Documentary on the late Battle of Crete veteran Alf Carpenter to screen in Sydney


The Cretan Association of Sydney & NSW, in conjunction with This Story Australia, will be screening the documentary Second Generation ANZAC – The Story of Alf Carpenter at Palace Norton Street Cinemas in Leichhardt, Sydney on Monday, May 15 from 6.30pm.

The documentary, by Brisbane filmmaker Jeff Hughes, is a tribute to the late Alf Carpenter, who fought in the Battle of Crete and passed away last year at the age of 105. He was one of the last surviving ANZAC veterans of The Battle of Crete.

Alf served in Northern Africa including Tobruk, Bardia and Benghazi before he was sent to Greece. He then defended Heraklion in Crete before being injured and sent back to Australia. Not content to exit the service, he then went to Papua New Guinea, Bougainville and finished his career defending Darwin – all before his 30th birthday.

Mr Hughes first learned of Alf’s incredible life story after talking to his friend and author Deborah Wheeler, who asked Alf to write the foreword for her book Silk Clouds and Olive Trees – Tales from the Battle of Crete.

Deborah is a historian who enjoys researching Australia’s military history and thought that Alf’s personal stories needed to be preserved in documentary form.

A shot of the late Alf Carpenter from the documentary. Photo provided.

This Story Australia received a grant from the Southern Downs Council which meant they could then interview Alf and produce the video.

During the interview, Alf spoke about growing up in his hometown of Wagga Wagga, how he worked in a local department store, his time in the fire brigade, his role in the local Lifesaving Club, and the 40 years he spent as a member of the Merewether Mackerels Swimming Club. Alf mentioned in his interview that he even founded the very first Life Saving Club in Gaza.

Throughout the documentary, snippets of Alf’s diary are also displayed on screen, with the words narrated by Rupert McCall OAM.

Alf Carpenter as a young soldier.

“During the documentary, Alf continually spoke fondly about the Greek people and their hospitality and how they took care of Aussie soldiers,” Mr Hughes said.

“For this veteran, who was 104 at the time, to share his story with the world, and particularly the people of Greece, that emotional connection is huge.”

Since Alf’s passing, the documentary has also won ‘Best Short Documentary’ at the Mykonos International Film Festival.

Second Generation: The Story of Alf Carpenter will screen as a part of the Battle of Crete Commemorations in Sydney at the Palace Cinemas, 99 Norton Street, Leichhardt on Monday, May 15 from 6.30pm. Both Deborah Wheeler and Jeff Hughes will be in attendance and copies of Silk Clouds and Olive Trees will be on sale. The Greek Herald is a proud media partner for this event.

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