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A GREAT RISK IN A GOOD CAUSE : Australians in Greece and Crete. April – May 1941. | AUTHOR : Department of Veteran Affairs

Military strategy during wartime always involves an element of risk. One great risk was the committing of Australian troops to Greece in 1941. In hindsight  was this the right decision ? The allied leaders of the day had no such doubts for they saw the need to strategically  support Greece, “ the cradle of civilisation”, against overwhelming odds. British, New Zealand and Australian troops joined the Greek armed forces  and  people  in the  desperate fighting and withdrawal from mainland Greece and the battles on the “ island of the doomed “ , Crete. The human costs to the Allies were terrible. Australia alone lost 594 men and more than 5000 taken prisoner of war during the Battles of Greece  and Crete in April – May 1941.  However, against this backdrop the endurance and the bravery of Australian soldiers  and nurses, and the sailors who risked their lives  to evacuate  them, together  with the handful of  pilots  who flew with the RAF over Greece, remained  evident as they fought on behalf  of  “ a good cause “. This book brings new light to events that took place 60 years ago but are not dimmed for the people in whose country the battles were fought. The Greek and  Cretan people remember  with fondness those  Australians who came to their aid in 1941. While the narrative and the images of the book set out the historical context, it is  the anecdotes and excerpts  from  diaries  and  letters  that  add  a  personal  dimension  and  provide  important insights.

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