We had a very good turn out, with about 50 people attending the service – which, due to the lovely weather, we were able to hold in the Greek Grove.
Janet Parkin, our Secretary, gave the welcome speech in which she reiterated how important it was, 78 years after the 1941 Greek Campaign, to remember and commemorate it.
We were very pleased that Frank Gill, our President, who celebrated his 100th birthday in July, was able to join us. Frank took the opportunity to say a few words, including the fact that he had been quite overwhelmed by the number of cards and tributes he had received for his birthday. He thanked everyone from the bottom of his heart and said he was truly moved and very grateful to everyone.
We were delighted to welcome Captain Athanasios Dimitriou, the Greek Defence Attaché, and to welcome back representatives from Australia and New Zealand who had attended in 2018 – Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Evans, Department of Defence, Australian High Commission and Major Chris Shaw, New Zealand Defence Staff.
We were also very pleased to welcome, once again, Mrs Dora Cooper, 104 years old. Dora is the widow of L/Cpl Francis Cooper of the 4th Q.O. Hussars, PoW, Stalag 18A. Dora was accompanied by her son Cyril.
Father John (Nankivell) from the Greek Orthodox Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God in Walsall conducted the service – which, as usual, went very well. Four others from his congregation attended and assisted. As usual their singing was beautiful and added to the occasion.
Four standards were carried – thank you to Phil Evans, Paul Hadwin, Colin Pleavin and David Sanderson.
In addition to the wreaths laid by our special guests, see above, poppy wreaths were also laid by Frank Gill – in memory of Fallen Comrades; Buster (Doug) Beckett – Prisoners of War; Mary Peterkin – Deceased Members and Mark Buttery on behalf of the Brotherhood. Geoff Swinnerton gave the oration. Len Cook, bugler, played the Last Post and Reveille – a stalwart who has been doing this for us for many years – and Barry Parkin acted as Parade Marshall. Many thanks to you all.