Australian MP for Veterans’ Affairs marks 80 years since Allied campaigns in Greece and Crete

·

Today marks 80 years since German forces invaded Greece along the Greek-Bulgarian border on April 6, 1941. At the same time, German planes bombed Piraeus and the coasts up to Salamis Naval Base, causing human casualties and huge damage. One month later, the Greek island of Crete was also attacked.

To mark the occasion, Australian Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Darren Chester, has released a statement recognising the strong ties between the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) and Greece during WWII.

“In 1941, Australian and New Zealand troops, the ANZAC Corps, along with British armoured and artillery units, were sent to assist in the defence of Greece following the collapse of the main Greek defensive line,” Mr Chester said in his statement.

Today marks 80 years since German forces invaded Greece.

The Australian Minister then went on to give a short summary of events following the German invasion, saying the Allies were “inadequately prepared to resist the German attack” and by April 20, when it became clear that “all they could do was disrupt and slow the German advance,” the Greek Government “agreed for the force to be evacuated.”

“Over the following five nights, more than 50,000 troops were evacuated from Greece. They left behind some 320 Australians who were killed and some 2,065 who became prisoners of war,” Mr Chester continued.

Later in his statement, Mr Chester turns to the Battle of Crete and stressed the bravery of the Allied forces in their efforts towards securing the Greek island.

The German attack on Crete in May 1941. Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images.

“In May 1941, an airborne operation codenamed Merkur (Mercury) saw some 9,500 German paratroopers land on Crete. While initially suffering heavy losses, the Germans managed to gain control of one of the airfields allowing further German troops to be flown in,” Mr Chester said.

“Allied evacuations began shortly after, with around 16,500 troops successfully removed from the island. Sadly though, the British Commonwealth losses numbered more than 1,700 killed, over 2,220 wounded, and around 11,370 taken as prisoners of war.

“The service and sacrifice of these brave men will never be forgotten, and we also pay a special thank you to the locals who helped many of our troops survive.”

Advertisement

Share:

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH TGH

By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Advertisement

Latest News

Michael Christofas named finalist in prestigious Percival Photographic Portrait Prize

Michael Christofas has been named finalist in North Queensland's prestigious Percival Photographic Portrait Prize.

Federation of Greek Elderly Citizens Clubs of Victoria elect new executive

The Board of Directors of the Federation of Greek Elderly Citizen Clubs of Melbourne & Victoria voted on its new seven-member board.

SEKA Victoria objects to formation of Parliamentary Friends of Azerbaijan group

SEKA Victoria have today expressed concern that some MPs are considering the establishment of a Parliamentary Friends of Azerbaijan group.

Pan-Laconian Association of NSW “The Spartans” celebrate taverna night

The Pan-Laconian Association of NSW "The Spartans" celebrated a highly successful taverna night at Zarax House on June 15.

Sydney doctor Peter Alexakis wins appeal to keep patient’s $24 million estate

Dr Peter Alexakis was victorious in the NSW Court of Appeal which ruled he had not convinced a patient to leave him most of his $24m estate.

You May Also Like

Donald Trump found guilty in hush money criminal trial

Donald Trump has been found guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records. Read more about the story here.

Melbourne’s Greek community concerned about Greek program at Lalor primary school

On the grounds of Lalor North Primary School in Melbourne, students have been immersing themselves in the Greek language and culture for 43 years. It...

Exploratory talks between Greece and Turkey conclude amid renewed maritime dispute

The 63rd round of low-level exploratory talks that took place in Ankara concluded on Wednesday amid renewed maritime dispute.