Main Lemnos Text
AUSTRALIA AND LEMNOS ISLAND ARE FOREVER
LINKED BY THE EVENTS OF WORLD WAR ONE (1914-1918).
FEBRUARY 1915, THE GREEK GOVERNMENT OFFERED THE ALLIES THE ISLAND OF
LEMNOS AS A BASE FOR A NAVAL ATTACK ON THE DARDANELLES. THE ATTACK
FAILED AND LEMNOS BECAME A HUGE MILITARY CAMP FOR ALLIED TROOPS,
INCLUDING THOUSANDS OF AUSTRALIANS (ANZAC'S), PREPARING FOR A LAND
ATTACK ON THE TURKISH ARMY ENTRENCHED ON THE GALLIPOLI PENINSULA.
THE VAST PROTECTED HARBOUR OF MOUDROS
BUSTLED, AS THE GREATEST AMPHIBIOUS LANDING FORCE IN HISTORY ASSEMBLED.
THE LACK OF WHARF FACILITIES, A BARREN LAND COMBINED WITH LIMITED WATER
SUPPLIES AND INADEQUATE FOOD AND SHELTER; FORCED THE FRENCH AND SOME
BRITISH TROOPS TO MOVE 130-KM SOUTH TO SKIROS ISLAND. BY 21 APRIL
HOWEVER, OVER 200 SHIPS WERE READY TO SAIL FROM MOUDROS HARBOUR FOR THE
FAMOUS GALLIPOLI LANDINGS ON 25 APRIL 1915.
LEMNOS PLAYED AN IMPORTANT ROLE DURING THE
8 1/2-MONTH CAMPAIGN, HOUSING LARGE HOSPITALS AND CONVALESCENT CAMPS.
THOSE WHO DIED, REST FOREVER IN THE WAR CEMETERIES AT MOUDROS AND
POST-WAR, AUSTRALIA HAS BECOME HOME
FOR MANY LEMNIANS, THIS MIGRATION HAS CEMENTED ENDURING CULTURAL AND
HISTORICAL LINKS BETWEEN GREECE AND AUSTRALIA.
110 km from the Gallipoli battlefields, was the main destination for
hospital ships carrying those allied battle casualties expected to
recover within four weeks. The more serious cases went on to major
military hospitals in Egypt, Malta and England.
Two vast ‘tent cities’ were established around the harbour during
1915. The main Australian camp, ‘Mudros West’, was near Portianou.
The British and French camps, ‘Mudros East’, were on flat land south
and east of Moudros village. The camps could hospitalise 3000 to 6000
casualties in basic conditions: mattresses on the ground, limited water
and sporadic electricity.
Over 100 Australian volunteer nurses were
stationed on Lemnos between August 1915 and the departure of the allies
in February 1916. The
doctors and nurses suffered illness due the extremes of climate and
plagues of flies.
Lemnos was also a rest area for exhausted
front-line troops. They enjoyed buying fresh foods and wine from
Lemnians with whom they mixed freely, walked to the hot springs at
Therma and played cricket and football.
Only the concrete bases of the ‘Mudros
East’ desalination plant and naval guns remain today.
World War I, the Australian Army Nursing Corps had 2,692 Australian
nurses volunteer to serve in Australia, New Guinea, Egypt, Lemnos,
Malta, Palestine, Mesopotamia, India, Northern Greece, England, France,
Belgium, Italy, Russia and hospital ships and troop transport ships on
the high seas. Twenty-five nurses died on active service.
one million men fought at Gallipoli, this total includes those serving
on both sides. Of them one third to one half became casualties.