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Skyros commemorates 100th anniversary since the death of poet Rupert Brooke

Events commemorating the 100th anniversary since the death of English poet Rupert Brooke were held on the Aegean island of Skyros where he is buried on Thursday.

They started with a memorial service at the poet's grave, read by the chaplain of Athens' Anglican Church Reverend Canon Malcom Bradshaw, after which wreaths were laid at the Rupert Brooke monument on the island by British Ambassador in Athens John Kittmer, regional authority head Costas Cacoyannis and Skyros Mayor Miltos Hatzigiannakis.

There was also a Navy honour guard and band, since Brooke had enlisted and served with the British Royal Navy before his death on Skyros, aged 27, from sepsis caused by an infected mosquito bite.

The events were organised jointly by the British Embassy, the municipality and the Central Greece Region while those attending included representatives of the Rupert Brooke Society from London and of diplomatic missions in Greece.

Brooke was commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a temporary Sub-Lieutenant shortly after his 27th birthday and took part in the Royal Naval Division's Antwerp expedition in October 1914. He sailed with the British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force on 28 February 1915 but developed sepsis from an infected mosquito bite. He died in a French hospital ship moored in Treis Boukies bay off the island of Skyros on April 23, on his way to the landing at Gallipoli, and was buried on the island under an olive tree, at a site chosen by his close friend, William Denis Browne.

At precisely the same spot on April 5, 1931 there was an unveiling of the statue of Brooke that still stands there today, attended by the then Greek prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos, with a eulogy read out by the Greek lyric poet Angelos Sikelianos.

Later on Thursday, an audiovisual exhibition entitled "Rupert Brooke in Skyros: An English poet in the corner of the Aegean" organised jointly by the British Embassy and Skyros municipality, with the support of the Central Greece regional authority, will be inaugurated at the Skyros Primary School and run until September 1.

It includes rare photographs and recorded material supplied by the historical archives of the Imperial War Museums London, the Rupert Brooke Society and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, while also exploring Brooke's romantic poetry and the historical aspects of WWI, from Gallipoli to the Macedonia Front, and the events that radically changed the map of Europe.

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