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Remembered Today:

Salonika after 18 November 1918


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My father was in the Royal Marine Light Infantry, and at the end of WW1 (November) was sent to Salonika. I think his story suggests he was burying the dead from the war but mostly disease. Can anyone tell me about the circumstances of this event.

He returned home in July 1919.

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Not sure what the question is, while he may have been employed on grave registration duties, as with the Western Front the Armistice may have been the end of the campaign in Salonika but was not the end of potential conflict and unrest in the Region. The transition from war to peace had to be managed across the region, especially in the Adriatic. On the 16th November 1918 the Allied navies set up a Naval Commission for the Adriatic, I don't know but it seems logical the Navy would use the RMLI should any 'policing' actions be required for example on 20th November the C-in-C Salonika sent a French Division to Fiume.


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Good morning,

It may be anecdotal but if I remember correctly there were more deaths from disease (predominiantly malaria) than from combat in Salonika.

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According to 'Under the Devil's Eye' Alan Wakefield and Simon Moody, disease claimed the most casualties with malaria causing the highest number of casualties and decimating units. As far as malaria is concerned though I took this to mean more sickness rather than deaths (?), (although of course it certainly was and could be a killer. I'm currently researching a 2nd EYR man who died from malaria while in service in Salonika) because a figure quoted in the book, 'malaria only killed one per cent of those admitted to hospital' but it was the 'sapping effect on manpower' that did it, with recurrences happening months later after they'd returned to duty that would take them out of action again.

Also in the book is another interesting figure relating to malaria

'Between January and June 1918 13,000 chronic malaria sufferers had been evacuated to Britain'

(For anyone who hasn't read it, within the book there is a great deal of information about malaria in Salonika, the problems caused, measures taken to try to prevent it and personal accounts of those who suffered from it)

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My grandfather, a parish priest, volunteered for the RAMC in 1918 and was sent to Salonica. He sailed on 11/11/1918 so saw no action but he was obviously still wanted.

Cheers Martin B

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Thanks everyone for your input. I guess I did not express my query very well. My dad had been gassed early March 1918 in France just before the German Spring Offensive. He was taken back to England to recover, and that took over 6 months, so by the time he may have been returned to the war, it was all over in November 1918. He thought it was all over for him, and he could settle down to civilian life.

However, he said he was sent in November to Salonika, to bury the dead (in pits because of the vast numbers). On the way, his mate said to him, "We've come through Gallipoli, and France and now we could die of disease in Greece!"

I've never understood why his Portsmouth RMLI division (not connected with war in Salonika) was sent to Salonika. I would have thought there were enough "soldiers" still out there to do such a job.

When gassed in France he was actually attached to a Machine Gun Company! They certainly moved the soldiers around - quite confusing to someone with limited understanding of the movements of the RMLI.



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