Canada honours fallen Canadian nurses of WWI on Greek island of Lemnos
A stonemason from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission works on part of the memorial.
The grave of Canadian Nursing Sister Frances Munro at the Portianos Military Cemetery.
Ambassador Peck with representatives from Veterans Affairs, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Hellenic Red Cross.
Ambassador Peck lays a wreath, accompanied by Canadian Defence Attaché Colonel Hazleton.
The new monument with wreaths from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Hellenic Red Cross.
Ambassador Peck with Victoria Wallace, Director General of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
During the First World War, over 70 Canadian nurses were stationed on the Greek island of Lemnos to treat thousands of sick and wounded Allied soldiers. While fighting to save the lives of the soldiers who arrived for medical treatment, the nurses were also confronted with poor sanitation conditions, excessive heat and scarce water.
The Canadian Embassy in Athens unveiled a memorial on the Greek island of Lemnos to honour the memory of two Canadian nurses from the First World War buried there, as well as the contribution of nurses from Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.
Memorial for Nursing Sisters
Matron Jessie Jaggard and Nursing Sister Mary Frances Munro were laid to rest on Lemnos in 1915 after succumbing to dysentery. The two Canadian nurses are buried at the Portianos Military Cemetery at Portianos, Lemnos, where the new memorial plaque is located.
On April 17th, Ambassador Robert Peck inaugurated the memorial with representatives of Veterans Affairs Canada and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). During his remarks, Ambassador Peck read the moving poem "The Sisters Buried at Lemnos". This poem was a tribute to nursing sisters Jaggard and Munro, written by Vera Mary Brittain (1893–1970), a British writer and fellow nurse during the First World War. The memorial service also included remarks from guests, a wreath laying ceremony and the national anthems of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the Hellenic Republic.
“More than 650 women, who served in a wide range of capacities, died during the First World War and are commemorated at Commonwealth War Graves Commission sites the world over. This new memorial honours the memory of just two such brave Canadian individuals, but is also a powerful symbol of the contribution on Lemnos of nurses from Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain, without whose dedication many more servicemen would have died."
- Victoria Wallace, Director General of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The memorial to the nurses was designed and carved by the CWGC at their facility adjacent to ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli, Turkey. The memorial initiative, led by the Canadian Embassy in Athens, was made possible with funding provided by Veterans Affairs Canada and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The Embassy also worked closely with Jim Claven, historian and Secretary of the Melbourne-based Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee.
A total of 70 Canadian nurses served on Lemnos with the 1st and 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospitals. Seven Newfoundlanders are also buried on Lemnos, three sailors or soldiers at the Portianos Military Cemetery and a further four at East Mudros Military Cemetery. The men of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment helped in covering the evacuation of Allied troops from the Gallipoli Peninsula and onto waiting ships. They were among the last Allied soldiers to leave Turkey in January 1916.
The Canadian Embassy in Athens was proud to contribute to this memorial initiative, and will continue to honour the Canadian men and women who served during the First World War.
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