Campaign in Gallipoli: “With their sacrifice, they became our children”

By | May 6, 2023

LIMNOS – MISSION. “Buried at this location, Pioneer 4/344, CA, who died June 12, 1915, aged 21.” This is one of dozens of tombstones in the Moudros Commonwealth Military Cemetery on Lemnos, where carefully shielded from prying eyes lies an important chapter of modern history, as the flags flying at the entrance testify. 885 Commonwealth war dead are buried here First World War, of which 98 Australians and 47 New Zealanders, soldiers who participated in the Gallipoli campaign. Lemnos was a base, a training camp, but also a place of treatment and recovery for thousands of soldiers from the Entente forces who participated in the daring project of occupying it from the sea. gallipoli peninsulawhich failed miserably.

In an emotional act, the President of the Republic paid tribute to the thousands of young people who were born and raised in the southern hemisphere but breathed their last on the small island in the Aegean Sea. katerina sakellaropoulou and his Australian counterpart, Governor General of Australia, General (ret.) david harley, who together with his wife, Linda, makes an official visit to our country for the first time. “Lemnos was an island of key importance for the development of the operation and the port of Moudros was used as a base for the allied forces,” said Ms Sakellaropoulou.

Thousands of troops from Commonwealth countries found themselves abroad for the first time, in an isolated place whose inhabitants were also not used to living with foreigners. “The way the neighbors welcomed them and hugged everyone was moving, as a result of which strong ties developed between them, which have left their mark to this day,” said the President, who referred extensively to the particularly adverse weather conditions.

Katerina Sakellaropoulou and David Harley throw flowers into the sea in memory of the thousands of soldiers who breathed their last on Lemnos 108 years ago. [ΘΟΔΩΡΗΣ ΜΑΝΩΛΟΠΟΥΛΟΣ]

“It was a fierce and bloody war. Surviving accounts describe the utter horror. The teams that participated in the Gallipoli landing were completely exposed, without any cover whatsoever. The combined forces of the ANZAC (Australian New Zealand Expeditionary Force) they were facing an invisible enemy who knew the topography of the area very well and could exploit all aspects of the terrain.’

Those who manage to survive are taken to the temporary hospital on Limnos. “With their sacrifice, they became our children, whose memory we cherish with emotion and gratitude,” concluded Ms. Sakellaropoulou.

On the island were the President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou and her Australian counterpart David Harley.

“Legacy of the ANZACs”

“For Australians, ANZAC Day is a day when we pause to remember and reflect on the past,” said Mr Harley, “for me, this Day stirs memories of loss and stirs hidden emotions. Endurance, fortitude, a spirit of sacrifice and camaraderie: these are the traits that we identify as the legacy of the ANZAC and that also characterize the Greeks and the Limnians.” As the governor-general revealed, visibly moved, “Linda’s great-grandfather’s brother was among those who received this care, after he passed through Mudros, when he was forced to leave Gallipoli due to illness.”

Mr. Harley and Mrs. Sakellaropoulou laid a wreath after the memorial service. Wreaths were also laid by British Ambassador Matthew Lodge, Canadian Ambassador to Greece Anna-Karine Asselin, New Zealand Chargé d’Affaires in Rome Daniel Wai Poi, Italian Ambassador to Greece Colonel Efrem Moioli. and the president of the Regional Limnos Department of the Hellenic Red Cross, Dimitrios Achiladellis.

This history, which goes back 108 years, will become more widely known through the Memory Trail and the Lemnos Digital Trail website. The idea was first announced in April 2018 by the Gallipoli-Lemnos Memorial Committee for Melbourne and the North Aegean region, and voted into the Australian government budget in October 2022 as the total cost is 4, 9 million Australian dollars. The Camino will consist of seventeen points, directly connected to history, while the route itself, in addition to historical information, will also be included on the website of the same name. At one of the most iconic locations, Mudros Pier, the up-and-coming project was founded, which is dedicated to the fallen ANZAC members, as well as the Australian doctors, nurses and other personnel who served on the island in the First World War.

“All of us must support the enhancement of this historical aspect of our place,” emphasized to “K” Mr. Stelios Mantzaris, president of the hoteliers and the Association “The Lemnos Friends of Anzac”, which was founded in 2014. Lemnos It is frequented by Australians, interested in knowing the place, in which their relatives or simply compatriots met as new soldiers. “It is important to strengthen ties with all the countries that were part of the Commonwealth at the time and had soldiers here,” he added, who recently had the opportunity to discuss the issue in India with the commander of South India, so that in the In the future you can search for and find out the dead Indians who have been buried on Lemnos.

Our participation in the war defined our values ​​today.

“The Gallipoli campaign was for us the first military operation abroad as a national force, through which we shaped, among other things, our national consciousness, the way we see ourselves,” says the Governor General of Australia. David Harley, in the interview he gave to “K”. Therefore, April 25, the anniversary of the campaign, has been designated ANZAC Day, Australia’s pre-eminent national holiday. The campaign, which took place a few years after the establishment of the federal state of Australia, is reported to have involved 50,000 Australian soldiers, of whom 8,700 were killed and 19,000 wounded. On the morning of April 25, the ANZACs set out to occupy the Gallipoli peninsula to open the Dardanelles to the Allied army.

Campaign in Gallipoli:
David Harley, Governor General of Australia, General HE, is making an official visit to our country for the first time with his wife.

“Our involvement in World War I and World War II shaped our current values ​​and traits, such as bravery, which we keep alive to this day,” said Mr. Harley, who as a military man has experience in military operations. . “When we are in those conditions we are fully aware, we give our best.” Australia may be located at a great geographical distance from the rest of the continents, but when circumstances require it, he participates in international operations, such as in Somalia in the 1990s, where he himself had gone as a soldier.

In the months that the Australians lived with the Limnians, the foundations of an international friendship were laid, which continues to this day. “There was significant interaction between them,” notes Mr. Harley. “The first Greek immigrants already arrived in our country in 1929, while we had more massive arrivals after World War II,” recalls the 70-year-old governor, who, having grown up in an industrial city, had had Greek friends since he was born. He was a boy. “In private, I often visit his country, especially Corfu, where I have close friends.” After all, Greece was his first travel destination at the age of 18. “Then I dreamed of being an archaeologist, but it was not possible”…

It was the first military operation abroad as a national force, through which we shaped our national consciousness, the way we see ourselves.

pole of attraction

He believes that Lemnos’ historic trails, real and virtual, will be a magnet for Australian travelers. “Australians are familiar with long-haul flights,” he explains, “on average they log the most travel miles.” Therefore, the “road” to Lemnos will not cause them suspensions. “We have a different sense of distances, personally, as a soldier, I was used to crossing many kilometers on a daily basis.” Aside from tourists, Greece also seems to attract investors from Australia. “Last October, the Public Electricity Company (PPC) reached an agreement with the Australian Macquarie Asset Management for the purchase of 49% of the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (DEDDIE)”, recalled Mr. Harley, highlighting that compatriots are very interested in renewable energy sources. Indicatively, Cero Development, which belongs to the Macquarie Group, proceeded to further increase investments for photovoltaic projects in our country, strengthening its development portfolio.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *