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Veterans of Salonika – Comradeship and RemembranceImperial War Museum

Imperial War Museum

"I currently hold the position of Head of First World War & Early 20th Century Conflict at the Imperial War Museum. I head a team of eight curators and historians charged with responsibility for all historical and collections output at the Museum relating to the period 1900 – 1929. I have written three books on First World War subjects including the co-authored Under the Devil’s Eye: Britain’s Forgotten Army at Salonika 1915-1918. I am currently working on a study of the Mesopotamia Campaign.  

I currently hold the position of Chairman of the Salonika Campaign Society and am a member of the British Commission for Military History. I write and lectures on various aspects of military history, with particular emphasis on the First World War and over the past decade have led many tour groups, including British Army staff rides, to the battlefields of the Salonika Campaign."

"This paper examines the activities and ethos of the Salonika Reunion Association, which existed from 1924 until 1968. It is a study of a veterans’ organisation that sought to keep alive the spirit of comradeship forged in a military campaign largely ignored by the British public even during the First World War. With the only criteria for membership being military service in the Balkans between 1915 and 1919, primarily with the British Salonika Force, the role of former nurses and VADs within the organisation will be discussed. Likewise, the paper covers ways in which the SRA played a role as a mutual support network for members during the Great Depression. Finally, an examination will be made of the overseas links fostered by the association that preserved wartime bonds with sister associations in former Alled countries and with the nations of Greece and Serbia in particular. The latter included the adoption of a village and school in Greece.

The study will be based on sets of private papers compiled by members of the SRA and held by the Imperial War Museum, regional branch records such as those deposited at Suffolk Records office and the contents of the SRA’s quarterly journal ‘The Mosquito.’ These sources highlight the formal and informal ways in which the SRA worked to foster a spirit of comradeship and remembrance amongst its membership."