Commemorative memorabilia released marking 80th anniversary of the Battle of Crete

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On Friday 11th November 2022 during Australia’s Remembrance Day, the Australia Post in conjunction with the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand will release a limited edition Commemorative Medal & Commemorative Envelope marking the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete in 1941.

This medal and this envelope on the eve of Australia’s Remembrance Day is launched as a reminder for what the ANZACS did on Cretan soil over 80 years ago. This medal is a fitting tribute to the memory of the hundreds of ANZACS that made the sacrifice and eventually paid the ultimate price and never returned home.

The envelope on the other hand will continue to serve the future generations of Australian Youth as a reminder of the strong bonds that exist amongst the Greek and Australian people for years to come.

Front of envelope. Photo supplied.
Insert Front. Photo supplied.

The Medal is made of Zync Alloy and finished in Silver with a gross weight of 70 grams, a thickness of 4.2mm and a maximum size of 60mm in diameter.

During World War II, from 20 May 1941, Australian, New Zealand and British troops, along with a Greek garrison, were involved in ten days of fighting against Axis forces on the Greek island of Crete, a strategically important location given its proximity to the Middle East.

Cretan villagers and allied forces fought valiantly to contain German units on the ground but were outnumbered and overrun. The Germans had significant support from the air and from Italian submarines. Allied forces were weary from previous battles in Greece, and their supplies on the island were minimal, as was naval and air support.

The intense fighting exacted a heavy toll: more than 3,500 allied personnel were killed (274 Australians) and more than 12,000 were captured. Crete remained occupied until the end of the war. The people of Crete provided food and shelter to allied personnel and hid many from enemy forces.

The Australia Post, Manager of Philatelic, Mrs. Cheryl Roy paid tribute to her late father Mr. Frank Colledge Roy who served on Crete and could only praise the respect and the warmth he received from the people on Crete, especially after what they endured in 1941. She felt it was small but very important way of keeping their memory alive. She continued to praise the work that the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand, does on a National level promoting the Battle of Crete eighty years on. Cheryl also mentioned that a total of 2000 pieces will go on sale from Friday 11th November across most Australia Post stores in Australia.

Front of Medal. Photo supplied.

The President of the Cretan Federation of Australia & New Zealand Mr. Tony Tsourdalakis sincerely thanked Australia Post and the Philatelic Department for all the work they did to produce the medal. It was an initiative that commenced in 2020 but unfortunately wasn’t completed due to Covid 19 until 2022. He praised the commitment of Mrs. Cheryl Roy and her team to complete this project in memory of her Father and all his mates that served in Crete and Greece. He was excited that over 2000 pieces will be distributed across the nation giving Australians the chance to purchase one as a collectable. The Medal and the Envelope follows the release of the Commemorative Anzac Biscuit Tins in 2021 by the Victorian Returned Service League and the Major League Brands.

The Chairman of the Battle of Crete & Greece Commemorative Council of Victoria Mr. Jim Papadimitriou also expressed his excitement at the presentation of the Medal and the Envelope saying that these collectors’ items come at the right time, as we commemorate Remembrance Day, putting a perfect closure to all the events that were hosted during 2021 and 2022 to mark the important Anniversary of the 80 years since the Battle of Crete.

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