Before the backdrop of two Commonwealth military cemeteries on the island of Lemnos, a major Australian parliamentary delegation commemorated the sacrifice of the Anzacs who fought at Gallipoli.
Last Saturday, the service aimed to honour the 148 Australian and 76 New Zealand Anzac soldiers buried on the island of Lemnos.
Over 50,000 Australians and 8,500 New Zealand soldiers, along with over one hundred Australian nurses, served in the Gallipoli campaign. All of them spent time on Lemnos as the main base for the Gallipoli campaign. They practised the landings there, they returned as wounded and sick soldiers to be tended by the Australian nurses in its field hospitals, they came for brief periods of rest from the horrors of the peninsula and they came there as the campaign ended at the end of 1915.
Almost a hundred years have passed, and Labor MP John Pandazopoulos said it was necessary to remember the sacrifice and the importance of this small Aegean island.”It was a great honour to take part in this important commemorative ceremony on Lemnos, 98 years after the Anzacs arrived on Lemnos,” Mr Pandazopoulos said in Lemnos.
He said it was fitting that the ceremony took place a few days before the Anzac day ceremony on April 25, as Lemnos provided for the troops before and throughout the campaign.
The major services at Portianos and East Mudros Cemetery were accompanied by Greek military and religious representatives, along with the Australian Ambassador to Greece Ms Jenny Bloomfield and the Australian Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, AO, CSC.
The delegation also visited the various important sites on Lemnos connected with the Anzacs, including the Sarpi rest camp, the 3rd Australian General Hospital, Therma, Myrina, Mudros, Tsimandria and Kotsinas on the Bay of Purnea – from where the Anzacs departed for Gallipoli in April 1915.
From Lemnos, the delegation took part in commemorative services at Anzac Cove in the Gallipoli peninsula on Thursday.
Some of the Australians buried on Lemnos include Colonel Richard Linton from Brighton in Melbourne – the Commander of the 6th Infantry Brigade died as a result of a torpedo attack on his transport ship on September 1915 – Private George Tetlow, a baker from Geraldton in Western Australia, and Private Joseph May, a labourer from Knowsley in central Victoria, of the famous 7th Battalion.