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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 18 April 2015
14 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 18 APRIL 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM To West Mudros Lemnos and the Greek Australian odyssey of the Tarlamis family JIM CLAVEN This month we commemorate the Centenary of Anzac and the role of Greece - and specifically Lemnos - in that story. As Australia's diggers arrived on Lemnos from March 1915, they began a connection with Greece that would be enriched through the years. One of the aspects of this is that today there are Australian families who can count both Aussie diggers and Lemnian villagers in their family history. One of those is Lee Tarlamis. A product of a Lemnian father and a mother from Melbourne's eastern suburbs, Lee's forebears walked the same shores of Mudros Bay all those years ago in 1915. This is their story. Blackburn's Private Tozer goes to Lemnos On 25 August 1914, Edward Rees Tozer began his journey that would take him to war. A railway employee, Edward was born in Blackburn and was 24 years old when he enlisted in the 4th Battalion at the Kensington enlistment centre in Sydney. Embarking from Sydney Harbour in October 1914, now Private Tozer arrived in Egypt in December 1914. Photographs taken by diggers at the time show Edward's battalion training for the struggle ahead, camped beneath the ancient pyramids. The laconic sensibility of these y killed. The machine gun artillery diggers is reflected in the words of one in response to a question of what he thought of these great feats of engineering - "What I sez is, when you've seen one you've seen the lot!" Like all diggers who went to Gallipoli, Edward would spend time at the main base for the campaign - Lemnos. The first time he came to the island was when he arrived from Egypt in April 1915. In the few weeks before the landings, Edward would have practiced embarking and landing procedures, taking part in mock attacks and other training for the battle ahead. He may have enjoyed some leave to visit the villages around Mudros Bay. At noon on Saturday 24 April, Edward sailed out of Mudros Bay on the troopship Michigan. After an anchorage in the Bay of Pournia on Lemnos' north-east coast, they sailed to the Dardanelles - the diggers following in the wake of Odysseus and his warriors on their own voyage to another battlefield at Troy as Homer had recounted. Edward and the 4th Battalion would be part of the second and third waves of Anzacs landing at Anzac Cove on the 25th April. Over the coming months, Edward took part in some of the bloodiest and key battles of the campaign - securing and defending the beachhead in April and beyond and the great and ultimately futile battle of Lone Pine in August. In the first days alone, the battalion suffered more than 200 casualties, including battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel A.J.O. Thompson, who was killed. The machine gun, sniper and artillery fire suffered by the battalion was like being in "hell". p b w in Like many others, Edward succumbed to illness after surviving the battle of the beachhead, being diagnosed with the then deadly influenza on 1 May. He boarded the Hospital Ship Gascon for Egypt on 4 May, arriving in Egypt on 7 May. His illnesses would become worse before it improved, his flu developing into pleurisy, then a vein disorder and finally an infection of scabies. It would not be until 18 November that Edward would return to Lemnos and Gallipoli. Finally, Edward and his unit were evacuated on 20 December, leaving at 4.30 am and arriving at Mudros five hours later. On Lemnos, Edward was camped at the Anzac camp at Sarpi (an ancient settlement pre-dating the Ottoman-era meaning ‘wooden house’, modern day Kalithea). Time was spent on parades, cleaning up the camp and the distribution to the men of sheepskins, puddings and ‘billies’ from the Australian Comforts Depot. The 4th Battalion departed Sarpi Camp at 9.30 am on 24 December, embarking on the HMTS Simla from Sarpi Pier. Spending Christmas aboard the ship, Edward departed Mudros Bay and Lemnos for Egypt in afternoon of the 26 December, never to see Lemnos again. He would serve in western France with his comrades, surviving a gunshot wound in August 1916. An Aussie on Lemnos We don't have any documentary evidence of what Edward did on Lemnos but he may have enjoyed some of the experiences the other diggers did. During his four days back on Lemnos, he might have enjoyed leave to visit the nearby villages of Agkariones, Portianou, Kontias, Tsimandria and even the hot thermal baths of Therma. He might have mingled with the Australian and Canadian nurses at the nearby Australian hospitals, across the inlet from Sarpi on the Turks Head Peninsula - a common jaunt for the Blessing ceremony on the pier at Nea Koutali, with the icon of St Nicholas, on the day of the departure of the sponge fishing boats, 1958. PHOTO: NEA KOUTALI MUSEUM OF MARITIME TRADITION AND SPONGE FISHING. Lee Tarlamis (R) on his Anzac tour of Lemnos in 2012 with former Australian Veterans Affairs Minister Alan Griffin, at Myrina harbour, Lemnos. PHOTO: JIM CLAVEN. diggers on Lemnos, or visited the graves of his comrades at Portianou's cemetery - Sydney's Private Arthur Anderson, Scotland's Private Kenneth Cameron and Lance Corporal Frank Rice, born in Derby, England. Frank died as Edward was returning to the peninsula and Kenneth while Edward was in the trenches. In leaving the rest camp at Sarpi he would almost certainly have met local Lemnians on the roads around the island. Like other diggers he might have hired a donkey, bought food or sat in the kafenia enjoying the wines of the island. And this is how he may well have rubbed shoulders with members of the local TarlamisKaramaloudis-Galimitis family. From Asia Minor to Lemnos and Australia At the time, the TarlamisKaramaloudis family lived in the villages of Tsimandria and Akgariones. In a few years time, they would marry refugees from the catastrophe in Asia Minor, from the island of Koutali in the Propontis (or Sea of Marmara) - an area that in 1915 had been the focus of the Allied campaign. Koutali (modern day Ekinlik) - shaped like a spoon with its Profitis Ilias rising above the sea - was a prosperous Greek-populated island whose roots dated back to the seventh century BC. Its more than 1,800 residents were famed as fishermen, sponge divers and traders. And Koutali's wealth had created its many mansions, numerous public buildings, two schools and four churches, including the Church of the Virgin Faneromeni, which sat near the harbour. One of Koutali's most famous residents was the legendary Greek wrestler and weightlifter Panagiotis Antoniou Kaliodzis, son of Antonis Kaliodzis, born in A flat-bottomed barge transporting wounded soldiers from Anzac Cove alongside the Hospital Ship Gascon, as would have been experienced by Edward. PHOTO: AWM. A wall mural of one of the most famous Koutali residents, Panagiotis Antoniou-Koutalianas the strong man. PHOTO: JIM CLAVEN.
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