‘Our Last ANZACs’: New documentary on the last two surviving Battle of Crete veterans

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ANZAC Day is an opportunity to reflect on and acknowledge the sacrifices of those men and women who served or died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. 

Two of the men who deserve to be recognised are the last surviving veterans of the Battle of Crete during World War II. They are 105-year-old Arthur Leggett and 101-year-old Les Cook.

Luckily, This Story Australia has recognised the importance of these veterans and recently produced a new documentary titled ‘Our Last ANZACs,’ which shines a light on the lives of Arthur and Les. 

The documentary has been produced by Jeff Hughes, with Nick Andriotakis as Executive Producer. We spoke with Mr Hughes to find out more about his production.

Our Last ANZACS poster
Our Last ANZACS poster.

Tell us a little bit about your new documentary ‘Our Last ANZACs.’

“Our Last ANZACS” is a documentary that shares the personal recounts of the Battle of Crete by Australia’s last two surviving Battle of Crete WWII veterans – Arthur Leggett (105 years old) and Les Cook (101 years old).

It is tremendous that This Story Australia had the opportunity to interview both gentlemen in Perth and Canberra respectively in 2023, and the result is a compelling tale of a story that should never be forgotten.

How did the documentary come about?

This documentary was inspired by an original project created in 2021 called ‘Second Generation ANZAC: The Story of Alf Carpenter.’ The original work highlighted the personal story of Alf Carpenter, a Battle of Crete veteran and went on to win two International Film Awards, after premiering at The Greek Club, Brisbane and then Palace Cinemas Leichhardt in May 2023.  To preserve our last ANZAC’s (Arthur and Les’) stories developed into a huge priority in the last two years.

Arthur 1939
Arthur in 1939.

What was the process of researching, directing and producing like? 

Logistically the challenge was interviewing Les and Arthur in different parts of the country. This means different conditions for filming, different cameramen and gear and ultimately, filming on a defined date could be the one and only chance we had to preserve their stories. Also, despite Les and Arthur serving together in the same conflict, the men didn’t know each other and therefore had different experiences in WWII. Editing the stories together to create a strong narrative was a different challenge

How did you interview the ANZACs considering their age? What was it like sharing their stories?

Listening to Les and Arthur was a complete privilege. It is so clear that they are a part of the greatest generation – their politeness, their respect and honour to have served weighs heavy in the energy in the room. We allowed both to go wherever the story was going to take them. The result created more footage when it came to editing, but also it means they spoke honestly and truthfully from the heart.

Why do you think it’s important to document the stories of these ANZAC soldiers?

Arthur and Les are the last of a generation to comment on the unique bond between Australia and the people of Crete. They experienced this first hand in WWII and are national treasures. Every man or woman who has served Australia deserves to have their service documented and shared. They are the reasons why we are one of the best countries in the world.

Les Cook
Les Cook.


The documentary has already been successful, having won Best Documentary in the Athens Film & Arts Festival. How does that feel?

The fact that the film is being recognised globally is indicative of how the world feels about Australians. To share a uniquely Australian and Greek story with the world is one thing, but to gain recognition for this, is evidence that the world hungers to connect, learn and understand one another. The ANZAC spirit has a special place in our psyche, and ANZAC stories deserve to be shared with the world.

Is there anything else you wanted to say?

In regard to accessing the film, we are exploring options at the moment. If we get enough response from the public we will investigate some screenings soon. Later in the year it will be available on our website www.thisstory.com.au

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