At the invitation of the Greek Prime Minister, M.Venizelos, Salonika (now Thessalonika) was occupied by three French Divisions and the 10th (Irish) Division from Gallipoli in October 1915. Other French and Commonwealth forces landed during the year and in the summer of 1916, they were joined by Russian and Italian troops. In August 1916, a Greek revolution broke out at Salonika, with the result that the Greek national army came into the war on the Allied side.
The town was the base of the British Salonika Force and it contained, from time to time, eighteen general and stationary hospitals. Three of these hospitals were Canadian, although there were no other Canadian units in the force.
The earliest Commonwealth burials took place in the local Protestant and Roman Catholic cemeteries. Salonika (Lembet Road) Military Cemetery (formerly known as the Anglo-French Military Cemetery) was begun in November 1915 and Commonwealth, French, Serbian, Italian and Russian sections were formed. The Commonwealth section remained in use until October 1918, although from the beginning of 1917, burials were also made in Mikra British Cemetery. After the Armistice, some graves were brought in from other cemeteries in Macedonia, Albania and from Scala Cemetery, near Cassivita, on the island of Thasos.
There are now 1,648 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. The Commonwealth plot also contains 45 Bulgarian and one Serbian war graves.