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Canberra’s Greek community commemorates Battle of Crete 80th Anniversary

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Canberra’s Greek community gathered at the Australian Hellenic Memorial on Thursday to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete.

Organised by the Cretan Association of Canberra and Districts Incorporated, the event paid tribute to the Greek, Australian, British and New Zealand troops who desperately tried defending Greece against a huge German airborne assault.

The commemoration ceremony took place in the presence of Government Representatives and Australian Defence Force veterans, the most notable of these being 101 year old ANZAC Les Cook, who was a veteran of the Battle of Crete with the 6th Division.

George A Katheklakis, President of the Cretan Association of Canberra & Districts Incorporated, said they’re honoured by the sacrifices made by the allied forces during WWII, “forming unbreakable bonds of friendship between Australian & New Zealand and Greece.”

“However the most important history makers are our parents, grandparents and ancestors who came to Australia most with nothing, and began building a better life and an inclusive community for today’s Greek-Australian generations,” Katheklakis said.

“We have never felt prouder than now to be Greek, to be Cretan, to be Australian with a rich and diverse history grounded in our Orthodox religion, our language and culture.

“The Canberra Committee remembers these sacrifices which highlights Greek tenacity to be free.”

The President added that the commemorations this year coincide with Greek Revolution’s bicentennial anniversary, saying people should reflect this year on the many human and emotional sacrifices made by forefathers such as Kolokotronis, Bouboulina, the Arkardi Martyrs.

The following people laid wreaths yesterday to honour the fallen soldiers.

1His E. Mr Georgios Papakostas – Ambassador of Greece to Australia
2.Her E. Mrs. Martha Mavrommati, High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus to Australia
3.Archimandritis Prochoros Anastasiadis – The Archepiscopal Vicar of CanberraRepresenting His Eminence, Archbishop Makarios
4.Her E. The Hon Dame Annette King – High Commissioner of New Zealand to Australia
5.Wing Commander Martin Rendell – Air Adviser, representing the British High Commission
6.Mr David Smith – Federal Member for Bean, representing the Leader of the Opposition
7.Mr Les Cook – Veteran of the Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign
8.Major General Andrew Hocking, CSC – Representing the Chief of the Australian Defence Force and the Chief of the Army
9.Commodore Raymond Leggatt, AM, CSC, RAN – Representing the Chief of the Navy                                                                                 
10.Mr Ian McConville – Chief of Protocol, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
11.Major General (Retired) Brian DawsonAssistant Director, Australian War Memorial
12.Mr John King – President of the ACT Branch of the RSL – Jointly with:Mr Paul Taylor – Representing The Hellenic Sub-Branch of the RSL
13.Dr Kathryn Spurling – President of War Widows ACT
14.Mr David Manolas – National President of the Naval Association of Australia
15.Mr John Loukadellis – President of the Greek Orthodox Community of Canberra and Districts
16.Mrs Georgia Alexandrou – President of the Cyprus Community of Canberra and SEKA ACT
17.Mr Paul Levantis – President of AHEPA ACT
18.Mr Tony Tsourdalakis – President of the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand
19.Mr George Katheklakis – President of the Cretan Association of Canberra & Districts
20.Mr Steph Paskalidis – President of the Hellenic Club of Canberra           

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