Ministry of defence Republic of Serbia

Hundred years since Serbian Army landing on Corfu and Vido

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, who is heading the Serbian delegation at the celebration of the centenary of the landing of the Serbian Army on Corfu and Vido, said today that the brotherhood of Greek and Serbian people was then forged for eternity, forever embedded in our being, as part of the suffering and heroic history of Serbia forever. Serbia, he said, will never forget that soldiers from France, Russia, England, Ireland, Scotland, Greece, army Esad Pasha, Canada, Italy... were fighting and dying together with Serbian fighters on the front lines.

He added that it has been for a century that we have mentioned Vido as "Island of Death" because it is the last resting place for 7,747 Serbian soldiers, boys-recruits who died of exhaustion, dysentery, typhoid, pneumonia, starvation ...

"The souls of these heroes and martyrs of ours went to their Serbia together with freedom, conquered for us, for our children, for the children of their children. Less than a kilometre away, in the city and on the island of Corfu, in 1916, the entire Serbian government, the Kingdoms Serbia settled: the National Assembly, metropolis, municipal administration, schools, tax administration, printing house ... and tired and exhausted old king Petar Karadjordjevic, who went was with his army all the way from Belgrade to Corfu", Nikolic said.

From January 1916, thousands of exhausted soldiers were brought to Vido. More than 6,000 will not survive, Nikolic recalled.

We believe that the Salonika front in 1915 could not save the Serbian army, although in Nis the Allies were waited for with triumphal arches decorated with flowers and hopes of the people that the European armies will arrive. We believe that they would have helped us if they could and that they would have prevented the Austrians, Hungarians, Germans, Bulgarians to overrun Serbia, he said.

We believed in ourselves and forced the Allies to allow us to break the Salonika front in 1918, which broke the backbone of the Axis powers, and ended, by then, the greatest war in the history of human civilization, Nikolic said.

The human life is short to repeat the word "thank you", but as long as my people exists and as long as there is Serbia, gratitude will continue for the Allied medical missions that were present here healing the wounds of Serbs and making our misfortune smaller without complaining and without sparing themselves.

Forever thank you and the people of Corfu, the descendants of the altruistic host of our ancestors, Nikolic said.

For special merits for Serbia, the expressed nobility and humanity towards the Serbian soldiers who landed 100 years ago on the island of Corfu, the Serbian President will award the Sretenje Order to the Municipality of Corfu.

Mayor of Corfu Kostas Nikolouzos said that in the sacred space of remembrance we are paying tribute to those who lost their lives during the stay of the Serbian Army in Corfu in the period from 1916 to 1918, sending a strong message of solidarity and humanism throughout the world. He pointed out that those who have lost their lives, in addition to our long-standing friendly relations, remind us of our obligation to be careful so that we do not ever have to prove our connection again in the same way.

The Serbian delegation also included Minister of Defence Zoran Djordjevic, Minister for Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Aleksandar Vulin, Minister of Culture and Information Ivan Tasovac and SAF Chief of General Staff General Ljubisa Dikovic.

Minister Djordjevic, after the ceremony on Vido, presented the curator of the Serbian house Ljubomir Samardzic twenty books on the theme of the First World War, published by Odbrana Media Centre.

In a statement after the ceremony on Vido, general Dikovic said that the memory of our heroes of the First World War cannot disappear as long as the last Serb and friend of Serbia live.

During the day, the Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces met with the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis.