Seasons greetings to all our members, friends and visitors!

The Society is very pleased to have been given a collection of photographs which belonged to Private John Gilchrist of 244 Mechanical Transport Company, Army Service Corps. In the year ahead we hope to scan these – along with other donated collections – so they can be made available to members. As a teaser, here is a seasonal photograph showing pigs and turkeys at an ASC camp in Salonika being fattened up for Christmas.

Continue reading “Seasons greetings to all our members, friends and visitors!”

A recent request for help – was it you?

The society received a request for help recently, looking for information about a relative who served in Salonika. On average we get similar requests at a rate of about one a week, via the contact form on this website.

We were able to find a little bit of information and we would love to share this.

However, on this occasion, our enquirer entered his email details incorrectly and, as he is not a member of the society, we have no other information with which to identify him. Without the correct email address, and only a not-uncommon name to identify him, it makes it near-impossible for us to reply.

So, if you have recently requested information about a very close relative who served with the Church Army in Salonika, please get in touch via the contact page here – using your correct email address of course!

Church Army – Open to all © IWM (Art.IWM PST 13266)

Remembrance at Whitehall and Sandham Memorial Chapel, November 2021

Easing of COVID restrictions enabled the Society to participate and lay wreaths in two services this year: at the Field of Remembrance, Westminster Abbey; and at Sandham Memorial Chapel.

Field of Remembrance, Westminster Abbey

This year the Field was formally opened by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, the Patron of the RBL Poppy Factory. The SCS had its remembrance plot in the location opposite the west door of St Margaret’s Church. The Society was represented by Chair, Alan Wakefield, and Jonathan Saunders. With excellent weather throughout the opening ceremony, it was good to be back at the Field in person after last year’s event being held behind closed doors due to COVID-19. Thanks to all those members who continue to support the SCS remembrance plot through planting crosses of remembrance and making donations to the Poppy Appeal.

Sandham Memorial Chapel

For the second year a memorial service was held at Sandham Memorial Chapel. A gathering of approximately 40 people took part in the act of Remembrance. This was led by Reverend Mark Christian himself a veteran army chaplain. The exhortation was read by David Innes. Wreaths were laid at the entrance to the chapel by the National Trust, Salonika Campaign Society and Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum. Individuals laid Poppy Crosses too. The ladies of the WI produced a net covered with poppies in different styles. This will be placed on the altar of the parish church. After the service, tea, coffee and cake were served by the volunteers of the Chapel. The exhibition was made available as well as viewings of Stanley Spencer’s paintings inside of the Chapel walls. Some SCS members then retired to The Carpenters Arms for lunch. Next year a larger gathering is being planned at the Chapel by the National Trust.


With thanks to Alan Wakefield, Darren Rolfe, and Keith Roberts for words and pictures.

SCS Annual Meeting and Wreath Laying, 2021

On Saturday 2nd October, society members gathered in the drizzle at the Cenotaph, London for the annual short ceremony of words and wreath-laying to remember the men and women of the BSF who served in Salonika. In particular, to remember those who died during the campaign or from the results of injury or disease.

Wreaths laid by members of the SCS at the Cenotaph, Whitehall, on Saturday, 2nd October 2021.
A grey day for the annual ceremony at The Cenotaph, London

Afterwards it was but a short walk to the Civil Service Club for lunch, followed by the society’s annual general meeting. This year, an actual meeting and not one via Zoom! Before the business of the meeting though, there was an excellent talk from Julie Adams of the British Museum. Her talk, Birdman of Salonika: The Life and Afterlives of Paul Montagu, was an interesting and moving account of Lt Paul Denys Montagu – a multi-talented anthropologist, naturalist and musician, killed in action when his plane crashed behind enemy lines on 29th October 1917. Julie’s book, Museum, Magic, Memory – Curating Paul Denys Montagu is, no doubt, available from all good book sellers.

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.

We wish you a Happy Year of the Ox!

Chinese New Year seems an auspicious time to launch the latest iteration of the Society’s website. No major changes of design this time – and still with the familiar WordPress – just a change of hosting arrangements which will save the Society money and should be easier to manage. Please bear with us as we get used to the new setup.

This is a good time to introduce Andy Hutt who has joined the SCS Committee team and will take over the role of Web Editor from Robin in October. Andy and Robin will work together on the website until then. The Committee is grateful to Andy for stepping forward.

Oxen are often seen as slow and dull-witted, but in Chinese culture they are honest and earnest, low key and never look for praise or to be the centre of attention. This often hides their talent, but they’ll gain recognition through their hard work. This sums up so much of the work that goes on throughout the Society, as members in various parts of the world ensure that the Salonika campaign and those who endured it – especially those who did not return home – are not forgotten.

Here’s a hardworking and patient Macedonian ox, from a German postcard.

German postcard of a Macedonian ox cart