We are pleased to feature Edgar Harrison OBE MC BEM this week. A truly incredible veteran and early member of The Brotherhood, Edgar was awarded the British Empire Medal (Mil) for gallantry at Kalamata; Military Cross for conspicuous service in Yugoslavia; MBE in 1958 for service to communications in Moscow and OBE in 1974 for service to Diplomatic Wireless Communications. A member of MI6 (Section VIII) Special Communications unit he was Churchill’s personal radio operator. Fellow MI6 operator Geoffrey Pidgeon wrote about Edgar in his book “Edgar Harrison – soldier, patriot and ULTRA Wireless Operator to Winston Churchill”. Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Edgar’s experiences.
Read Edgar Harrison’s Story
We are pleased to feature Dai Davies this week. Dai (known as DT) Davies OBE was captured during the battle of Crete in 1941 and transported to Austria where he was taken to Stalag 18A. He escaped from the camp and made his way to Hungary but was later recaptured. He escaped again and was recaptured twice more. He was taken to the concentration camp Zemum, near Belgrade, described as ‘hell on earth’. He escaped one last time and joined the Partisans to fight in Yugoslavia. Awarded the Military Medal for his wartime services, DT only spoke about his experiences much later in life and wrote about them in his book ‘All for Freedom: A True Story of Escape from the Nazis’. When you read his story you will find references to his friends Joe Burke and Joe Beckett.
Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Dai’s experiences.
Read Dai Davies Story
We are pleased to feature Eric Bardsley’s story this week. Author of ‘Barbed Wire & Balkans’, Eric was a member of The Brotherhood and regularly attended the UK services. He was a PoW in Wolfsberg and participated in the 2013 Wolfsberg trip. As the only ex PoW and oldest member of the group that weekend, Eric was very warmly welcomed. At the Mayor’s Reception on the Friday night, Eric delivered a speech in German and received a standing ovation.
A note from our Archive: Eric ‘declined’ to make the march north to the Markt Pongau – Salzberg area as the Russians approached eastern Austria in March 1945. He and some others stayed hidden in the countryside around Friedberg until it was liberated by the Russians. He eventually made his way home via Odessa on the Black Sea coast.
Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Eric’s experiences.
Read Eric Bardsley’s Story
Kalamata City Council will be marking the 80th Anniversary with two events this week.
The first event will be held today, Thursday 13th May with a commemorative evening including speeches and a lecture on “Historical Elements of the Battle of Kalamata” by Dr Marios Athanasopoulos of the Philology Department, University of the Peloponnese. David Sanderson, Chairman of the Brotherhood and Janet Parkin, Secretary, have been invited to participate by zoom and make short speeches. The Defence Attaché, Captain Alex Bush RN will be represented by Sqn Ldr Marcus Fountain. The event will be available to view live on YouTube and on Facebook 6.00pm UK time.
Here are the links:
The second event will take place tomorrow, Friday 14th May with a wreath laying ceremony and speeches at the memorial in Kalamata. A speech prepared by Janet Parkin will given by Jane Thomas and a poppy wreath laid on behalf of The Brotherhood by Di Billinge. Sq Ldr Marcus Fountain will lay a wreath on behalf of The Government of the United Kingdom.
We are pleased to feature Jack Ansell’s story this week. Jack was a keen member of The Brotherhood and author of the book ‘Khaki and Cowdung’. Jack appeared in a recent BBC VE Day programme where he talked about his time as a PoW including the book of poems he put together on behalf of his fellow PoWs, having found a typewriter discarded by the Germans when they left the camp on 8th May 1945. “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”.
Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Jack’s experiences. You will find the book of poems within his PostScript. We also include a link to the article we published last year.
Read Jack Ansell’s Story
Jack Wentworth Ansell featured in BBC VE Day programme
We are pleased to feature Joe Burke’s story this week. Joe was a very enthusiastic and committed member of The Brotherhood and a real character. In addition to the story of his many escapades during the war, we also include a ‘PostScript’ with photographs taken at the 70th Anniversary Ceremony in Kalamata in 2011. Last, but not least, there is a very moving eulogy which was given at his funeral in 2018.
Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Joe’s experiences.
Read Joe Burke’s Story
We are pleased to feature Jock Watt’s story this week. Jock, together with Frank Gill, was a founder member and standard bearer for The Brotherhood of Greek Veterans for many years. Jock had many adventures which are documented in his book ‘A Tankie’s Travels’. His experience in Greece included escaping to Crete from Tolos, having first ‘acquired’ a caique.
This is an extract from the tribute given by Brian Rogers, Secretary of the Nottingham Branch of the RTR Association at Jock’s funeral in January 2018: ” Jock served in France, Greece, and Crete & North Africa between 1937 – 1946 finishing as a Lieutenant, with the Military Medal and Mentioned in Despatches and was presented to our Colonel in Chief, Her Majesty the Queen more than once, a great honour for a great soldier.”
Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Jock’s experiences. We also include a link to the Tribute to Jock posted on this website.
Read ‘Jock’ Robert Watt’s Story
Tribute to Jock Watt
The Brotherhood of Veterans of the 1941 Greek Campaign is greatly saddened by the death of HRH Prince Philip who passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle on Friday 9 April 2021, aged 99. Our thoughts and prayers are with Queen Elizabeth II, his wife of 73 years, and the Royal family, who have lost a much beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Prince Philip was the longest serving royal consort in British history. He has been a constant not only in the Queen’s life, but also in all our lives.
As a wonderful example of duty first, we echo the words of the Royal British Legion: “We are immensely thankful for his lifetime of faithful service and we mourn his passing deeply.”
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 are pleased to feature Frank Gill’s story this week. Frank was President of The Brotherhood of Greek Veterans for many years, until he sadly passed away last November, aged 101. As a veteran Frank survived the Hellas, was a prisoner of war, a founder member of The Brotherhood and author of the book ‘A Letter to my Daughter’.
Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Frank’s experiences. We also include a link to the Tribute posted on this website, not long after Frank passed away.
Read Frank Gill’s story
Tribute to Frank Gill, our President for many years