Salonika is a strategically important Greek port on the Aegean coast of Macedonia. As there was a direct railway link between Salonika and Belgrade, this became the best route to send Allied aid to Serbia. In September 1915, Britain and France accepted the invitation from the Greek prime minister, Eleutherios Venizelos, to land Allied troops at Salonika.

The first Anglo-French troops arrived at Salonika on 5th October, 1915. With Bulgarian and German troops on the frontier, the French commander, General Maurice Sarrail and General George Milne, the leader of the British troops, turned Salonika and its surrounds into an entrenched zone. This included a trench-system similar to the one on the Western Front.

Primary Sources

(1) (1) Ishobel Ross, diary entry while in Salonika (25th August, 1916)

We can hear the guns more distinctly today, it is such a gruesome sound. We have still had no word of moving. I was in town this afternoon with Woody and Adam. We saw a whole regiment of Italian troops marching up Venizelos Street, Cavalry and Infantry. They looked splendid, and one little man standing besides me, I presume he was an Italian, quite lost his head. He was so excited he jumped up and down as if he were on a spring! The troops were cheered by the crowd that always seemed to gather from nowhere when marching feet were heard. It is extraordinary the number of soldiers of different nationalities that you see in the town.