Help us promote Lemnos' link to Anzac - Make a donation now

Our Committee is raising funds to create a lasting legacy telling the story of Lemnos' link to Gallipoli and Australia's Anzac story. Our projects include the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park, the publication of a major new historical and pictorial publication and more. To make a donation you can also deposit directly by direct debit into the Committee's bank account: Account Name: Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Inc; Bank: Delphi Bank; Account No: 204299-020 BSB No: 941300; Include your surname in the reference section. For further information on our legacy projects or to make a donation please contact either Lee Tarlamis 0411553009 or Jim Claven 0409402388M

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

You are Invited - New WW2 Memorials to be Unveiled at Pylos and Methone 6th May

Pylos and its harbour, where the damaged Nino Bixio was towed in 1942 and where the new memorial will be installed on 6th May. Photo Jim Claven 2016
All are welcome to attend the forthcoming unveiling of two new WW2 commemorative memorials at Pylos and Methone.
This event will begin at 1pm, 6th May, at the Hellenic War Memorial at Pylos harbour. This will be followed by a similar event at the Hellenic War Memorial at Methone.
While every effort has been taken to confirm event details, they may change and those wishing to attend should confirm details with the Municipality of Pylos-Nestor.
The Memorials
These two new bronze plaques commemorate the Nino Bixio tragedy of 1942 and that of the Sebastiano Veniero-Jason off Cape Methone of 1941. They commemorate those who died, those who survived and the local people who tried to help them.

These memorials have been the dream of Australian WW2 veteran and survivor of the Nino Bixio tragedy for many years.
WW2 Australian veteran Bill Rudd in WW2.
In August 1942 Bill was one of 2,000 Allied prisoners aboard the Nino Bixio, sailing from Libya to an internment camp in Italy. Bill found a spot on the steel mezzanine deck that ran around the forward hold of the ship and remembers it as “incredibly hot and stuffy.”
In waters south west of Greece, 12 nautical miles south west of Pylos, at 4.33pm on the 17th August 1942, the Nino Bixio was torpedoed by an Allied submarine. Only days before this same submarine had been taking on and dropping off Allied SOE agents and Greek resistance fighters on Crete and the mainland. Bill remembers “a sudden tremendous thud and the "whoompf" of the torpedo bursting into the hold.” As he made his way to the decks with the rest of the survivors, Bill witnessed more destruction and the bodies of the dead.
Italian POW ship the Nino Bixio.
Over 300 of Bill’s comrades were killed in the ensuing tragedy - Australians, New Zealanders and other Allied troops. Many were killed or died in the holds of the ship, as water gushed in and debris crashed on top of them. Some – like the Scottish-born Anzac Private James Paterson of the 2/28th Battalion - jumped from the ship and tried to make their way to safety on makeshift rafts. Tragically, James died of exhaustion after days adrift in the Mediterranean.
Sergeant Robert Patterson's grave at Phaleron in Athens. Photo Jim Claven 2016.
Yet the Nino Bixio did not sink and was eventually towed into Pylos harbour by an Italian warship. Here Bill came ashore with the other survivors. The dead were buried in the local Greek Orthodox Cemetery, re-buried after the war at Phaleron Cemetery near Athens. The sole Australian amongst the dead re-buried at Phaleron was Sydney-born Sergeant Robert John Patterson of the 2/32nd Battalion. Those missing would be commemorated at the El Alamein Memorial in Egypt.
The Sebastiano Veniero-Jason crashes into Methone, 1941.
A similar story of death and survival had occurred with the Sebastiano Veniero-Jason off Cape Methone on the 9th December 1941, where over 500 were killed out of a total 2,100 Allied prisoners aboard the ship. Locals at Methone also assisted in the collection and temporary burial of the bodies of Allied soldiers washed ashore.
Until this time there has been no memorial dedicated to commemorating these tragedies.
The Nino Bixio and Sebastiano Veniero-Jason Memorials will be installed by the Municipality of Pylos-Nestor, with the support of the Pammessian Brotherhood ‘Papaflessas’ (Melbourne and Victoria), the Panpyliaki Brotherhood ‘Navarino’ (Melbourne and Victoria), Veteran Bill Rudd. It has been my own personal honor to have drafted the memorials themselves.
The memorials were made in Australia and transported to the Municipality of Pylos-Nestor, who will install the memorial plaques on 6th May 2018
I would like to acknowledge the work of George Iliopoulos, Paul Sougleris, George Saratsiotis, RitaLambros, Ioannis Mitsakos and Betty Kosmas in bringing the dream of our veteran Bill Rudd to a reality.
Greece's New Anzac Trail
These memorials are another step in the formation of Greece's Anzac trail - stretching from Lemnos in 1915, through Thessaloniki and northern Macedonia in 1915-1918, and down through the Greek mainland and across the Greek Islands in WW2. This will identify and commemorate the key locations connected to the Anzac's and their service in Greece, celebrating this important bond of friendship between Greece and Australia.

Jim Claven
Member WW2 Pylos and Methone Memorials Organising Committee
Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
Member, Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council

Friday, 30 March 2018

You are Invited - Commemorative Events in Greece - April-May 2018

Greek Campaign veteran Frank Gill's daughter (speaking) with British veterans of the Greek campaign at the Battle of Kalamata commemorative service, 2016. Photo Jim Claven 2016

We have been advised of the following commemorative events to be held in Greece across April and May 2018.
The annual commemorative service held on Lemnos will be held on 20th April 2018. This years events will centre on the Mudros area on the eastern side of Mudros Bay.
We are glad to announce that a feature of this years program will be the unveiling of a new memorial on Lemnos at the site of the Australian Pier, erected by Australian soldiers in March 1915. This new memorial has been a major project of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, and now with the support of the Victorian Government and the Regional and Municipal authorities on Lemnos, this important marker from Lemnos' role in the Gallipoli campaign will now be recognised.
A big thank you to our Vice-President, Ms Christina Despoteris, for all her work in liaising with the authorities on Lemnos both on our Australian Pier project and our Committee's participation in the commemorative events on Lemnos.
For more information on the history and significance of the Australian Pier, please read my article in The Gallipolian magazine by clicking here.
The program of events can be read by clicking here.
Commemorative service at East Mudros Military Cemetery, 2015. Photo Jim Claven 2015

The annual Anzac Day commemorative service will take place at 11am on 25th April 2018 at Phaleron Military Cemetery in Athens. All welcome to attend this event. As more information becomes available we will update this post.
Anzac Day service at Phaleron Cemetery, 2015. Photo Jim Claven 2015

A commemorative event is scheduled to take place at Pylos on 6th May, commencing at 1pm, followed on the same day with an event at Methone. These events will comprise the unveiling of a new plaque at each location in commemoration of the Nino Bixio (Pylos) and Sebastiano Veniero-Jason (Methone) tragedies of WW2. These plaques have been produced in Australia (pictured below) - funded by veteran Bill Rudd, the Melbourne-based Papaflessas and Navarino communities - and will be installed by the Municipality of Pylos-Nestor at Pylos and Methone respectively.
The Municipality of Pylos-Nestor is organising this event. A big thank you to all involved - in Australia and Greece - in bringing this project to a reality. Further details on these events will be posted when available.
The Pylos and Methone Plaques at their unveiling in Oakliegh, Melbourne, December 2017, in the presence of the Australian veteran and survivor of the Nino Bixio tragedy, Mr Bill Rudd (second from left). Photo Jim Claven 2017

The Nino Bixio Tragedy Memorial to be installed at Pylos. Photo Jim Claven 2017

The Sebastiano Veniero-Jason Tragedy Memorial to be installed at Methone. Photo Jim Claven 2017

The annual commemoration of the Greek campaign of 1941 will take place at the Battle of Kalamata Memorial in Kalamata on the 8th May 2018, commencing at 11am. The service will be conducted at the Memorial in the Railway Park, Kalamata.This will include a wreath-laying service. Contact the Municipality of Kalamata if you would like more information. Further details on this event will be posted when available.
Battle of Kalamata Memorial, Kalamata. Photo Brotherhood of Veterans of the Greek Campaign (UK)

There will be a number of commemorative events held on Crete in May, as there is each year.
Below is a program of events recently posted by Hotel Mike (Maleme, Crete) with details yet to confirmed. It is provided only as an indication as to what might be in the program.
The Commemorations should be from Wednesday the 16th of May until Sunday 20th of May 2018. Details could be the following:
  • Wednesday 16th May 2018 - 18:30 Monument of Nea Chora (small Harbor at Chania) (hasn't official confirmed yet.
  • Thursday 17th May 2018 - 11:00 5th Cretan Division at Kolimbari. (hasn't official confirmed yet).
  • Friday 18th May 2018 - 10:00 in the morning Firkas Fortress Flag Raising by Maritime Museum (hasn't official confirmed yet); 13:30 Memorial New Zealand - Australian ANZAC at 42nd Tsikaliaria St (hasn't official confirmed yet); 18:00 Galatas Hill Greek - New Zealand Memorial. (hasn't official confirmed yet).
  • Saturday 19th May 2018 - 11:00 Ceremony at Alikianos - Keritis Monument (hasn't official confirmed yet); 11:00 R.A.F Memorial at Maleme , Crete Veterans Wreath Laying. (hasn't official confirmed yet); 15:00 Welch Memorial , at Galatas, Crete Veterans Wrath Laying (hasn't official confirmed yet); 8:00 Souda Bay CWGC Ceremony (memorial service, laying of wreaths) hasn't official confirmed yet).
  • Sunday 20th May 2018 - 11:00 Doxology at Metropolitan Church in Chania. (hasn't official confirmed yet); 3:00 Ceremony at the German War Cemetery , at Maleme. (hasn't official confirmed yet); 18:30 Closing Ceremony at Maleme Airfield - Battle of Crete monument - , Air Show by the F-16 Demo Team ' Zeus ' (hasn't official confirmed yet).
When we have confirmation of the program we will update this post.

Jim Claven
Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
Member, Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council

These details are provided for your information. While they are correct at the time of posting to the best of our knowledge, this information is subject to change and you are advised to check yourself with the relevant authorities to confirm any travel arrangements you.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Discovering Lemnos' Australian Pier - The Gallipolian Magazine

The new edition of the The Gallipolian, the magazine of the UK-based Gallipoli Association, has published my article on our discovery of the Australian Pier on Lemnos. With the support of the Victorian Government and Municipal and Regional authorities on Lemnos, we will be erecting a commemorative plaque at the pier this year.
You can view or download the journal by clicking here.

If you would like to join the UK-based Gallipoli Association, please contact the Membership Secretary -

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Greek Amabassador to Australia and Melbourne Consul-General Visit the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial - 25 March 2018

It was a very special day for the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee (LGCC) as Her Excellency the Greek Ambassador to Australia Ekaterini Xagorari and the Consul-General of Greece in Melbourne Dimitrios Michalopoulos visited the Lemnos Memorial at Lemnos Square. Cr Marcus Pearl representing the City of Port Phillip was also in attendance.
It is significant that the visit coincided with the Greek National Day and Cultural Diversity Week.
The Ambassador and Consul-General laid a wreath in memory of those fallen.

Cr Pearl welcomed quests to the City of Port Phillip, Lee Tarlamis President of LGCC spoke about the creation, location and meaning of the Memorial and Christina Despoteris Vice President outlined the Committee's work and its future projects.

Nikolaos Kydas Vice President of the Lemnos Community of Melbourne also addressed the audience. Other members of the LGCC who attended: Ange T Kenos, Angelo Yannacaros and Arlene Bennett.

Christine Despoteris
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Victorian Parliamentary Gardens Greek Anzac Plaque - RSL Vic Mufti Article

Photo Jim Claven 2017

The latest edition of the RSL Vic member journal - Mufti - includes an article by Tony Tsourdalakis on last years unveiling of the commemorative plaque and olive tree planting in the gardens of the Victorian Parliament.
The plaque commemorates the Hellenic link to Anzac across both world wars, as well as the link between Australia and Greece through the waves of post-war migration.
The plaque and tree was organised jointly by our Committee and the Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council - just one example of what we can both achieve by working together.
You can read and download the article by clicking here.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Photo Jim Claven 2017

Launch of Swinburne/Boroondara James 'Jim' Martin Scholarship

Hawthorn Roll of Honour Book - opened at the page with James Martin, Former Hawthorn Town Hall. Photo Jim Claven 2018

On Wednesday I attended - along with other members of our Committee - the above launch.
The $1,000 scholarship is open to Year 9 Secondary School Students in the Boroondara and has been named in honour of James 'Jim' Martin, at 14 years old the youngest Australian soldier to serve. He was killed by disease contracted on the Gallipoli Peninsula and buried at sea in the waters of the Aegean.
It should be noted that Jim came to Lemnos with the rest of his Battalion on his way to Gallipoli in September 1915. Along the way he survived the tragic attack on his troopship, the Southland.
This scholarship program has been put together really well, and aims to enhance awareness amongst young people of the local stories associated with Australia's Anzac tradition from WW1. It is supported by the "My School Remembers" program.
Students will research the archives and write about a local Boroondaradigger or nurse.
Eventually, this information will be accessible through a mobile application, which will enable anyone using it to follow the story of each of these diggers around the locations connecting them to Boroondaraand beyond. Amazing.
The launch was attended by descendants of Jim Martin, as well as the author of "Soldier Boy", Anthony Hill, the story of Jim Martin.
the launch also include an amazing performance by actors in WW1 uniform, bringing vividly to life the life and tragic death of Jim martin and two other local diggers killed at the later battle of Fromelles in France.
Congratulations to all involved in this worthy project, and to Swinburne and the City of Boroondarafor supporting it.
It would be great if this sort of program could be rolled-out to other communities.
Thank you to George Verginis of the Kew Rotary for inviting us to attend the launch.
Details on the My School Remembers program can be read by clicking here and here.
Details on the scholarship can be read by clicking here.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Thursday, 1 March 2018

2018 Scholarship and Awards Presentation - Nurses Memorial Centre

It was a great evening at the Nurses Memorial Centre (NMC) at the Presentation of Scholarships and Awards. The President Dr Elizabeth Lavender warmly welcomed guests and Dr Beverley Wood, the Chair of the NMC Scholarship Committee commented on the difficulty that the judges had in selecting the finalists for the scholarships as the standard of the applicants was very high.
The NMC offers a number of scholarships to exceptional candidates, such as nurses and midwives, undertaking postgraduate study at an Australian University or accredited higher education institution. The purpose of these scholarships is to increase access to postgraduate study for nurses and midwives as part of the NMC’s mission to act as “a living memorial” by advancing the nursing profession through education.

The Award recipients are as follows:
  • The Anne Murray Mental Health Scholarship - Miss Eliza Otte - Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing RMIT University
  • Indigenous Scholarship - Miss Chloe Reid - Master of Advanced Nursing Practice University of Melbourne
  • Prince Henry’s Affiliates Scholarship -  Mrs Catherine Halmarick - Certificate in Allied Health Professionals Ultrasound Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine
  • The Australian Legion of Ex-Servicemen and Women Scholarships: Miss Amy Grant - Graduate Certificate Nursing (Emergency Care) Latrobe University;Ms Kylie Kidner - Master of Nursing Practice (Nurse Practitioner) Charles Darwin University; Miss Lindsay Scudder - Master of Advanced Nursing Practice University of Melbourne
  • The Nurses Memorial Centre Vivian Bullwinkel Award - Mrs Monica Schoch PhD - Point of Care Ultrasound in Haemodialysis Access Deakin University
  • Nurses Memorial Centre Betty Jeffrey Award - Ms Abha Somesh - Master of Nursing Practice (Critical Care) Deakin University
The Indigenous Scholarship was introduced this year for the first time. It was made possible by generous donations to the NMC which recognises the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses to the health and well-being of the community. The NMC is pleased to offer this Indigenous Scholarship for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses undertaking postgraduate Nursing Studies at an Australian University or other accredited higher education institution.
Arlene Bennett Vice President of the NMC and Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Member presented the Prince Henry's Affiliates Scholarship.
Following the Awards Presentation, we heard from Mr Paul Gardner, RN, MN Gerontic (res) - Recipient of the 2016 Australian Legion of Ex-Servicemen and Women Scholarship.
Congratulations to all the recipients of the Awards and Scholarships and we wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Christina Despoteris
Vice President
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee