The ‘Forgotten Front’: When British and French Fought Side By Side With Russians

Ambassadors and dignitaries from Britain, France, Russia, Greece, Serbia and Italy are on their way to Macedonia where ceremonies will take place on Saturday, September 29, and Sunday, September 30, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice of Salonika.

Alan Wakefield, Head of First World War and Early 20th Century Conflict at the Imperial War Museum in London, will be with a party of 28 — including some descendants of Salonika Front veterans — attending various ceremonies on the old frontline over the weekend. Almost 5,000 British Empire troops lost their lives in the campaign.

Mr. Wakefield said the Bulgarians were held in high regard by the Allied commanders during and after the war and General Vladimir Vazov was invited to London in the 1920s and met Salonika Front veterans and his old adversary General George Milne.

“When the Bulgarians fought the British and French it was quite a gentlemanly war. They would let us play football and we would let them fish in the lake without being shot at. Stretcher bearers were allowed to come and pick up the dead and injured. It was a lot less pleasant when the Bulgarians fought the Greeks or Serbians because of the old antipathies,” said Mr. Wakefield.

Mr. Wakefield said Bulgaria was the first of the Central Powers to surrender in September 1918 but only after three years of intense fighting on a now almost forgotten front in northern Greece and what is now Macedonia.


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