Greek Australians Frank Manusu (below), Constantine Alexander, Thomas Haraknoss, Elias Lukas and George Challis served with the colonial forces in the South African Boer War.

 

 

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Australian volunteers served in the Royal Hellenic Forces in the Balkans Wars. At the outbreak of the Second Balkan War in 1913, John Thomas Woods of the St John Ambulance volunteered for service with the Red Cross, assisting the Greek Medical Corps at Thessaloniki, a service for which he was recognised with a Greek medal by King Constantine of Greece.

Approximately 90 Greek Australians served on Gallipoli and the Western Front. Some were born in Athens, Crete, Castellorizo, Kythera, Ithaca, Peloponnesus, Samos, and Cephalonia, Lefkada and Cyprus and others in Australia. They were joined by Greek Australian nurses, including Cleopatra Johnson (Ioanou), daughter of Antoni Ioanou, gold miner of Moonan Brook, NSW.

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4 March | The first Anzacs landed on Lemnos Island, in Moudros Harbour and were part of the largest armada ever assembled at that time. The island served as the main base of operations for the Gallipoli Campaign, including hospitals. In the waters around Lemnos and the island’s soil now rest over 220 Anzacs. The most famous Lemnian on Gallipoli was the donkey used by Simpson to rescue wounded Anzacs. Demetri Passa was also born on Lemnos and fought in France.

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MACEDONIAN FRONT 1916 - 1918

The main Australian involvement with the Macedonian Front (1916-1918) revolved around the doctors, nurses and support staff of the various hospitals around central Macedonia. Between August 1917 and February 1919, three Australian Army Nursing Service units were posted to Macedonia, each of 90 nurses and one matron. The Principal Matron was Jessie McHardie White, based in Thessaloniki. The matrons were Beryl A. Campbell, Christense Sorensen and Grace Wilson.

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27 February | Dr Mary Clementina De Garis becomes Chief Medical Officer of the Chief Medical Officer of the Scottish Womens’ Hospital, Lake Ostrovo, remaining until 30 September 1918. Born in Charlton, Victoria, she became only the second female doctor in the state’s history in 1907.

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4 April | The Second Contingent of Australian Army Nursing Service personnel, led by Matron Jessie Rose Gemmel, disembarked at Thessaloniki.

9th June, 1918 | Hector Vasyli, an eleven year old newspaper boy of Greek Cypriot descent was killed in a traffic accident during a welcome home parade in Brisbane. Vasyli did patriotic work for returned soldiers during the war, and gave gifts of cigarettes to them. He participated in many of the welcome home parades in the city.

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October | Major George Devine Treloar (Retired from the Coldstream Guards) commenced in Thessaloniki work as League of Nations Commissioner for Refugees. He was accompanied by his Constantinople-born British wife. Four of their five children are born in Thessaloniki by the family’s departure in 1926. During his tenure, an estimated 108,000 survivors of the Genocides of the indigenous Hellenic, Armenian and Assyrian peoples of Anatolia were rescued through his efforts.

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The locality of Lemnos, near Shepparton Victoria was established in 1927 as a soldier settlement zone after the First World War. It was named by Anzac Ernest Hill after the Greek island of Lemnos on which he landed and was the main base of operations for the Gallipoli Campaign. There are many other streets named after Lemnos throughout Australia and many Gallipoli Anzacs gave the name Lemnos to their children. Lemnos Kelly of Tibooburra is believed to be named in honour of his uncles that are buried there.

14 March | The Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park was completed by Sculpture Francois Sicard. The figures sculpted in bronze are from Ancient Greece and use mythical theme to express and honour the association forged in war of France and Australia. The work also looks forward to peace. Central to his design was Apollo giving life to all nature. Apollo was surrounded by three groups of figures, the first Diana bringing harmony to the world; the second, Pan watching over the fields and pastures; and the third, Theseus conquering the Minotaur of Crete , symbolic of sacrifice for the common good.

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24 November | The Anzac Memorial in Hyde park Sydney was unveiled and was built as a memorial to the Australian Imperial Force of World War I. Located at its heart is a bronze sculpture of the fallen warrior . The sculpture “ Sacrifice “ is based on the story of the Spartans from ancient Greece who were raised as warriors and were told to come home with their shield , or on it - a warning to be victorious or die. Rayner Hoff created an image that depicts the weight of the dead young warrior carried on his shield by his mother, sister and wife nursing infant child.

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The Greek RSL Sub Branch was formed in Castlereagh Street Sydney. It was officially chartered in 1950 and commemorates Greek and Australian servicemen and women and the battle in which they fought. The current president is Mr Bill Kotsovolos who was an Olympian representing Greece in the Melbourne Olympics of 1956.

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Corporal Angelo Barbouttis, whose parents were from Megisti (Castellorizo) island, stands out for his bravery during the Kokoda Campaign. He destroyed almost a whole boat load of invading Japanese, eventually being killed by a sniper who had swum to shore. He was buried at sea with little fanfare. A Street and some public buildings in Townsville have been named in his honour.

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The memorial at Xinon Neron near Florina, Macedonia was the first memorial erected in Greece to commemorate a World War Two battle. It was erected in 1945 by the Greek residents of the area, commemorating this important Anzac battle.

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Australia received hundreds of thousands of Greek migrants, another outcome of World War Two. It is estimated that Greece lost eleven percent of its population including eighty seven percent of its Jewish population during the Nazi occupation due to military activity, crimes against humanity and war-related famine and disease. Migration was necessary to avoid increasing poverty and unemployment.

Under the auspices of the United Nations’ Refugee Relief Agency, a 20-person Australian mission was organised and became active in relief work across western Macedonia, particularly the Kozane, Florina and Grevena districts. Their main role was to transport and return home thousands of predominantly young women whom the Nazis had abducted as slave labourers.

In response to the invasion of South Korea and the United Nations Resolution, 17,000 Australians served in the Korean War and they suffered 339 dead, and 1,200 wounded. Greece sent some 10,823 men to Korea and suffered 186 dead and 610 wounded. Anzac Captain Reginald Saunders having fought in Greece and Crete also fought in Korea.

The Australian Council of Social Service under the leadership of Aileen Fitzpatrick orchestrated the reunion of children separated from their parents as a result of the Nazi invasion and occupation of Greece, and the Civil War that followed.

A monument to British, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers who fell in Greece was indeed dedicated at The Field of Mars (Pedion Areos) in Athens by King Paul of the Hellenes. It was an initiative of the Greek-Australia League, formed in Athens on 10th July 1945, and funded by public subscription. On Anzac Day 1950, Consul-General Vrysakis presented the Prime Minister (Sir) Robert Menzies with a small-scale model of the projected monument, made of Pentelic marble – one of the materials used in the construction of the Acropolis .

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128 Australians of Greek heritage served with the Australian Defence Forces. One of those was Mr Steve Kyritsis who has written two books highlighting the contribution of Greek Australians that fought in WW1, WW2 and the Vietnam War.

St Ioannis Greek Orthodox War Memorial Church Parramatta NSW was erected to the eternal memory of Australian soldiers who died in Greece. The foundation stone was laid on the 25th December 1965 by His Eminence Archbishop Ezekiel Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand.

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The Joint Committee for the Commemoration of The Battle of Crete and The Greek Campaign was established by the Greek RSL Sub Brach, the 6th Division Association, the Military Police Association and the Cretan Association of NSW to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign, the Second Anzac Campaign.

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St Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in Kingsford NSW was erected as a war memorial and is dedicated to the Anzacs who died in Greece and to Australian and Greek soldiers who lost their lives in the two World Wars. The church is an officially registered war memorial. The old Colours of the University of New South Wales Regiment were laid-up in the church on Saturday, 3rd March, 2003. They were marched to the Church with the band leading from the University.

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The Australian Government presented the Stavromenos memorial with two anti-aircraft Bofors guns, the type used by Australian anti-aircraft gunners in May 1941.

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