Nikolaos Votsis

Nikolaos Votsis and the White Tower
Nikolaos Votsis and the White Tower

 

 

Lieutenant_Votsis_qui_fit_sauter_le_Feth-I-Bulend_dans_le_port_de_Salonique

 

 

Nikolaos Votsis (Greek: Νικόλαος Βότσης, Hydra, 1877 – Athens, 1931) was a Greek naval officer who distinguished himself during the Balkan Wars and rose to the rank of Rear Admiral. In 1934, a marble bust of Votsis was erected at Thessaloniki, in front of the White Tower.

 

Life

Votsis was born in the island of Hydra to the prominent Botsis-Kountouriotis family. He was the nephew of admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis, while his maternal great-grandfather was Georgios Kountouriotis, participant of the Greek War of Independence. His studies at the Naval Academy were followed in 1904-1906 by two years’ training service in the French Navy. At the outbreak of the First Balkan War in October 1912, with the rank of Lieutenant, he was commanding torpedo boat No. 11, a vessel already old at the time (it belonged to a batch of 6 constructed in Stettin in 1884).

Blowing_up_of_'Fetih-i-Bulend'
The sinking of the Feth-i Bülend as depicted in a popular lithograph. Votsis is shown in the lower left corner.

Sinking the Feth-i Bülend

Setting sail from his base at Litochoro, on the night of 31 October [O.S. 18 October] 1912, Votsis led his vessel into the harbour of Thessaloniki, at the time still held by the Ottomans. Inside the harbour, which was protected by minefields and coastal batteries, lay a handful of Ottoman vessels: aside from four tugboats, the only warship was the old ironclad Feth-i Bülend. It was not a combat-worthy vessel, as its weaponry had been dismantled to reinforce the coastal batteries.

According to Votsis’ own description, he evaded the searchlights of Karaburnu fortress which stood at the entrance of the harbour, and sighted the Feth-i Bülend at 23:20. Sailing closer and directly towards the unsuspecting vessel, he launched his starboard torpedo at 23:35 from a distance of 150 m, followed by the portside torpedo. As he turned his ship around, he also launched the deck-mounted torpedo, but it exploded on the quay. While the torpedoes struck the Feth-i Bülend, Votsis sailed out of the harbour at full speed, relying on his craft’s shallow draught to pass over the minefield and sailed towards Greek-held territory.

The Feth-i Bülend sank rapidly. Casualties however amounted to only seven men from its crew, as most were ashore manning the guns. The sinking of the Feth-i Bülend may not have had much military significance, but it provided a great morale boost to the Greeks: it was the first of a series of naval successes in the war, and the Hydriot Votsis was propelled to the status of a national hero, readily associated with the legendary fireship captains of the Greek Revolution.

Later career

Promoted to Lt Commander, he was placed in command of the captured Ottoman torpedo boat Antalya, which was renamed to Nicopolis. Votsis remained in the Navy, and in 1920, he was captain of the battleship Kilkis. In January 1921, he was appointed as Greece’s High Commissioner to the Allied mission at Constantinople, a post he held until February 1922, when he was appointed captain of the battleship Lemnos, which he commanded until September 1922. Disagreeing with the revolt of the Army, led by Venizelist officers, against the royalist government, he resigned and went into retirement with the rank of Rear Admiral. From 1927 to his death in 1931 he was the president of the Greco-Albanian Association with Philippos Dragoumis, brother of Ion Dragoumis as secretary.

 

Honours

Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolaos_Votsis)

 

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Counting the rats…

Counting the rats by V-Light

  I counted at least 6 dead rats floating in this disgusting mix of seaweed and garbage…People stopped and stared and looked at me weird for taking photos of this. Some thought i was a tourist and that i wanted to shame Greece with publishing such a photo. Having lived in Thessaloniki for 7 years, this is not a rare sight…

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Crooked point of view

The famous "White Tower" landmark of Thessaloniki, on a foggy day...
The famous “White Tower” landmark of Thessaloniki, on a foggy day…

 

  I’m usually very strict with keeping a straight horizon and correct perspective in my photographs. After some comments about this matter on a photo “The Looming Decay (2013)” by infraredrobert , i remembered this specific one where i break all these rules but i think the result came out really interesting.

  It was a rather unusual and foggy day and that made it a perfect day for a walk. I don’t know what those black things that were sprayed on the ground were supposed to be, the next day they were gone. They do resemble caveman drawings, i think they look like people running and jumping, hunting down an animal? Anyway, i was fascinated by the fact that these drawings would add a unique touch to the most photographed subject of the city.

  I took this photo with my Canon 450 and the kit lens 18-55mm. I choose a low angle almost down to the ground, so i could include the drawings. When i noticed how distorted the tower became i played with the angle to make it even more dramatic. Nothing was done in photoshop to correct or exaggerate the result. The tree that has a natural incline to the right helps a lot to make the image look even more distorted.  What do you think?

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Together we can do it

the white tower in Thessaloniki, Greece | 2012
the white tower in Thessaloniki, Greece | 2012

 

A true message that people need to finally put in their heads and realize their power, in Thessaloniki, Greece

Detail: The little fishes have names of countries written on them.

 

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