Monday, January 2, 2012

Greece and Crete: Australians in World War II

Published by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2011 the book deals with the brief stay of the AIF in both these countries, including the evacuations, in 1941. My father was not well enough to travel with the 2 / 4th Battalion when they were sent to Greece but he was on one of the ships that formed the convoy that evacuated the troops from Crete in May 1941. The story of the Australian involvement is largely told through first hand accounts of those who survived the experience. Photographs are from the collection of the Australian War Memorial. The book is also available online on the DVA website where individual chapters can be downloaded. The chapter 'Remember this is War' provides an account of the evacuation of Crete.

Many books have been written about the few months that comprised this short episode in World War II including Crete: the battle and the resistance by Antony Beevor. Maria Hill in her book Diggers and Greeks has written an account of the relationship forged between the Greeks and people of Crete towards Australians as a result of the attempt of the Anzacs to assist the peoples of these countries. White over green: the 2 / 4th Battalion and reference to the 4th Battalion also includes a section about the involvement of that battalion in Greece and Crete.

2011 was the seventieth anniversary of the campaign in Greece and Crete. The Shrine of Remembrance had an exhibition to commemorate the event - Greece,Crete and Syria: the AIF in the Eastern Mediterranean 1941.

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