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Medical care on Lemnos

On 23 February 1915, Lemnos was occupied by a force of Royal Marines in preparation for the attack. Along with neighbouring Imbros (now Gökçeada) it became a vital hub for men and supplies bound for the peninsula, and an important hospital centre for the treatment of the sick and wounded brought from the battlefields. Allied troops were withdrawn here from the peninsula for rest, relaxation and training.

Over 80,000 cases of sickness or wounds were suffered by British Empire forces during the Gallipoli campaign. After receiving initial care on the peninsula, most were transferred to hospital ships. Many were then brought to hospitals on Lemnos, or further afield to Egypt or Malta. Medical facilities on Lemnos eventually provided over 18,000 beds. Here, away from the fighting, men would often be treated by female nurses of the army or the Voluntary Aid Detachment of the Red Cross (VADs). Those living on Lemnos were often housed in hastily-erected huts and tents, exposed to the heat of the summer and then blizzard conditions in winter.

Sickness was a major problem during the campaign, and it is estimated that during the hot summer months of 1915 around 60% of all Allied troops on the peninsula were suffering with dysentery and diarrhoea. At times, more than 1,000 were evacuated every day.

Most of the medical facilities and military units on Lemnos were redeployed as a result of the Allied withdrawal from the Gallipoli peninsula in early 1916, but the island remained an outpost for the Royal Navy and a staging post for supplies bound for the Salonika front in Greece.

On 30 October 1918, the Armistice between the Allies and the Ottoman Empire was signed on board HMS Agamemnon in Mudros harbour.