A poignant ceremony marked the 20th Anniversary of the Prisoners of War Memorial in Ballarat on Sunday, February 11.

Over 30,000 Australians endured captivity as prisoners of war throughout various conflicts from the Boer War of 1901 to World War II.

Among the grim statistics are the accounts of Australians captured by German and Italian forces across Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East, and those taken prisoner by Japanese forces in the Pacific theatre. The Memorial also pays tribute to the 27 Greek Australians who were captured in World War II, and nine of them tragically losing their lives as prisoners .

The commemoration at the Memorial is a moving reminder of the sacrifices made by those who endured captivity, ensuring that their legacy of bravery and resilience is never forgotten.

The Memorial, dedicated to those who suffered as prisoners of war, hosted a series of speeches, notably by Governor General David Hurley AC, DSC, and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Albanese’s attendance marked a historic moment as the first sitting prime minister to visit the Memorial.

Prisoners of War Memorial in Ballarat. Photo: Supplied

Fifty members of the Hellenic Returned and Services League (RSL) gathered to pay tribute to Australian servicemen and women who endured captivity during times of conflict.

Steve Kyritsis, OAM, past president of the Hellenic RSL of Melbourne, told Neos Kosmos that the RSL “stands proud as a returned servicemen organisation, always ready to honour events that reflect on veterans’ history”.

Following the solemn service, attendees enjoyed a picnic lunch amidst the surroundings of Ballarat Park.

The POW Memorial was inaugurated in Ballarat on February 6, 2004, by the then Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, a retired senior Army officer. The Memorial is a testament to Australian soldiers’ sacrifices during the conflict. It is a poignant reminder of the over 35,000 Australians who endured captivity as prisoners of war throughout various disputes.

Personnel oF “C” Company, 2/29th Australian Infantry Battalion, Ex-prisoners of war of the Japanese in their hut at the rear of Changi Gaol. Photo: Supplied by Australian War Memorial


ALEXANDRATOS, Diomedes from Victoria, age 20. (RAF) Germany. 419417

BLACK (MAVROKEFALOS), John, Arthur, from Victoria, age 26. (RAF) Germany. 425420

BYLOS, VINCENT, from NSW (+) age 22. (ARMY) Singapore. NX51762

CAIMANOS, JOHN, from NSW age 38. (ARMY) Thailand.WX9261

COLEVAS, GEORGE, from NSW age 19. (ARMY) Thailand-Singapore-Japan. WX10609

COMINO, JACK, PETER, (+) from NSW age 23. (ARMY) Thailand. QX829

DALAS, HERBERT, FREDERICK, (+) from NSW age 30. (ARMY) Singapore. NX35842

DEMUS, HENRY, JOSEPH (+) from NSW age 21. (ARMY) Sandakan-Borneo. NX48079

DIMOPOULOS, PETER, JOHN, from NSW age 21. (ARMY) Singapore.WX13869

DOULIS, MICHAEL, from W.A age 32. (ARMY) Singapore. WX3221

FREELEAGUS, CHARLES, GEORGE, from QLD age 22 (ARMY) Burma-Thailand.QX14680

GEORGE (PAPAGEORGIOU) CONSTANTINOS, from Victoria age 21. (RAF) France. 418384

KARIKIOS, DIMITRIOS, from NSW age 27. (ARMY) Changi-Thailand. NX10580

KARCOES, NORMAN, FRANCIS, from NSW age 21. (ARMY) Singapore. NX40344

KYRIAKOS (KYROS) JACK GEORGE, from NT age 20. (ARMY) Malaya-Singapore. WX10715

LIKIARD (LIKIARDOPOULOS) SOCRATES, (+) from QLD age 20, China Sea.22989

MANUSU, IVAN, NSW (+) from NSW age 30. (ARMY) Thailand. QX17188

MAVROTHALASITIS, GEORGE, (+) from W.A age 24. (ARMY) Singapore-China Sea. NX69998

MESOLOQETES JOHN, from NSW age 21. (ARMY) Malaya. NX59862

NICHOLAOU ANTONIS, from QLD (+) age 35. (ARMY)Singapore. QX21979

NICHOLAOU COSTAS, from NSW age 22. (ARMY) Singapore-Malaya. NX55551

OMIRIDIS, PETROS, VASILLIOU, from W.A age 20. (ARMY) Malaya-Thailand. WX12156

PANAOTIE, JOHN, from Victoria age 29. (ARMY) Borneo. VX39981

PANIOTI, NICHOLAS From Victoria age 21. (ARMY) Singapore. VX16898

PAPANGELOPOULOS, LEONIDAS, from NSW age 39. (ARMY) Singapore. NX51012

RAFT,(RAFTOPOULOS) STANLEY,(+) from NSW age23.(ARMY) Malaya, China Sea. NX53310

VAFIOPULOUS, GEORGE, EDWIN, from NSW age 23. (ARMY) Malaya-Changi.VX29392