The Battle of Crete & Greece Commemorative Council of Victoria, on behalf of the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne and Pancretan Association of Melbourne, held a Church Service at St Eustathios Greek Orthodox Church in South Melbourne followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Crete.
The honorary guests for this year’s commemorative events were Archbishop of Australia Makarios, General Consul of Greece in Melbourne Emmanuel Kakavelakis and Vanessa O’Neill Consul General for New Zealand in Melbourne. Military, local and political officials were also in attendance.
Through the horror of war the Australians and Greeks formed a special bond of friendship and respect that did not cease with the death of the veterans but continues to this day. Today “we recognise our shared humanity and live our lives with grace” – Lieutenant Colonel Gary Vale
The Crete campaign, code named ‘Operation Mercury’ or ‘Merkur’ by the Germans, was ferocious and lasted ten days, from 20th to 30th May 1941. It resulted in the capture of 3,102 Australian troops, the deaths of more than 6,000 civilians and Allied casualties totaling 15,335. 80 years on second, third and fourth generation Greek-Australians continue honour the memory of all the soldiers and civilians who sacrificed their lives during the epic battle.
“Lest We Forget”