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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Salonika Campaign Society Battlefield Tour – September 2020

Sadly, the continuing uncertainty surrounding foreign travel, including the potential for sudden mandatory quarantine periods being imposed by the British Government at short notice on travellers returning to the UK, makes even the idea of running a Greece-only tour in September too complicated for the Society to contemplate. Therefore, it is with regret that I have to announce there will be no SCS battlefield tour this year. Instead, we plan to deliver the tour, with the itinerary already advertised, in September 2021.

Provisional dates for the tour are 19 – 27 September 2021

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Salonika Campaign Society Battlefield Tour – September 2020

It is with regret I have to announce that, due to uncertainties caused by COVID-19, the decision has been taken to reschedule the annual SCS Battlefield Tour, as advertised, to September 2021. The main reason for reaching this decision is the issue of the Greece – North Macedonia border. This border is currently closed, as are Greece’s borders with Albania and Turkey, due to those countries having higher rates of COVID-19. At present there are no dates projected for reopening the border and the potential exists for the border, if opened, to be closed again at short notice. Therefore, it is all but impossible to organise the cross-border leg of the tour with any certainty of it being possible to cross into North Macedonia or to guarantee the group would be able to return to Greece for homeward flights. In addition, with our usual ground handler and transport being based in North Macedonia the border situation causes major logistical problems. There are also different COVID-19 related administrative regulations in place in the two countries, which helps make a two-country tour overly complicated.

Therefore, the SCS is investigating the possibility of running a Greece only tour this coming September. However, given the close proximity to the Greece – North Macedonian border, visits to Kajmakcalan and Korona (Krastali) will not be included. The proposed tour would instead focus on the Birdcage Line, Struma Valley and parts of the Vardar sector of the front. Whilst a Greece only tour is viable, there are lots of COVID-19 related hoops to jump through from arrival in Greece onwards. These range from the need for each traveller to have a valid Passenger Locator Form to enter the country, through the possibility of members of the tour group being selected for a COVID-19 test and needing to quarantine for 14 days if found positive, to possible limitations on the number of people able to congregate in a group in a public space. These issues are being looked into at present by local SCS contacts and we hope to be in a position to make a final decision on the viability of this year’s tour by Sunday 2 August.

Alan Wakefield

Chairman, Salonika Campaign Society

NEWS : SCS Battlefield Tours in 2020

Salonika Campaign Society  Battlefield Tour: 20-28 September 2020

The SCS Tour Team announces details of the Society’s September 2020 battlefield tour. This tour not only includes visits to key sites associated with the British Salonika Force but also takes the group to the key battlefield of Kajmakcalan, the mountain fought over by Serbian and Bulgarian forces between 12 and 30 September 1916. As usual, this September tour will coincide with the official ceremonies of commemoration in Greece. Continue reading “NEWS : SCS Battlefield Tours in 2020”

SCS Battlefields Tours in 2020

Next year there will be a single Society tour, running in September so as to coincide with the annual official commemorations. The reason for only running a single tour next year is due to the poor response to the spring
SCS tour run through Battle Honours last April. We hope to try running another tour with Battle Honours in 2021 but can only do so if it is supported by members.

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Exhibition and Event at Sandham Memorial Chapel: 16-27 October 2019

An exhibition of work by 2018 Sky Landscape Artist of the Year, Jen Gash, inspired by her journey through the countryside of Macedonia accompanying the 2018 SCS Centenary tour and following in Stanley Spencer’s footsteps.

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The New Mosquito #39 : April 2019

Members should have received this latest edition of The New Mosquito by now. Please contact the Society if you are expecting a copy, but haven’t received it. New editor, Ian Cochrane, is to be congratulated on his first issue which has a fresh new look, whilst maintaining  the excellent quality of articles that members have come to expect.

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SCS BATTLEFIELD TOUR : 23 September – 30 September 2019

The SCS Tour Team is pleased to announce details of the Society’s September 2019 battlefield tour. This tour includes visits to key sites associated with British Salonika Force operations between 1916 and 1918 as well as attendance at official ceremonies of commemoration in Greece. The group will also visit sites not previously on any previous tour itinerary. Continue reading “SCS BATTLEFIELD TOUR : 23 September – 30 September 2019”

SCS Salonika Battlefield Tour: 12-17 April 2019 

There are still a few places available on the April battlefield tour. Run under the auspices of the well respected battlefield tours company, Battle Honours, the tour will as always be led by SCS Chairman, Alan Wakefield. The tour offers an in-depth study of the British part of the Salonika Front through a series of walks, visits to memorials, cemeteries and forgotten trench lines. Continue reading “SCS Salonika Battlefield Tour: 12-17 April 2019 “