay, from Green Point, Brighton. Photo Jim Claven 2015
It is fitting that his name is memorialized above the beaches of Port Phillip Bay - a reminder of the great Mudros Bay at Lemnos, near whose shores Colonel Linton's remains were laid to rest 100 years ago.
His name is listed amongst the names on bronze plaques affixed to the Memorial.
Listing for Colonel R Linton, Bayside War Memorial. Photo Jim Claven 2015.

To find out more about Colonel Richard Linton and his death and burial on Lemnos, click here.
Lest we forget

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Albert Jacka VC Commemorations St Kilda Cemetery - Sunday 17 January 2015

Photo Jim Claven 2015

Today I had the pleasure along with other members of the Committee of attending the commemorative service for Captain Albert Jacka, VC, MC and Bar.
This was held on the 84th anniversary of his death on 17th January 1932.
The service was conducted by the City of Port Phillip, with the involvement among others of the RSL Vic Branch, 14th Battalion Association, Jacka's Mob Association, the St Kilda Army and Navy Club, the Hon Michael Danby MP for Melbourne Ports and many members of Albert Jacka's family.
One of the features of today's commemoration was the playing of an original 14th Battalion bugle.
It was significant that the program for the event reproduced the picture taken of Albert Jacka while he was on Lemnos in 1915.

Along with myself, Lambis Englezos, George Petrou and Ange Kenos attended the service.
Not far from Albert Jacka's grave is the joint grave of Nurse Clarice Daley and Sergeant Ernest Lawrence. Clarice and Ernest were the two Anzacs who were famously married on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign. Some of us took the opportunity to visit their grave during the Jacka commemoration. It would be good if a short ceremony at this grave site could be included in future Lemnos Gallipoli commemorations.
Below are some photos I took of the service:
Photo Jim Claven 2015
Photo Jim Claven 2015

Photo Jim Claven 2015
Photo Jim Claven 2015
Photo Jim Claven 2015

Original 14th Battalion bugle. Photo Jim Claven 2015
Detail from original 14th Battalion bugle. Photo Jim Claven 2015

Committee member Ange Kenos at the grave of Lemnos' Nurse Clarice Daley and Sergeant Ernest Lawrence. Photo Jim Claven 2015
Photo Jim Claven 2015
Thanks to Lambis to alerting us to this event.

Jim Claven 
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Invitation to Albert Jacka Commemoration - St Kilda Cemetery 2.30pm Sunday 17th January 2016

Albert Jacka, VC, MC and Bar
Every year the City of Port Phillip commemorate the service of Albert Jacka, VC, MC and Bar - the first Australian soldier to win a Victoria Cross in the First World and a former Mayor of St Kilda on his return to Australia.
The commemorative service is held on the anniversary of his death. He died on the 17th January 1932. This years event will be the 83rd anniversary of his death.
This years event will take place at 2.30pm on Sunday 17th January 2016 at St Kilda Cemetery Dandenong Road, St Kilda East. A map of the location can be seen by clicking here.
You are all welcome to attend.
Jacka and Lemnos
For the story of Jacka's link to Lemnos go to our previous post by clicking here.
An interesting fact is that not far from Albert Jacka's grave at St Kilda Cemetery is the joint grave of former Anzac Nurse Clarice Daley and Sergeant Ernest Lawrence - who both also served on Lemnos in 1915.

Albert Jacka's grave, St Kilda Cemetery. Jim Claven 2015.
Albert Jacka - Interesting facts on Jacka’s service and life:
  • Jacka served on Lemnos in 1915 during the Gallipoli campaign, being famously photographed there.
  • He arrived there in April and returned on a number of occasions due to illness and finally came to the Island after the evacuation of the peninsula.
  • While on Lemnos recuperating from illness, Jacka was paraded before military dignitaries.
  • During one of his illnesses, Jacka was cared for by the Australian nurses of the 2nd Australian Stationary Hospital on Lemnos.
  • One of Jacka's comrades was Ernie Hill who would return to Australia and successfully fight for the naming of the new soldier settlement outside of Shepparton as "Lemnos".
  • He was the first Australian to be awarded the Victoria Cross in WWI for his actions on 19 May, 1915, three weeks after arriving at Gallipoli. A massive Turkish offensive to drive the Australian and New Zealand forces off their positions was launched. During this fight a selection of Australian trenches was occupied by the enemy. Jacka organised a party of men to fire on the Turks while he outflanked them. His Victoria Cross citation states that “Jacka at once most gallantly attacked them single-handed and killed the whole party, five by rifle fire and two by the bayonet”.
  • Jacka continued to fight with gallantry and distinction and was awarded the Military Cross for his actions at Pozieres on 7 August, 1916 and received a bar to his MC for bravery at Bullecourt on 8 April, 1917.
  • After being elected as a St Kilda City Councillor in 1929, Jacka fought for his constituents, especially the unemployed, with the same determination he’d shown as a soldier. During his term as Mayor in 1930, Jacka continued to show unwavering support of the needy, who were so deeply affected by the Depression.
  • On 20 January, Jacka was buried with full military honours at St Kilda Cemetery. The ceremony was broadcast on radio and up to 50,000 residents lined the streets to pay their respects.”
  • Jacka Boulevard in St Kilda and the suburb of Jacka in Canberra are both named in his honour.
Albert Jacka on Lemnos, 1915. AWM
For the media release on last years service, click here.
For a media report on last years service, click here.
Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee