We have added two documents to our website which will be of interest.
The first document sets out the origins of The Brotherhood of The Greek Veterans in Edwin Horlington MBE’s own words and can be found in the About section.
Here is the link: The Brotherhood in Edwin’s own words
The second document is from The Municipal Council of Kalamata recommending that both Edwin and Sir Patrick ‘Paddy’ Leigh Fermor be awarded the Freedom of The City of Kalamata. This can can found at the foot of the section on Kalamata.
Here is the link: Awarding the Freedom of the City of Kalamata
We had previously announced that this year’s service in Kalamata was scheduled to be held on Tuesday 18th May 2021. We had very much hoped that travel restrictions would have been eased by then so we could travel to Greece. Unfortunately not. Due to UK lockdown restrictions, international travel is not permitted until after 17th May 2021, at the very earliest. As a result, we will not be going ahead with our ceremony as planned. We are very sorry about this, not least as it is the 80th anniversary of the 1941 Greek Campaign. It is quite possible that the Mayor may arrange for a simple wreath laying service locally on that date. We will let you know if that is the case.
The date of this year’s service is planned for Tuesday 18th May 2021. We are hoping that travel restrictions will be eased by then and travel to Kalamata will be possible, and that arrivals in Greece will not have to self-isolate as they do at the moment. We should have a better idea by Easter and will update you when we know more. In the meantime, you should be able to check which airlines will be flying to Kalamata or Athens and also hotel options. We will keep you posted.
We are hoping to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the 1941 Greek Campaign in Kalamata next May, week commencing 17th May 2021. We have heard from the Mayor of Kalamata that they are currently planning to hold the service on Tuesday 18th May 2021. However, everything will depend on how things develop with the pandemic here and in Greece. Please note that nothing can be confirmed at this stage. We will provide more information as and when we know more.
Jim Claven, Honorary Member of the Greek Veterans group, Australian Historian and Journalist, has been researching the Anzac Trail across Greece from the archives in Australia and also on the ground in Greece, with a view to having memorial plaques erected at appropriate sites.
Tens of thousands of Allied troops made their way across the Peloponnese in the latter days of the Greek Campaign on the mainland. This fighting retreat saw a number of deadly engagements – Corinth Canal, Tolos and finally at the waterfront at Kalamata.
The trail concept is to connect Greece’s existing Anzac-related memorials and work to erect new ones. Not only will this commemorate Greece’s link to Anzac but will also assist descendants and other commemorative travelers in their desire to walk the footsteps of the Anzacs in the First and Second World Wars.
Three plaques were unveiled as part of the Anzac Trail in 2018 – at Lemnos, Pylos, and Methoni. Six other memorials were due to be erected and unveiled this year – two at Corinth, two at Lemnos, one on the Kalamata waterfront to commemorate the battle fought on 28th April 1941 and one at Trachila, about 33 miles/53 kms south of Kalamata to commemorate the evacuation of allied escapers and evaders from the coastal villages of the Mani.
However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic these have been postponed until 2021. We are hoping that we will be able to co-ordinate our visit to Kalamata in May 2021 with the Kalamata and Trachila unveilings.
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.
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 “
The date of the Service of Commemoration for the 79th anniversary of the 1941 Greek Campaign in Kalamata has been set for Tuesday 12th May 2020. We will publish more details nearer the time and look forward to seeing you there.
As reported previously, we were very sad to announce that ‘Our Man in Kalamata’, Nikos Zervis, had died suddenly and unexpectedly on 15th February 2019 aged 92. Nikos was a great friend and supporter of the Brotherhood. He was a great historian, a fount of knowledge and a prolific author. Without exception he had attended all of our services in Kalamata and, until recent years, had translated our speeches.
On Monday 13th May 2019 a short service was held at the Kalamata cemetery. A number of us from the UK as well as a few ex-pats, together with Nikos’ wife, Phoni, his son Yannis (John) and grandson Nikos came together to pay our respects to Nikos. We laid a poppy cross on his grave and a Greek priest officiated. One of our members, Doug (Buster) Becket read out a short prayer, which he had written.