Thursday, 23 April 2015

Lemnos Anzac Commemoration: 17-20 April, 2015

Lemnos Anzac Commemoration: 17-20 April, 2015

The WW1 Cemetery in Moudros

I recently wrote a blog about an Anzac Commemoration that took place in the Australian village where we now live. We have just arrived in our Greek village of Myrina in time for a similar service and commemoration here.


We had spent Easter in Athens and planned to leave on Easter Monday, but we had to leave a little later than planned as Takis was sick and needed time to recuperate. That meant changing our flight, and we only just managed to get seats on the Aegean Friday evening flight as there were so many Australians planning to be in Lemnos for its Anzac  ‘celebration’ this past weekend.


It was a very exciting time for the island for usually at this time of the year there are few visitors. Especially as folk had come not only for the Anzac memorial service in Moudros but there was also a large contingent of youth who’d come for an international youth handball competition, with teams from Portugal and other European countries!

At this time of the year Lemnos can be cold and we found locals wearing overcoats for, though sometimes sunny, the wind was still coming from Russia. While I don't mind rugging up and going for a walk, Takis still had to be very careful, and we found ourselves in a big empty cold house so we had to put on the heaters as we moved from room to room.

There was to be a service in Moudros and a memorial set up for 2 Canadian nurses who died when looking after soldiers during the 1st WW (the only two nurses to die on the island.) But because Takis still needed to keep warm we did not go to any events but watched some activities from our top floor windows. Battleships and two cruise ships were in port and when I went for a walk I saw sailors and Australians sitting in tavernas and checking out the shops. There was even the Australian Ambasador here, he passed by in a cavalcade of flag waving cars.



Takis’ thoughts on this event

The spoils of war it could be gold,
But those of soldiers is red and warm.
Who could repay a fraction lost
The rest of Life a broken rock?

Even though this time may be an opportunity to talk about peace I think I should add yet another voice representing quite a few people in Australia who were not happy to see so much government money spent on various war memorials. They objected to the huge media coverage this event had in Australia, with the such a strong emphasis on nationalistic aspects. Here are two more poems by one who felt strongly about the death of so many, and the way this event was portrayed.

You can be sure that this film will be shown on Australian TV this weekend.

Australians at Lemnos, 1915

We came back across the water
After the most dreadful slaughter
Many to die here
Many now lie here.


Australians at Lemnos, 2015

Oi Aussie, Oi Aussie, we're no jerks
We could have easily thrashed the Turks
Now we bask in such great glory
As told to us - the Anzac story.


You may like to look at the Lemnos Friends of Anzac website that Tony and Despina Whitefield have set up:

And also their Facebook page that has lots of photos of the celebrations that have been going on in Limnos:

No comments:

Post a Comment