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PLAQUE NO. 134 ... ANZAC PLAQUE

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Main Lemnos Text

AUSTRALIA AND LEMNOS ISLAND ARE FOREVER LINKED BY THE EVENTS OF WORLD WAR ONE (1914-1918).

 IN 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 PORTIANOU.

POST-WAR, AUSTRALIA HAS BECOME HOME FOR MANY LEMNIANS, THIS MIGRATION HAS CEMENTED ENDURING CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL LINKS BETWEEN GREECE AND AUSTRALIA.


Minor Text Lemnos

 Lemnos, 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.  

AUSTRALIAN NURSES

In 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.


GALLIPOLI CASUALTIES

TOTAL DIED  WOUNDED 
BRITAIN  21,300 52,200 73,000
AUSTRALIA 8,700 19,400 28,100
NEW ZEALAND 2,700 4,900 7,600
INDIA 1,400 3,400 7,600
NEWFOUNDLAND 50 100 150
FRANCE 10,000 17,000 27,000

TOTAL ALLIES 44,000 97,000 141,000
TURKEY 86,000 164,000 251,300

Approximately one million men fought at Gallipoli, this total includes those serving on both sides. Of them one third to one half became casualties.  

 



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