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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 8 August 2015
14 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 8 AUGUST 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM A voyage to JIM CLAVEN Since reading about the role of Imbros in the Gallipoli campaign, I've wanted to make a pilgrimage to this northern Aegean island. The fact that it has a deep Hellenic history was all the more reason to make the trip. I travelled to Imbros by car, driving the beautiful coastal road along the Gallipoli peninsula. The ferry to Imbros (now named Gökçeada) takes about one-and-a-half hours. Being in the northern Aegean, the crossing can be windy and a bit choppy - even in the large Gestas ferry that takes you there. But you are more than compensated by the views. As you cross these choppy waters, with the wind blowing hard, one can imagine what it must have been like for all those Anzacs crossing here in 1915. Starting their voyage to Anzac Cove at Lemnos, the Anzacs made their way to Imbros' waters, then transferring to smaller vessels for the voyage to the beachhead in the early hours of 25 April. Even if the waves had been small and the wind low, the journey to the silent Gallipoli coast must have seemed a long one. As you arrive at the little harbour near Kalekoy on the north western side of Imbros and begin your journey inland, what strike you are the many mountains and green valleys within the island. The main town on Imbros is called Gokzeada town (formerly known Panagia). It's a small town but it has all the supplies you might need, including the island’s only petrol station. While on Imbros I stayed at the Anemos Hotel, boutique accommodation conceived by a The Allied base on the shores of Kephalos Bay, photographed from the air. Imbros, 1915. AWM IMAGE. Greek travel photographer. Its locallymade tomato jam is to die for. But if you want to walk in the footsteps of the Anzacs on Imbros, there are two places you must go. The first is Kalekoy village itself. Above this village - with its many restored historic traditional village homes - lies the Kastro. The ruins of this Byzantine fortress dominate the surrounding landscape, attracting visitors, as it did in 1915, 100 years ago. There is a series of photographs taken of the Kastro by Allied soldiers in 1915. Travelling over the island from their camp on the eastern side, many Allied soldiers seem to have made the journey. Photographs from the time show these soldiers hiring and riding donkeys, as well as taking photographs of the ruins and the sea beyond. It is likely that the Australian war correspondents Charles EW Bean and Philip Schuler came this way. As you make your way up through the village, you will pass the lovely little Church of Agia Marina, restored in 1949. Its structure includes old Byzantine columns and a unique bell-tower at the front. Approaching the Kastro itself, you will be struck by how little it has changed. Apart from one feature which has collapsed from erosion, the Kastro is an impressive feature worth the visit. The summit also gives amazing clear views of Samothraki to the north. The other site to visit is on the eastern end of the island, about 20 minutes' drive. This is Kephalos Bay (now called Aydinick Burnu). Directly opposite the Gallipoli peninsula, it features a long protective arm of land to the east, creating a large expanse of deep protective waters. On the shoreline is a large half-moon shaped area of flat, rising land. In March 1915, these features of Kephalos Bay made it the perfect location for the advanced supply base for the Gallipoli campaign. Complementing Lemnos' role as the main field base for the campaign, The Kastro above Kalekoy today. PHOTO JIM CLAVEN. Kephalos Bay was soon filled with warships. Though not as large as Lemnos' Mudros Bay, Kephalos Bay and the surrounding waters provided the perfect berthing location for the hundreds of Allied ships in transit from Lemnos and Gallipoli. The shoreline was soon dotted with the tents of the Allied camp, rising to meet the then small Greek village resting among the trees as the land rose to meet the surrounding mountains. The camp encompassed soldiers’ tents, casualty clearing stations performing major surgery and a British field hospital, administrative buildings and the other requirements of a supply depot. It would also be the location of General Headquarters of the Allied force commander for Gallipoli, General Ian Hamilton. Troops like the Royal Naval Division would return from the fighting on the peninsula for rest and it was from Imbros that the 11th Imperial Division embarked for the August offensive at Suvla Bay. A number of Australian Army units were based here, including the 1st Australian Field Bak fresh bread to the diggers on the peninsula, transported by the wagons of the Australian Army Servic One wonders if they also made lamingtons or sc were there too - with airmen at the air base for the No. 3 Squadr Royal Naval Air Servic was located her one at nearby T Photographs r life of the camp - the bak cooking, pilots inspecting their planes, sailors walking ashore, soldiers pr and officers reviewing troops. While there are few if any physical remains of the Allied presenc 1915, it is easy to view Australian soldiers, most likely from the 6th Battalion, playing games with local Imbros children. Photograph by Private John Rogers. Imbros, January 1916. AWM IMAGE. Royal Navy sailors going ashore at Imbros’ Kephalos Bay. AWM IMAGE. ‘To Vima’ in the Church of St George, Aya Theodoros. PHOTO: JIM CLAVEN.
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