The 75th anniversary of the Battle of Crete will be marked in 2016 in Victoria by a series of events planned by the Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council.
The Council was formed recently in Melbourne and is an initiative of the indefatigable leadership of the Pancretan Association of Melbourne and the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne, under the guidance of the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand.
Its purpose is to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Crete in Australia in such a way that will preserve and promote the shared history and the links between Australia, New Zealand and Greece, raise awareness of the importance of the Battle of Crete and to remember and honour the fallen and the remaining veterans.
The council has the support of a cross-section of the Greek Australian Communities, the Greek authorities in Australia, veterans’ associations, prominent politicians, researchers and authors and veterans’ descendants.
Some of the events planned include a photographic exhibition, a schools’ competition, lectures and seminars on the Greek involvement in World War II, the Greek campaign and the Battle of Crete, parades, olive tree plantations, plaque and memorial unveilings, commemorative services, wreath-laying ceremonies and book launches.
The Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council welcomes the community’s involvement in the commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Crete and beyond, and would like to hear from any interested parties, especially veterans’ descendants, youth organisations and readers in history with a special interest in military history, Cretan Greek history and WWII history.
The composition of the council is as follows:
Larry Irwin (chairman); Tony Tsourdalakis (secretary); Ms Christina Simantiraki, Consul General of Greece in Melbourne; Mr Stephen Blair, Consul General of New Zealand in Melbourne; Mr Michael Houdalakis, president of the Cretan Federation of Australia & NZ; Mr John Nikolakakis, president of the Pancretan Association of Melbourne; Mr Jim Papadimitriou, president of the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne; Lt. Colonel David Blackwell, vice president of the Victorian Returned Services League; Mr Chris Widenbar, from the Shrine of Remembrance; Mr Mark Dalton, Department of Veteran Affairs; Mrs Mel Johnson, secretary from the 2nd/2nd Field Regiment; Mr Peter Cooksley 2nd/1st Machine Gun Battalion; Mr Peter Ford, president of the New Zealand-Crete Association; Mr Steve Kyritsis, president of the Hellenic RSL Sub branch; Mr Leonidas Vlahakis, board member of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne; Mr Peter Andrinopoulos, secretary of the Australian Hellenic Memorial Foundation; Mr Ange Kenos, president of the Essendon RSL Sub branch; Mr John Pandazopoulos, former minister of multicultural affairs and former president of the World Hellenic Inter-parliamentary Union; Mr Lee Tarlamis, former member of parliament and president of the Lemnos Gallipoli Committee; Mr Jim Claven, author and historian; Dr Peter Ewer, author and historian; Mrs Dina Gerolymou, author and journalist; Mr Paul Sougleris, representing the Peloponnese Federation of Victoria.