Greece and Australia are creating a Remembrance Trail on the Aegean island of Lemnos in honor of the Australian troops killed in the First World War.
The Australian Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Keogh has confirmed a pledge announced last year by former PM Scott Morrison of a A$4.9 million ($3.28 million) commitment towards the Lemnos Remembrance Trail.
Keogh also paid tribute to the sacrifice and dedication of the nurses and doctors who ran this important hospital base out of little more than tents and shacks.
“The history of Lemnos in the First World War is of significance to both Australians and Greeks, and we have been working closely with the Greek authorities to make this important project possible.”
The minister for veterans’ affairs went on to thank “the Hellenic Ministry of National Defence, which has agreed to own, manage and maintain the physical trail in perpetuity.”
Remembrance Trail on Lemnos to honor Gallipoli campaign heroes
The Greek island of Lemnos was a significant base for the Allies throughout the Gallipoli campaign in World War I.
Lemnos was chosen as the main base for the Dardanelles campaign because of its strategic location at the entrance to the Dardanelles and its large deep harbor.
The Greek government led by Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos offered the Allies the use of Lemnos as a naval base and offered three divisions of Greek troops to help the Allies capture the Gallipoli peninsula.
Throughout the Gallipoli campaign, Lemnos played an important role as a hospital base.
The first troops to arrive on Lemnos was a force of marines on February 23, 1915. Thousands of troops, nurses, and support workers would arrive in the coming weeks and months to turn Lemnos and its main port Mudros into a considerable Allied camp.
Lemnos would play a vital role in the eight and half month Gallipoli campaign as a key transit point for troops, housing for large hospitals, and the location for convalescent and rest camps.
The Gallipoli Campaign was the first major battle undertaken in World War I by Australia and New Zealand and is often considered to have marked the birth of national consciousness in both countries.
The Lemnos Remembrance Trail will allow travelers to visit key sites of significance, and a website will be developed to tell the Australian story on Lemnos for those unable to visit in person.
When completed, more than a dozen significant sites on Lemnos will be publicly accessible, giving visitors an insight into the experiences of the soldiers and medical staff on the island.
The Trail is expected to be opened in April 2024 pending development approvals and construction.
Related: Anzac Day: When Australians and New Zealanders Fought for Greece
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