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Remembered Today:

The Gardeners of Salonika


Guest Neville Holmes

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Guest Neville Holmes

I am currently serving in Kosovo with NATO forces. I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to conduct battlefield tours over on the Greek/FYROM border and the town of Doiran and the fateful Sep 18 offensive. My focus has been thus far the progress of the 22nd Divisions' assault towards Grand Couronne, more specifically, the 67th Brigade move up the Jumeaux Ravine.

I would welcome discussion on this, or related topics to broaden my perspective.

Neville Holmes

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Neville,

Interested in knowing how well tended are the CWGC cemeteries in this far flung area and what may remain in the way of Great War topography, positions etc.

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Ian I don't know about the really far away area's but here in Ireland the CWGC look after the headstones really well even in the really small churchyards fair play to them :)

Conor :D

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Can I suggest you keep an eye on the Salonika Campaign Society web pages at

http://www.salonika.freeserve.co.uk/

or even consider joining. They have visited the battlefields and plan to go again and are also looking for support for the annual autumn ceremonies out there.

MY wife's grandfather served out there with 7th Ox. & Bucks and subsequently with 660 ASC. He went on leave at the end of October 1918 and was lucky enough not to have to go back.

His return rail ticket still survives unused!

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Guest Neville Holmes

The British cemetery on the FYROM/Greek border near the town of Dorian is exceptionally well maintained. If anybody can tell me how, I will gladly post some digital images on this site for general interest. Unfortunately, and rather suprisingly, the Greek cemetery is in a terrible state.

I welcome the advice to log onto the Salonika site and will do so directly.

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Neville

The man who sparked my interest in the Great War lies in grave V. E. 23 at Doiran Military Cemetery. His name is Robert Mars of the 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He entered the French theatre in 1915, suffered gunshot wounds twice (once to the arm and once to the head) and died of suffocation in 1918. I would dearly like a photo of his grave and if you could e-mail me an image I'd be most grateful

Michael

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I've been researching the military career of my grandfather who joined the 12th Bn Argylls in Sept 1914. After a month in the trenches south of Mametz in September 1915 the battalion was transferred to Salonika in October 1915. It saw action at the village of Krastali twice in 1916 before taking up positions in the Doiran area. He told me many stories of his time in Salonika; the poverty of the Greek peasants, the anger of the Greek soldiers on seeing Scottish soldiers wearing kilts, the night raids and the slaughter on the 19th Sept 1918. The 12th was part of 77 Brigade, 26th Div, and was ordered to take the Bulgarian positions on the hill known as Sugarloaf, not far from Jumeaux ravine. At first the attack went well, the Bulgarian trenches were deserted and quickly occupied. But as the battalion moved further forward they came under a terrific hail of fire from the Bulgarians, dug in on higher ground. With their flanks turned, there was a real danger that the battalion would be surrounded. My grandfather, a signaller, seeing that there was no chance of contacting Brigade HQ, dumped his kit and made his way forward to the front line. I think most of the nco's and officers were either dead or wounded because the battalion account describes him taking command of small groups of men and organising them into fire groups. The battalion managed to fight off at least 3 Bulgarian counterattacks before making their way back across no man's land, fighting all the way. My grandfather told the story of silencing a Bulgarian machine gun post but being criticised by the officers for not bringing back the machine gun! I always wonder if it occured on that day. Of 500 men who attacked, my grandfather said that less than 200 were there to answer the roll call. Proportionately, worse casualties than suffered by the Union army at the Battle of Antietam.

I've managed to visit the site of the battalion's trenches in France. I've located some excellent maps from the PRO and photos from the IWM but so far I've not been lucky enough to visit the site of the battalion's bravery at Doiran. Any advice on this would be gratefully received.

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Guest Neville Holmes

I am due to travel to Doiran on 22 Mar 03 and will gladly take photos of headstones etc for interested parties. I will endeavour to be there monthly from then on. I am tracking the progress of 22 Div in Sep 1918, especially up the Jemeaux ravine, and would welcome any additional tips or advice.

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