Plant specimens collected on the Salonica Front

The New Mosquito of April 2015 (issue 31) contains a fascinating article by Dr James Wearn of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, entitled ‘Risking their lives to collect plants on the Salonika Front’. It is about the eight members of Kew Gardens’ staff who served in Salonika with the armed forces, but were able to collect plants as an extra-curricular activity.

Some while later I was contacted about this article by  Emeritus Professor Arne Strid, distinguished Swedish botanist and expert on Greek flora, whose two-volume Atlas of the Aegean Flora was published in 2016. Professor Strid provided additional interesting information about plant collecting in the region and kindly allowed me reproduce this here.

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Away from the Western Front and the ‘Turin men’

By Keith Edmonds

Many of you will be familiar with ‘Away from the Western Front’ (AFTWF), which was a First World War centenary project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and was supported by the expertise of the Salonika Campaign Society.  Salonika featured as a campaign in several of the AFTWF sub-projects including their work with homeless veterans and the Sandham Memorial  Chapel and also Castle Drogo where one of their stonemasons, Pte WG Arscott, fought and died in Salonika with the 10th (Service) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. Continue reading “Away from the Western Front and the ‘Turin men’”

John Staple’s Souvenirs of the War in the East

My thanks again go to Simon and Christine Briggs for kindly sharing with us John Staple’s photographs from Salonika, Egypt and Turkey and for taking the trouble to photograph his interesting collection of ‘trench art’ souvenirs. These photos are reproduced below with notes from Simon. Continue reading “John Staple’s Souvenirs of the War in the East”

Faces of Salonika : John Staple and friends

My thanks go to Simon and Christine Briggs for sharing a fascinating set of photos belonging to Christine’s grandfather, John Staple. John served with the Army Service Corps Remount Service in Salonika for two-and-a-half years.

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Faces of Salonika : John Henry Gibbon – Methodist army chaplain

The John Rylands Library recently accepted on deposit a collection of diaries written by a Methodist army chaplain John Henry Gibbon (1880-1933), who served in Salonika with the 67th Brigade of the 22nd Division between November 1916 and June 1917. Continue reading “Faces of Salonika : John Henry Gibbon – Methodist army chaplain”

Remembering František Štěrba who died in Hotesovo, 17 March 1917

A departure from our usual BSF focus this time. The Austro-Hungarian Army has not come up before although they were active in Macedonia, albeit at the other end of the line from the BSF. I am pleased though, to be able to remember František Štěrba, who lies in Northern Macedonia, a long way from home. Continue reading “Remembering František Štěrba who died in Hotesovo, 17 March 1917”

Faces of Salonika : Daisy Dobbs MM, TFNS

My thanks go to Geoff Botting who has kindly provided these details and photos of his remarkable grandmother, Daisy Dobbs, who was a nurse in Salonika, where she won the Military Medal for her courage. The man she later married, George Botting, was also a holder of the Military Medal; surely a unique occurrence!

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