Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee welcome Remembrance Trail announcement

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All of those interested in commemorating the role of Lemnos in the Gallipoli campaign will be overjoyed to hear that the Australian Government in its 2022 Budget has committed $4.9 million over 2 years from 2022-23 to construct the Lemnos Remembrance Trail, “in recognition of the Australian doctors, nurses and other service personnel who served there during the First World War.”

This commitment will help realize the Australian Government proposal – overseen by the Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs – developed through the Lemnos Scoping Project. This detailed study was conducted over more than a year, encompassing the engagement of specialist consultants, the completion of an MOU between Australia and Greece, local community consultations and a site visit to Lemnos and its Anzac-Gallipoli related sites. 

Jim Claven (at left) leading a Lemnos Anzac tour with descendents of Matron Grace Wilson who served on Lemnos in 1915-16. Photograph Jim Claven 2015. 

In recommending the development of the trail on Lemnos, the Project took into account detailed evidence for the role of Lemnos in the Gallipoli campaign, the Anzac presence on the Island and their connection to the various locations on Lemnos, around the shores of Mudros Bay and beyond. Historical consultant to the project was Jim Claven, historian and author, who has conducted many field research visits to Lemnos which along with his academic research informed his book, Lemnos & Gallipoli Revealed, published in 2019.

A proposal for the development of a trail on Lemnos focusing on the Island’s connection to Anzac and Gallipoli was first put forward by Melbourne’s Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee in 2018 during the Anzac commemorations on the Island. This was made as a joint commitment by the Committee and the Northern Aegean Regional Government.

The new Sapper Basil Demetri Passa Memorial to be erected soon in his birthplace of Kontopouli on Lemnos. Photograph Jim Claven 2020.

This was then conceived as the Lemnos Gallipoli Heritage Trail and was announced at the unveiling of the Australian Pier Memorial, a joint initiative of the Committee, the Regional Government and the Victorian Government. The announcement stated that the creation of such a trail was considered a vital new step in not only commemorating Lemnos’ link to the Gallipoli campaign, but also in facilitating awareness of the link to a new generation.

Since that time the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee has produced two additional commemorative plaques to be erected on Lemnos on sites with important connections to the Hellenic link to Anzac. The first will be erected in the Lemnian village of Kontopouli, the birthplace of Lemnos’ sole Anzac Sapper Basil Demetris Passa. The other will be erected on the Turks Head Peninsula (also known as Punda) in commemoration of the Royal Australian Navy and its connection to Lemnos. It is hoped that these will be installed in coming months. Both memorials not only honour specific Anzac connections to Lemnos but their installation will extend the existing Anzac trail on the Island.

The Australian Pier Memorial on the shores of Lemnos’ Mudros Bay, erected in 2018. Photograph Jim Claven 2018.

Committee President Mr Lee Tarlamis OAM MP welcomed the announcement, acknowledging the significance of the commitment.

This is a very important development for all interested in the Lemnos link to Anzac. As someone of both Lemnian and Anzac heritage, I am proud to have played a small part over the years in building awareness of this role and its significance”, he said. 

The commitment to realise this new Lemnos Remembrance Trail – which will hopefully connect all the key Anzac-Gallipoli related sites on the Island – will bring to fruition a vision that many of us – in Greece and in Australia – have held for many years.”

The proposed Lemnos Remembrance Trail will both greatly enhance commemorative services on Lemnos and provide invaluable assistance to future commemorative visitors as they tour the Island”, he added.

Mr Tarlamis said that the Committee would support the development of the Lemnos Remembrance Trail in any way they could, as we have already helped create a number of new commemorative memorials on Lemnos to date and will continue to do so in the future. He hoped that this important stage of the project would go forward in the spirit of political bi-partisanship that the project has enjoyed to date.

Jim Claven’s Lemnos & Gallipoli Revealed, published by the Committee in 2019. Photograph Jim Claven 2019.

Along with other Australian-based organizations, the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee was originally part of the community consultation for the Lemnos Scoping Project. 

This is a most welcome development. The creation of the Lemnos Remembrance Trail will ensure that the Island’s position in the Hellenic link to Australia’s Anzac tradition is reinforced and that the service and sacrifice of those who came to Lemnos in the Gallipoli campaign – including an estimated 50,000 Australians – is not forgotten.

Readers wishing to learn more about Lemnos and its Anzac-Gallipoli links can purchase a copy of Lemnos & Gallipoli Revealed by contacting Committee President Lee Tarlamis OAM MP via email – lee.tarlamis@hotmail.com.

30 March 2022

READ MORE: Federal Budget 2022: $4.9 million allocated to create Remembrance Trail on Lemnos island

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