Our group this year numbered 32 from the UK – including two veterans – Frank Gill and Jock Watt. Also present, were 12 people from Israel, family descendants of the Palestinian Pioneers who served with the British Army and who were taken prisoner in April 1941.
Others who attended the ceremony on Tuesday 24th May 2016 included: the British Ambassador and the Australian Ambassador from Athens accompanied by their Defence Attachés, together with an 8-person contingent from the Australian Federation Guard; various military personnel, civic dignitaries, the town band and the usual very supportive group of expats.
We must thank the Mayor of Kalamata Mr. Nikas Panagiotis, and his Assistant and Press and Public Relations Officer, Mr Kostas Kontothanasis for all their kind hospitality and invaluable support. Not forgetting Nikos Zervis, ‘Our Man in Kalamata’ who was also present giving us his usual, most welcome help, advice and support.
On this special anniversary, Frank Gill, President of the Brotherhood presented the Mayor with a Brotherhood plaque “Presented to the Mayor and People of Kalamata for their generous support over the years. 75th Anniversary of the Greek Campaign. May 2016.” The Mayor reciprocated by presenting Frank Gill with a copy of the Seal of the Senate of Messinia.
Laurel wreaths were laid by the Mayor and other dignitaries. The Ambassadors laid wreaths and our contingent laid seven wreaths: Frank Gill in memory of Fallen Comrades, Noah Scott on behalf of the Prisoners of War, Mrs Diane Billinge on behalf of the Widows, Phil Evans in memory of Australian Prisoners of War and their Fallen Comrades, Alec Hamilton of behalf of the Royal Tank Regiment, Geoff Swinnerton of behalf of Deceased members and the Brotherhood of Veterans of the 1941 Greek Campaign and Alan Stevenson on behalf of the Expatriate Community. Jim Claven also laid a wreath on behalf of the Battle of Crete and Greek Campaign Commemorative Committee.