September 17, 1931: Nikolaos Votsis, hero of Thessaloniki, passes away

Nikolaos Votsis

From the island of Hydra, Nikolaos Votsis (1877 – September 17, 1931) was a Greek naval officer who distinguished himself during the Balkan Wars (1912-13).

He was descended from the prominent Kountouriotis family on his mother’s side.

After studying at the Naval Academy, he served during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, serving in the naval blockade of Crete.

ΙΣΤΟΡΙΑ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΚΑΙ ΠΑΓΚΟΣΜΙΑ : Ο ΝΙΚΟΛΑΟΣ ΒΟΤΣΗΣ ΚΑΙ Ο ΤΟΡΠΙΛΙΣΜΟΣ ΤΟΥ ''ΦΕΤΧΙ ΜΠΟΥΛΕΝΤ'' (ΜΕΡΟΣ Α΄)
Nikolaos Votsis.

By the time of the Balkan Wars, he was a Lieutenant commanding his own Torpedo Boat.

He is most well-known for leading his vessel into Thessaloniki Harbour during the First Balkan War (1912), when it was still held and heavily fortified by the Turks.

He evaded detection and capture, sinking the Turkish Warship the Feth-i Bülend.

A depiction of the sinking of the Feth-i Bülend in a popular lithograph. Votsis is shown in the lower left corner.
A depiction of the sinking of the Feth-i Bülend in a popular lithograph. Votsis is shown in the lower left corner.

This was a massive morale boost for the Greeks and was the first in a series of Greek naval successes in the war, with Votsis becoming a National Hero and earning promotion to Captain.

These Naval victories played a Major role in Greece re-taking Thessaloniki for the first time in over five centuries, with Greek Forces triumphantly entering the City only a few weeks later.

Later during the international mission which took control of the Constantinople following World War I, Votsis was appointed Greece’s High Commissioner for the City until 1922.

Votsis retired with the rank of Rear Admiral.

From 1927 to his death in 1931 he was the president of the Greco-Albanian Association with Filippos Dragoumis, brother of Ion Dragoumis as secretary.

READ MORE: The target of Turkey’s ground forces is Thessaloniki: CNN TURK (VIDEO).

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