Faces of Salonika : Edward Gallon

My thanks go to Edward’s grandson, David , not just for contacting me about Edward’s story and sending some splendid photos to share here, but also for his great patience. I’m ashamed to say that he first got in touch in early 2018 and only now have I published this! I know there are others out there who have submitted material to me so, I hope that this will reassure you – I may be slow but I will get there in the end!

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Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 – the Macedonia one!

If, like me, you are not a subscriber to Sky TV you may have been disappointed at missing the 2018 series of Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year which – to coincide with the centenary of the end of the First World War – had as its prize a commission to paint a picture for the IWM of the Kosturino battlefield in Northern Macedonia. I’m pleased to say that, not only is the TV channel Sky Arts now available on Freeview (channel 11), but they are repeating their series of Landscape Artist of the Year, with that for 2018 starting on Thursday 10 June at 11am (repeated at 5am the following morning).

The winner was Jen Gash who visited Salonika at the time of the armistice commemorations and met with Alan Wakefield of the IWM (and SCS Chair) and SCS members on the centenary battlefield tour and was present at the service at the Doiran Memorial with the Duke of Kent. You can read more about the experience on Jen’s website. Members at the Society’s 2021 annual meeting in London will have the opportunity to meet Jen as she will be giving the talk, entitled: In the Footsteps of Stanley Spencer. The meeting is on Saturday 2 October and booking forms can be found in the latest issue of The New Mosquito.

Sandham Memorial Chapel (NT) has re-opened to visitors

Given the size of the indoor spaces and in order to keep everyone safe, visits are limited to one ‘bubble’ per hour, so capacity is very limited. All of the slots for the first week were taken within 24 hours of booking opening!

You can find more information on the Sandham Memorial Chapel website and they’ve put together a specific page of information about what to expect from a visit: Sandham Memorial Chapel indoor reopening information | National Trust.

Thanks to Property Operations Manager, Paul Grist, for keeping us informed about developments at Sandham.

Centenary of the Royal British Legion

On the morning of Sunday 15 May 1921, a small group of ex-servicemen and representatives from four organisations – The National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers, The British National Federation of Discharged and Demobilized Sailors and Soldiers, The Comrades of The Great War and The Officers’ Association – met at the Cenotaph in London’s Whitehall. At 9am precisely and they laid four wreaths representing these four organisations which, from then, became the British Legion and, fifty years later, the Royal British Legion.

To my knowledge my grandfather was never a member of the Salonika Reunion Association but he was an active member of the British Legion/Royal British Legion, particularly once he retired from the Metropolitan Police. He was on the East Barnet Branch Committee for very many years and was an enthusiastic member of their Horticultural Society; I have many happy memories of helping him with their annual flower shows and also enjoying the pantomimes held at the hall. A busy and active man until his death at 92, he still visited his ‘old boys’ on behalf of the RBL, even though many were considerably younger than him! To me, he epitomised the Legion’s motto of Service Not Self.

East Barnet British Legion Committee members (pre-1971); Fred Braysher is standing, second from right
Fred Braysher – a veteran of the Western Front and Salonika – laying a wreath on behalf of the East Barnet Branch of the Royal British Legion at the New Barnet war memorial on Remembrance Sunday (date unknown)

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NEW BOOK : The Bulgarian Contract

The Bulgarian Contract: the secret lie that ended the Great War

By Graeme Sheppard

SCS members will already appreciate the pivotal role the Macedonian front played during the end-stage of the Great War, and how a mere six weeks after Bulgaria’s collapse the entire conflict was over. But what they will not know, and will be surprised to learn, is that the success of the Balkan breakthrough that September depended upon a secret and hitherto unknown act of political deception, a masterly and cunning piece of misinformation known as the contract, archival evidence for which has only recently been discovered in the UK by the author.

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A Royal Connection

When I last read Alan Palmer’s classic history of the Macedonian campaign (The Gardeners of Salonika, 1965) several years ago, I came across a story which I thought would be worth sharing here; needless to say I then completely forgot about it … until now. With the death of Prince Philip, it is a good time to remind ourselves of his connection with the Greek royal family and the war in Salonika.

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