As with Kalamata, our UK reunion at the National Memorial Arboretum didn’t happen this year. However, it did take place virtually, by Zoom. 21 of us met at 11.00 a.m on Saturday 12th September at the “Virtual Greek Grove”.
We were very pleased that our group included two special guests: Captain Athanasios Dimitriou, Defence Attaché of Greece in the UK and Ireland – who attended our UK service in 2019, and Lieutenant Colonel Emma Thomas from the New Zealand Defence Staff.
Janet Parkin welcomed everyone and began by reading a copy of the speech, which her father, Edwin Horlington (Founder of the Brotherhood) had given in October 1998 when the Greek Grove Chapel was dedicated.
” I look around me and I feel very proud of the members of this Brotherhood and what we have achieved. This memorial will live on beyond us or our grandchildren’s great grandchildren.
It is not just a stone memorial that will weather and crumble away in time but a living entity which will grow more beautiful as the years pass. People will come here to visit our chapel and wonder about the period of history it commemorates and they may go away impressed and determined to find out more about us and the comrades that we left behind.
I thank God for the past 57 years and think of those that would have liked to live them with us and be here now.
When we have all gone our spirits will live amongst the trees with our old comrades.
We were shown photos of how the plot originally looked in 1998 together with pictures of how the Greek Grove has evolved over the years.
Our reunion continued with everyone introducing themselves and sharing stories of the veterans they represented. We had an update on Frank Gill (our President) and his recent 101st birthday, together with a message from Father John who was unable to join us.
There was a lot of great interaction on the call – almost like being together in the same room. Our Greek and New Zealand guests expressed appreciation at being part of the proceedings.
At the end, our Chairman David Sanderson gave the oration, after which the last post was played, followed by a silence and then reveille.