Records for 511 Greek Veterans now on website

We now have records for 511 Greek veterans on our website, supplied from our archive. See the section headed ‘Greek Veterans’ for a list of all the names and links to their records. Please email us at greekveterans@gmail.com if you would like to know more about the veterans listed or you would like to provide us with information on these or other veterans (not mentioned here). We will forward all requests and any new information to our Archivist Noah Scott for his attention.

Books added to Resources section of the website

We have added more books to the Resources section – as recommended by our members :

Platon Alexiades, Target Corinth Canal 1940-1944, 2015

Stanley Casson, Greece Against the Axis, 1941

Robert Crisp, The Gods Were Neutral, A story of the Greek Campaign 1941, 1960

Roger Field, Geoffrey Gordo and N. Creed, Rogue Male, Sabotage and Seduction behind Enemy Lines with Geoffrey Gordon-Creed DSO, MC, 2012

Adrian Gilbert The Imperial War Museum Book of the Desert War 1940-42

Francis S. Jones, Escape to Nowhere, 1952

Francis S. Jones, Hit or Miss, The Adventures of Driver Randle Barlow, 1954

Michael Woodbine Parish, Aegean Aventures 1940-1943 and the end of Churchill’s Dream, 1993

Miles Reid MC, Last on the List, 1974 (first written in 1942 when events were still fresh in his mind).  Interestingly, there is mention in the book of a Trooper Cooper who turns out to be L/Cpl Francis Herbert (Sherry) Cooper 4th QO Hussars, later PoW, the husband of Dora and the father of Cyril. Cyril  has attended our UK Reunions regularly with Dora.

 

80th anniversary of the 1941 Greek Campaign in Kalamata 2021

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.

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.

Jack Wentworth Ansell featured in BBC VE Day programme

Jack Wentworth Ansell, Royal Corps of Signals, PoW, Kalamata.

Jack was featured on the recent BBC VE Day programme where he was one of three WW2 veterans who gave lengthy interviews. He talked about his time as a PoW and about a book of poems by British Prisoners of War in Austria which he had put together, having found a typewriter which the Germans left behind when they left the camp on 8 May 1945 and the prisoners took control. “Whilst waiting, with several thousand other former British prisoners of war to be repatriated to the United Kingdom, I set up shop with my typewriter. Men came to me with these poems written on scraps of paper for me to type out”.  In 2002 Jack gave the original carbon copies to the Imperial War Museum who now hold it as a printed document in their Printed Books Department.  Jack’s interview was actually recorded in July 2019 as part of 3945portraits.com.  Sadly Jack died in January 2020 and so was not able to see the VE Day programme himself.

In the footsteps of the Anzacs

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.

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.