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Allied troops were withdrawn here from the peninsula for rest,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
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