97-year-old Greek WWII veteran, Iakovos Tsounis, passes away

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97-year-old Greek WWII veteran and shipowner, Iakovos Tsounis, passed away on Saturday.

The special and admirable Greek is a descendant of the heroes of the revolution of 1821. He himself fought at the age of 16 in the Greek-Italian War of 1940, thus being the youngest veteran of World War II.

The President of the Hellenic Republic issued a statement after the news of his passing.

”A national benefactor, a true patriot and philanthropist, Iakovos Tsounis, with his ethos and great contribution especially to the Armed Forces, leaves a great legacy in the country. His loss causes grief to all Greeks. We say goodbye to him with gratitude,” the Greek President stated.

The Greek veteran started as a customs broker in Piraeus. In 1966 he entered shipping as a shipowner, acquiring a total of 13 merchant ships and forming a large fortune. Tsounis also built a Museum, which is located next to his permanent residence on Kyprou Street, in Papagou.

Greek shipowner Iakovos Tsounis was presented with a ceremonial sword for his donation. Credit: Ministry of Defense

Tsounis received the Commemoration of the Star of Value and Honor in 2018 for his service and in April 2020, following the advice of Armed Forces and a proposal of the Minister of National Defense, Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, he was awarded the rank of reservist Major General.

In February 2021, Tsounis had donated 23 million euros and 60 landing craft to the Greek armed forces. Tsounis declared that he wanted to leave life as he began it — barefoot.

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