Last Sunday members of Melbourne’s Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee joined with Anzac descendents, federal MP Michael Danby and representatives of the City of Port Phillip at St Kilda Cemetery to honour the service of two famous Anzacs who served on Lemnos in 1915.
Nurse Clarice Daley and Sergeant Ernest Lawrence both served in the Gallipoli campaign, Clarice serving with the 3rd Australian General Hospital on Lemnos and Ernest with the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade at Gallipoli. They were famously married on the western shores of Lemnos’ great Mudros Bay. They are the only Anzac couple to have been married in the war zone during the campaign. Clarice and Ernest survived the war and returned to Melbourne’s Elwood, going on to raise a family together.
The service took place at Clarice and Ernest’s grave site at St Kilda Cemetery.
Attendees included descendents of Clarice and Ernest − Christina Chapman, Glen Chapman and Richard Hall. Also present were the Hon. Michael Danby, Federal MP for Melbourne Ports, Councillor Dick Gross from the City of Port Phillip, Sandra Khazam from the City of Port Phillip and Anzac historian Hugh Dolan, author of 36 Days and Gallipoli Air War.
John Salpigitidis, representing the George Devine Treloar Memorial Committee, as well as Jan Armstrong, a relative of Ballarat’s George Devine Treloar, also attended. Mr Salpigtidis laid a wreath comprised of olive leaves and rosemary, symbolising both Greece and remembrance, on behalf of the George Devine Treloar Memorial Committee.
In laying the committee’s wreath at the grave, committee president Lee Tarlamis addressed the assembly, praising the role of Australia’s nurses like Clarice, who diligently tended to the thousands of wounded and sick soldiers from the Gallipoli fronts in 1915. He said it was a particular honour to be joined on the day by members of the Daley-Lawrence family.
“It was also significant that today, members of Melbourne’s Hellenic community are joined with the descendents of these two Anzacs to honour their service all those years ago on the island of Lemnos,” Mr Tarlamis added.
Reverend Richard Hall spoke on behalf of the Daley-Lawrence family, emphasising that in the midst of war, this young couple demonstrated the power of love to bring people together. Hugh Dolan commented on the important role that Lemnos played in the Gallipoli campaign and indeed up until the end of the First World War as a naval and air base for the Allies.
Secretary of the committee Jim Claven said that it was important that we recognised the service of Anzac’s like Clarice and Ernest. He said they embodied the connection between Lemnos and Australia through the Anzac story and it was fitting that their resting place be acknowledged.
“Those Anzacs who served on Lemnos and returned to Australia carried the memory of their experience of Lemnos and its supportive islanders back to Australia’s shores. These memories are captured in the hundreds of photographs of Lemnos and references to the island in their letters, diaries and in memoirs. But this connection is also symbolised in graves such as Clarice and Ernest’s,” Mr Claven stated.
He believes that Clarice and Ernest’s grave is also significant in that it is one of very few to contain the remains of two Anzacs – a nurse and a digger.
The committee has raised the prospect of greater recognition of Clarice and Ernest’s grave and intends to hold a regular service at the grave site.