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Photographer's Note

Another view from Mount Skoumbarda, to the south of Leros, towards the great natural harbor of Lakki and a large part of the island northwards.

On the foreground a ruined gun base. During the Italian occupation of the Dodecanese Leros was heavily fortified to become a very important naval base. The Italians built the town of Lakki on flat land according to the architectural style of Rationalism. They also created the island’s infrastructure and numerous tunnels and buildings for military and social purposes. Then came World War II.

After the loss of Rhodes, Churchill insisted that Samos and Leros should be defended against the forces of Hitler (who wanted the islands for his own reasons) and be kept by the allies. The Americans didn’t want to get into battle in the Aegean and planned radical action elsewhere, aiming at finishing the war as soon as possible. So Churchill proceeded to defend the islands, a decision that caused much concern in Britain because of the great number of forces needed and especially after the Battle of Leros and the island was lost. There‘s a fascinating book “Churchill’s Folly, Leros and the Aegean” by Anthony Rogers, that relates the facts and includes several interesting photos.

On Mount Skoumbarda was the naval base San Giorgio with three 152/L50mm and one 102mm guns and battery 262 with six 76mm/L40 guns. After the Italian Armistice on September 8 1943, the British arrived on Leros and took over the command of the island. During the German attacks, starting with bombings from September 26 and until end of the Battle of Leros (November 12-16), the British forces controlled the batteries, the fortifications and infrastructure they found on the island, while they assigned purely defensive duties to the Italian soldiers who remained here.

I read a lot in order to write this note and little by little this tragic and fascinating history becomes clearer to me, all the bits of information that were randomly taken in at different times have started settling in drawing the large picture. However, I have no idea about guns and can’t say what gun was installed here overlooking the harbour.

I have to say a big thank you to Yannis Paraponiaris who brought me here and is patiently showing me locations of great historical interest and natural beauty. Since childhood he is a collector of WWII relics and items, has a private museum and frequently collaborates with writers and journalists or soldiers’ relatives who wish to trace the facts. His collection is superb. His website is: http://www.paraponiaris-leros.gr

I agree that the presence of cables even here is irritating and disturbing. A few metres away, there stands a very tall tower which is a tv antenna. I don’t know if it serves other purposes as well, this spot is also called “the radar” by the local people.

Thank you for visiting

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Ourania Karali (ourania) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4869 W: 13 N: 10027] (51103)
  • Genre: Lieux
  • Medium: Couleur
  • Date Taken: 2012-07-15
  • Categories: Nature, Ruines
  • Exposition: f/8, 1/800 secondes
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Versions: version originale
  • Date Submitted: 2012-07-24 1:30
Viewed: 2549
Points: 62
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Additional Photos by Ourania Karali (ourania) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4869 W: 13 N: 10027] (51103)
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