79th anniversary virtual UK Reunion 2020

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.

 

 

 

 

Cancelled: 79th anniversary and UK Reunion Saturday 12th September 2020

We are very sorry to announce that the 79th anniversary and UK Reunion of the 1941 Greek campaign in September has been cancelled.

The service was due to take place at 11.30am  in the Greek Grove at the National Memorial Arboretum on Saturday 12th September 2020.

Government guidelines allow gatherings of up to 30 people (at present)  and the numbers at our service in the Greek Grove are always in excess of this. In addition, the Arboretum is not allowing any indoor events to take place, so the Chapel would not be available (in case of wet weather).

We are very disappointed that we will not to be able to get together as planned, but look forward to seeing everyone again at a future Reunion.

Update on 79th anniversary in UK: Saturday 12th September 2020

Currently, we are still hoping to hold the 79th anniversary and UK Reunion of the 1941 Greek campaign in September as planned. The service is scheduled for 11.30am  in the Greek Grove (or if wet, in the chapel at 12 noon) at the National Memorial Arboretum on Saturday 12th September 2020. Further updates and details will be published nearer the time.

Virtual commemoration held for 79th Kalamata anniversary

As previously posted,  we weren’t able to hold our usual service in Kalamata in May.  Instead, we held a virtual gathering on Tuesday 14 May by Zoom. There were 17 of us with representatives from UK, Greece and Australia. Our virtual ceremony included photos from last year, an oration, as well as the last post, silence and a reveille. And although there was no official commemoration in Kalamata, a wreath was laid by the Mayor Mr Athanasios Vasilopoulos and three other dignataries on behalf of the the Municipality.

 

The planned commemoration in Kalamata for 79th anniversary has been cancelled due to COVID-19

We are very sorry to announce that the Service of Commemoration for the 79th anniversary of the  1941 Greek Campaign in Kalamata due to be held on Tuesday 12th May 2020 has been cancelled. We received an email from the Mayor of Kalamata this week. Here is an extract from his message.

“According to the information so far and the prohibitions applied to our country… we are not in the position of fulfilling this year everything we would wish to. Not being able to know the evolution of COVID-19 pandemic within the next two weeks, we have decided to cancel the ceremony for the 79th anniversary of the historic Battle of Kalamata. In honour of the people who lost their lives, a wreath will be laid by the Municipality. 2021 marks the 80th anniversary of the historic Battle of Kalamata and we will ensure that this ceremony will cover this year’s cancellation. I hope you are well and soon positive information on COVID-19 treatment to be released.

Yours faithfully, The Mayor of Kalamata Athanasios P. Vasilopoulos “