ANZAC Day in Greece
This year's ANZAC Day commemorations in Greece saw dignitaries attend the official service at the Phaleron Commonwealth War Cemetery in Athens
This year's ANZAC Day commemorations in Greece saw dignitaries attend the official service at the Phaleron Commonwealth War Cemetery in Athens. Two days earlier, a service was also held at the Commonwealth War Cemetery on Lemnos Island - the embarkation point for the Gallipoli landings in April 1915.
Representatives who laid wreaths included Jenny Bloomfield, Australia's Ambassador to Greece, Ms Bloomfield was joined by a delegation from the Victorian Parliamentary Friends of Greece group comprising John Pandazopoulos MP, Lee Taramlis MP, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship - Nicholas Kotsiras, and former Veterans' Affairs Minister Alan Griffin.
Also in attendance were representatives from the Greek government and military, the New Zealand Consul to Greece and as always, many from the local Greek Australian community.
As Australian government representatives solemnly marked the 97th ANZAC Day commemorations in Greece, revelations surfaced of the Australian Prime Minister's grandfather serving for over a year on the Macedonian Front in WWI.
This week, The Australian newspaper reported that Julia Gillard's Welsh-born maternal grandfather - Alexander McKenzie who was born at the turn of the 20th century, lied about his age to enlist, claiming he was 19. Joining up in 1915, just before his 15th birthday, he fought with British forces in northern Greece.
The actions of the British forces at the time in Salonika were being carried out in support of the campaign in the Dardanelles. After joining the Royal Horse Artillery in 1915 and being sent to Greece in 1916, McKenzie was seriously wounded in the right leg a year later, but determinedly returned to service before the end of the war.
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