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

Monday, 27 July 2015

Our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial - More Photographs


Today I visited the foundry again to observe the work of our great sculptor, Peter Corlett, OAM, and Peter Morley of Meridian Sculpture.
Peter Morley, in collaboration with Peter Corlett, has been applying the patination process to our sculptures that will give them their greenish hue finish - reflective of ancient Greek sculpture.
Here are some more of my photographs recording the realisation of Peter's vision. If you wish to reproduce these images, please acknowledge authorship.
Come to our unveiling at 11am, Saturday 8th August 2015, Foote Street Square, Albert Park. All welcome.
Enjoy.

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee






 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial emerges - New photos of our sculptures in creation

Photograph Jim Claven 2015
Peter Corlett, OAM, our sculptor, has been working to create our new Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial. Having watched the process of creation, I can say that Peter has created an amazing and original work of art, capturing the various themes that come together around the Lemnos connection to Anzac - our brave diggers, wounded or sick, the nurses who cared for them, the earth of Lemnos and its ancient Hellenic history.
Here are some photographs I took of Peter's work, a work in progress, nearing completion. Enjoy and look forward to joining you all at the unveiling on Saturday 8th August.

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee


 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Lost Diggers of Vignacourt - George Petrou paintings exhibition


Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee member and supporter, George Petrou, has launched an exhibition of some of his great paintings inspired by the famous portrait photographs of diggers found only a few years ago in France by Australian investigative report Ross Coulthart.. The images were found hidden in trunks in the attic of a French farmhouse.

These unique photographs have been subject of a television documentary and have been reproduced in Ross' excellent publication - The Lost Digger's. As General Peter Cosgrove, AC, MC, Former Chief of Defence Force and Governor-General has said:
"It's a treasure trove. It's previously unknown, candid images of troops just out of the line. men with fear and experiences of the battle written on their faces."
For more information on Ross' book, click here.
George has created a series of paintings based on some of the most iconic of these photographs. The exhibition is George's latest interpretation in canvas from this archive of ANZAC images.
The exhibition was beautifully curated and displayed, with Ross Coulthart as guest speaker.
The exhibition is being hosted by Crowe Howarth (part of Findex), Australia's leading financial advisory and accounting group.
Thanks to Terry Paule for his support in making this exhibition a reality.
Below are some of the pages from the exhibition  brochure which explain the stories behind these great paintings:




George Petrou and myself at the exhibition. 2015
George Petrou
George is a well-known Melbourne graphic designer and artist. He has been an active supporter of our Committee and has also created a series of original paintings commemorating Lemnos' role in the Anzac story. Sales of these paintings contribute to our fundraising for our Lemnos Gallipoli projects. If you are interested in contacting George and purchasing any of his paintings, contact me on jimclaven@yahoo.com.au

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial Unveiling - Greek Language Report

Neos Kosmos today published our article promoting the unveiling of our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial at 11am on 8th August in the Greek language.

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

RSLHellenic Sub-Branch - Centenary of Anzac Dinner Dance - Lemnos Connection Remembered

The RSL Hellenic Sub-Branch is holding its annual dinner dance at Port Melbourne Town Hall on Saturday, 8th August 2015, from 7pm until late. This is not a fundraiser but a celebration.
Tickets are $75 per head for a three course meal, beer,wine, soft drinks and lots of dancing and fun.
Tickets are limited so book soon.
Contact Terry Kanelos on 0414 209 674 or Steve Kyritsis on 0418 571 800 to book your tickets.

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Lemnos and the Anzacs - Glen Eira Historical Society Address - Carnegie Library, 8pm, 22nd July 2015

You are all invited to come and hear my presentation to the Glen Eira Historical Society on the theme - Walking in the Footsteps of the Anzacs: Australia comes to Lemnos 1915-2015.
Not only will I be speaking on the important links between Lemnos and Australia's Anzac story but also how this connection reaches into communities across Australia - including the Melbourne community of Glen Eira. These include Private Horace Harton (pictured above, AWM image) of the 23rd Battalion who is buried in Lemnos' East Mudros Military Cemetery and Sister Gertrude Davis (pictured below, AWM image) who served with Matron Grace Wilson at the 3rd Australian General Hospital on Lemnos in 1915 - both connected to the Elsternwick area of Glen Eira.
The address will take place at 8pm on Wednesday, 22nd July 2015, in the Boyd Room, Carnegie Library, Carnegie.
To download the flyer for the address, click  here.

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial Unveiling - Your Invitation

All welcome to attend our community event.

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Friday, 10 July 2015

From Kyabram to Lemnos and Thessaloniki - The Odyssey of Sister Alice Marion Prichard

Sister Alice Marion Prichard



On the 8th August 2015, at Albert Park in Melbourne, our major new commemorative memorial will be erected to honour the service of some of Australia’s WW1 nurses.
The Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial will commemorate the 130 Australian nurses who served on the Island during the Gallipoli campaign, as well as the diggers who served there, the 148 buried there and the support of the local Greek population.
This will be first significant memorial in Australia dedicated to the role of Australian nurses serving in WW1. The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, both its Federal and Victorian Branches, are proud supporters of our Memorial.
130 nurses served on Lemnos, at its two principal field hospitals – the 3rd Australian General Hospital and the 2nd Australian Stationary Hospital. One of those nurses was Sister Alice Marion Prichard.

Sister Alice Prichard's enlistment papers. NAA
Alice was 36 years old when she enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service.
Born in Kyabram in country Victoria, Alice received her 3 year nursing training at Melbourne Hospital (now the Royal Melbourne Hospital), graduating in 1907. She was also awarded a certificate for the treatment of infectious diseases.
Prior to enlisting in the Australian Army Nursing Service, Alice had experience not only as Ward Sister for 2 years at Queen Victoria Hospital but also as a superintendent and matron at both Albury and Mildura Hospitals.
And she recorded on her enlistment form her membership of both the Royal Victorian Trained Nurses Association and the Australian Trained Nurses Association, precursor organizations of today’s Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.
Her mother was Mrs M. A. (Mary) Prichard of “Greenvale” at Glenrowan in north-east Victoria. One of her siblings – Florence May - also served in as a nurse in WW1.
When she left Albury Hospital for her departure from Melbourne, the local newspaper The Mildura Cultivator reported on 8th May 1915:
“Matron Alice Prichard, formerly of Mildura is expected to leave for the front this week. The Border Morning Mail (Albury) has a record as follows: “Miss AH Prichard, matron of Albury Hospital, has placed herself at the disposal of her country and tendered her appointment as a sister to go to the front with the Army Nursing Corps of an Australian Imperial Force. Miss Prichard has tendered her resignation as matron of the Albury Hospital. The people of Albury and surrounding districts, her many friends particularly, will laud her patriotic sprit and action, and wish her a safe return to the sunny skies of Australia in the tranquil days to come.”
She departed from Port Melbourne’s Prince Pier, joining other nurses of the 3rd Australian General Hospital (3AGH) aboard the RMS Mooltan in May 1915. She sailed from Australia to England before the 3AGH was sent to the Greek Island of Lemnos in response to the medical crisis emerging at the Gallipoli campaign.
Amongst the nurses who served with her were two other nurses trained at the Melbourne Hospital, Sister Edith Yeaman who served with Alice at the 3AGH and Sister Hope Weatherhead who served at the 2nd Australian Stationary Hospital.
Alice arrived on Lemnos in August 1915, serving alongside the other eighty Australian nurses of the 3AGH under Matron Grace Wilson. The hospital was set up on the exposed Turks Head peninsula, jutting into Lemnos great Mudros Bay.
Within days Alice and her nurse colleagues and the other medical staff were dealing with hundreds of injured diggers from the failed August Offensive on the peninsula. This was despite the lack of medical equipment, little shelter and little water. As Matron Wilson described these early days on Lemnos, the conditions were “too awful for words”.
By September, many of the diggers Alice was treating were suffering from diseases rather than the wounds of war. The lack of sanitation on the peninsula resulted in the diggers being constantly debilitated by dysentery and other stomach diseases. Some developed typhoid.
Despite the conditions they had to work in Alice and her colleagues were able to achieve a 98% survival rate.
Yet the diseases of the troops affected their carers. As a result, many medical staff became invalided. For example, up to November 1915, almost 60% of the male staff at the 3rd AGH were treated for illnesses, many being invalided off the Island.
The prevalence of diseases was such that dysentery on the Island was referred to as “Lemnitis”.  Two Canadian nurses died of illness – the only nurses to die during the Gallipoli campaign and be buried on Lemnos. And so Alice was stricken, being admitted to the 3AGH with jaundice on 25th November 1915.
Along with the rest of the 3AGH, she left Lemnos on 25th January 1916 on the transport ship Oxfordshire, disembarking at Alexandria on 27th Jan 1916. She served with the 3AGH at Abbassia in Egypt until returning to Australia aboard the Demosthenes, which left Suez on 19th March 1916.

Australian nurses of the AANS prior to departure from Adelaide bound for Salonika front, 14th June 1917. Sister Prichard is second from right. AWM image H16005.

After returning to Melbourne, she embarked on the SS Mooltan on 12th June 1917 for service on the Salonika where she served at various military field hospitals until the end of the war, 1918. She arrived in Thessaloniki on 30th July 1917 on the SS Gorgon, having travelled by ship from Melbourne via Suez and Port Said on the SS Mooltan – the ship she sailed from Australia first in 1915.
The Salonika front lasted for three years, involved over 620,000 Allied soldiers and saw some of the fiercest fighting of WW1. It was also a campaign dogged by diseases, especially malaria.
Alice served here with some 450 other Australian nurses and soldiers. It was on this front that two Australian female doctors, Sydney’s Agnes Bennett and Mary De Garis from Mildura. And the well-known Australia author, Miles Franklin served here as a medical orderly.
At the Salonika front Alice served with three of the British field hospitals were AIF nurses served – the 66th, 52nd and 44th General Hospitals.   Alice was promoted to temporary matron of the 42nd General Hospital on 9th Feb 1918. Like Alice, another Victorian nurse on the Salonika front had also served at Lemnos in 1915 – Sister Mary Florence Young.
Like Lemnos, the nurses at Salonika suffered the diseases that plagued the soldiers at the front. The only Australia nurse to die and be buried in Greece during WW1 is buried at Thessaloniki. She was Nurse Gertrude Munro from Ballarat.
Alice herself was admitted sick with “debility” to the Sisters Convalescent Camp on 21st Sept 1918. But fortunately she recovered and was discharged 26th Sept 1918, rejoining the 42nd General Hospital on the 28th Sept 1918
On 11th Dec 1918, she traveled from Thessaloniki for leave in London, via train and ship from Taranto in Italy. While in London, she was awarded the Royal Red Cross medal 1st class on 1st Jan 1919:
“…in recognition of her valuable services with the British Forces in Salonika”.
After her period of leave in the UK, she returned to Thessaloniki and was transferred from the 42nd to the 52nd General Hospital in February 1919.
However by then she was declared surplus to establishment and embarked on her journey of return to Australia, leaving Thessaloniki on the HT Gorgon on 26th February 1919. She had a brief stop in Alexandria and Abbassia, where she was attached to the 14th AGH. She then embarked at Suez for Australia on 1st April 1919, sailing on the HT Kildonian Castle. She was discharged on 3rd September 1919 as medically unfit. After the war, Alice became Matron of St George Hospital in Sydney.
To add to her Royal Red Cross, Alice was awarded the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal at the end of the war.  In 1951 she was awarded The Order of the British Empire (Member (Civil).
Just as her service at the Saloniki front was recognised, so that of Alice and the other nurses on Lemnos was recognised by Australia’s military medical authorities.   
The Director-General of Medical Services, Lieutenant General Featherstone, concluded in his formal review of their service, stating:
  “I believe that the Hospital would have collapsed without the nurses. They all worked like demons and were led and guided by Miss Wilson …”
Lest we forget

The Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial will be unveiled by the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee on Saturday 8th August 2015, at Foote Street Square, Albert Park, proceedings commencing at 11am. 

Come along and join us in commemorating the service of the Anzac nurses like Sister Alice Prichard. 

All welcome.

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Anzac Centenary Commmemorations in Greece - The LGCC Report Released

The Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee has released its report documenting the Anzac Centenary Events held in Greece in April 2015.
The Centenary of Anzac events held in Greece were the most extensive ever held. They included many events held on the Island of Lemnos - the forward base of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915, where Australia's nurses served throughout the campaign and where 148 diggers remain buried - as well as on Anzac Day itself in Athens.
The Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee assisted in organizing and actively participated in many of these events. Many of our members and supporters traveled to Greece to take part in the events held in April 2015.
We worked with other Australian commemorative groups - including Liz Kaydos of the NSW-based Lemnos 1915 committee - to help the Lemnian and Greek authorities in planning their commemorative activities.
It was a pleasure to work with the Australian Embassy in Greece, the Embassy of Canada, the Royal Australian Navy and HMAS Success, Commonwealth War Graves Commissions, the Athens War Museum, Hellenic Navy and the Lemnos Friends of Anzac.
Our Report outliens the all the major events held to commemorate Lemnos and Greece's link to Aistralia's Anzac story. These included:
  • The unveiling of the new nurses memorial at Portianos Military Cemetery, the result of much lobbying and effort by his Excellency Robert Peck, ambassador of Canada to Greece, along with the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  • A viewing of Australia's Anzac Girls docu-drama at Portianou
  • The involvement of the ships crew of the Royal Australian Navy's HMAS Success, including a sunset service in Mudros Bay - the first visit of an Australian warship into the bay since 1918.
  • Major wreath-laying ceremonies at east Mudros and Portianos Military Cemeteries, as well as at the Anzac Memorial at Mudros harbour, with representatives of our Committee laying wreaths at these event
  • A major military and community parade at Mudros
  • The historic re-enactment of the famous 1915 football match on Lemnos - re-enacted by teams from HMAS Success and the Hellenic Army based on Lemnos
  •  he presentation by Lemnos 1915 to the Lemnos authorities of a reproduction of the famous painting – The Lemnians by Sir William Russell Flint– held by the Art Gallery of NSW
  • A folkloric event by folk dancers from the village of Agios Dimitrios on Lemnos, held at the Myrina Theatre, representing the dances of Asia Minor refuges who came to Lemnos after WW1
  • Our assistance to the Canadian Embassy and the descendents of the 3rd AGH's Matron Grace Wilson in touring of the key Anzac sites 
  • Anzac Day dawn service on HMAS Success at Piraeus, Athens
  • Anzac Day Wreath-laying ceremony at Phaleron Military Cemetery, Athens, followed by a reception at the Australian Embassy
  • Anzac Day Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committed photographic exhibition and presentation at the Athens War Museum.

Read about and view the many photos of these events and more in the attached Report.

Congratulations to his Excellency Robert Peck for his success in having a new memorial erected to the nurses of all countries - including Australia and Canada - who served on Lemnos in 1915. And to the Captain Justin Jones and the ships company of HMAS Success who actively participated in all the commemorative events on Lemnos and Greece, as great ambassadors for Australia. One hopes that this is the first of many future visits by Australia warships to Greece as part of future commemorative events.
Our President has placed on record the appreciation of our Committee of the work of our Committee Executive member, Ms Christian Despoteris, in helping organize the events on Lemnos and in Athens - especially the commemorative event held at Portianou on Lemnos and the Anzac Day function at Athens War Museum. Both involved the presentation of our specially curated photographic exhibition and presentation by myself on the Lemnos and Hellenic link to Anzac. Gifts were made of the photographic exhibition - on Lemnos by Malama Varvaras on behalf of the Lemnian Community of Victoria and in Athens by our Committee. Christina traveled especially to Greece in advance of the events and played a great role in bringing these events to fruition. Thank you, Christina.

Lets hope that the events held in 2015 are only the beginning of a renewal of the commemorative connection between Australia and Greece.

To download and read a copy of our report on these events, including many photographs of the Centenary events in Greece, click here - LGCC Report - Anzac Centenary Commemorations in Greece 2015

Jim Claven
Secretary 
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Friday, 3 July 2015

Today Show supports the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee!


When the Today Show recently (1st July 2015) came to Oakliegh's Eaton Mall to do a live broadcast - look what the host Karl Stefanovic was wearing - our Lemnos Gallipoli pin!
Well done to whoever sold him this badge! Thanks to Paul Soug for sharing this story with us.
If you would like to support our projects by buying one of our pins or selling them for us - please contact our President, Lee Tarlamis on 0411 553 009.

JimClaven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial Unveiling Announced - Neos Kosmos story

Neos Kosmos today published the story of the forthcoming public event for the unveiling of our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial. If you are unable to purchase a copy of today's paper, you can read it here.
Alternatively, you can download it by clicking  here.
Thanks to Neos Kosmos for again promoting our Lemnos Gallipoli projects.

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee




Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Anzac Nurses - Centenary Article by Jessica Gadd in the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Journal

Jessica Gadd has wrote a lovely piece on the Anzac Nurses on Lemnos for the April 2015 edition of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Journal.
Note that the ANMF - both Victorian Branch and National Office - are proud and major financial supporters of our Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial statue.
Download Jessica's article by clicking here here.

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

Lemnos Hero - WA Nurse Olive Hall, Lemnos and Gallipoli

Sick sisters of the 3rd Australian General Hospital, enjoying some air. Savage Collection. State Library of NSW
Staff Nurse Olive Goldridge Hall served under Matron Grace Wilson at the 3rd Australian General Hospital on Lemnos in 1915.
Olive was born in 1887 at Geraldton, WA. Prior to the outbreak of World War 1 she lived with her mother Ellen Margaret Hall on George Road. She trained at Perth Public Hospital. At the time of enlistment she was a trained nurse, 28 years old and unmarried. She enlisted in North Perth as a Staff Nurse in the 3rd Australian General Hospital Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) on 6 August 1915 and left from Fremantle on the RMS Orontes on the 11th of August 1915.
Olive's Service Record. NAA
Olive arrived on Lemnos on 4th September 1915 and served there with the 3rd Australian General Hospital. In  November she was admitted to the hospital with influenza. After returning to duty, Olive was evacuated with the rest of the 3rd Australian General Hospital from Lemnos in January 1916.
She also saw service in Egypt and on the Western Front, Olive returned to Australia in October 1918.
She was awarded the 1914/18 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
She died in Perth in 1974 aged 87.

The transport ship - RMT Orontes - that Olive sailed from Perth to war in. Pictured here in 1016 leaving Port Melbourne. AWM image
The following story was written by Helen Hewitt, a descendent of Nurse Olive Hall. This is the story of her visit to Lemnos in 1985 and met a local villager who remembered the Allies on Lemnos. This is her story.
Thank you to Helen for sharing this with us.

Jim Claven
Secretary 
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee



Lemnos and Gallipoli

A rocky, mountainous outcrop in the north Aegean close to the Turkish coast and the Dardanelles, the island of Lemnos has been settled and used as a stepping-stone since 5000 BC when Neolithic people lived here. A pre-Hellenistic temple lies in ruins on a windy northern promontory from which both the Turkish coast and Mount Athos can be seen on the hazy, dissolving horizon. A rambling Venetian fortress stands over the harbour capital, Myrina. Ottomans and Germans have occupied the island.

The island was liberated from Turkish domination in 1912, and was used by the Allies as a base during World War I. Soldiers sailed from the horror of Gallipoli into the safe harbour of Mudros on the south-east coast of Lemnos. My great-aunt Olive Hall was an Australian nurse at the military hospital there. Back in 1985, while I was visiting the island with my then husband, a Lemnian Australian, we made the trip to Mudros to see what remained from that time.

The town was quiet with many of the stone buildings boarded up and tumbling down. Many Lemnians left the island in the diaspora following World War II; some 5000 came to Melbourne. We had a coffee at the dusty wind-swept harbour taverna and asked about the military hospital, which, we learned, had never been anything more than a few tents. We were directed, however, to the British Military Cemetery on the outskirts of town.

Getting lost for about the fourth time (there were no road signs on Lemnos at that time) we stopped to ask an old man leaning on a fence watching his sheep. Shrewd blue eyes surveyed us from beneath his battered straw hat. Yes, he would come with us and show us the way, my husband interpreted.

Triandafilo (a popular old-fashioned name that means ‘Rose’), was born in 1903 and remembered the Allied base well. As a boy, he and his mates watched the soldiers come off the boats: British, French, Russian, Gurkhas, Singhalese, Egyptians, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians. Those who could, rode donkeys through the town to their country’s camp. The badly wounded and dead came up in carts and litters to the ‘hospitals’ in each camp which were large tents.

Low bare hills surround the cemetery. They were all covered in tents then, Triandafilo said, sweeping his arms. Twenty-five thousand Russians, with their families and servants, their furniture and samovars; the more Spartan British camps, and the Hindu and Moslem camps, all fascinating to the village boys. The Indians did not bury their dead, they burned them in a great pit; the Moslems would not put headstones to their graves. The boys liked the Australians, who were always laughing and joking. As Triandafilo talked, phantoms rose in the dry, empty landscape where a few goats nibbled at the trees around the cemetery walls.

A large obelisk in the cemetery commemorates those ‘who died for the Empire Dardanelles Campaign 1915-1916’. Inscriptions on some of the Australian headstones testify to that imperial ideal: ‘He Died for King and Country’; briefly, ‘Did his Duty’. More than one hundred Australians lie buried at Mudros, mostly teenagers. ‘Only Beloved Son.’ ‘Our Peter.’ ‘Buried Hopes.’ 

My great-uncle, Captain Tom Hewitt, fought at Gallipoli and came to Mudros following the evacuation of the Allied troops on the nights of 18 and 19 December, 1915. He wrote home from Egypt:

‘We had a good rest in Lemnos but were quite content to leave it. It is an extraordinary little island – all hills and harbour, all the rough places cultivated – wooden ploughs pulled by shaggy little bullocks – all the people living together to protect themselves from the Turkish raiders who come every now and then to replenish their harems. There are no women on the island between sixteen and forty years old. The last raid was two years ago.’

Tom died in action at Pozieres several months later.

Triandafilo took us to his spotless little stone house, built by him in the 1930s. His wife matched him in looking as if she had been moulded out of the local elements. Bread, feta, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, potatoes and ouzo appeared, all their own produce. After a few thimbles of ouzo Triandafilo began to dance, and then showed us photos of himself as a fierce moustachioed young man in the Greek Army, when all Greek soldiers wore the traditional costume of skirt, sabre, fez-like hat and pom-pom shoes, now seen only on the guards in Syntagma Square in Athens, performing their elaborate slow-motion rituals. Another photo showed a tall, handsome brother who had emigrated to Melbourne in the 50s, and had died dancing.

According to myth, Zeus hurled Hephaistos, the lame god of fire and metal-workers, from Olympus to Lemnos,  where man first forged weapons out of fire and metal. Today, the roar of fighter jets periodically shatters the calm. Lemnos is Greece’s second-largest military base. The island has played a strategic military role during thousands of years, while the islanders, continuing to live quietly and self-sufficiently, have watched and suffered the repercussions of the rise and fall of empires time and time again.