The amazing story of a former Shoalhaven man's experiences in World War II during the campaign in Greece has come to light.
Well-known local historic author Robyn Florance, during her ongoing research efforts, has come across the story of then 24-year-old Private Ted Massingham.
His first person story of his experiences appeared in Smith's Weekly, an independent Sydney newspaper, published between 1919-1950.
Pt Massingham's story appeared on Saturday, July 19, 1941.
His enlistment papers say he was aged 23, was a timber cutter, single and living in Terara, via Nowra, at the time of enlisting for service in Wollongong.
His mother Elizabeth Massingham, of Lakemba, was originally listed as his next of kin, which was changed to his wife, after he married Beryl Victoria Benson, the eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs A Benson, of Exeter, at the Methodist Church in Lakemba on December 9, 1939.
Although the article says he was born in Exeter, according to the DVA Nominal Roll and Service Records Pt Massingham was born at Campsie.
Part of the 2/3rd Australian Infantry Battalion, records show he was wounded in action on January 23,1941 during the Battle of Bardia in Libya and served in a variety of areas across the Middle East, as well as Greece, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Port Moresby.
He returned to Australia and by January 1943 was posted in Cairns.
He died in a drowning accident on September 6, 1943 after he jumped from a train window while the train was moving across the Tully River Railway Bridge in Queensland, falling into the river and drowning.
On duty at the time, he was aged just 27.
He is buried in the Cairns War Cemetery.
Smith's Weekly's Intro
A first-hand story by a young Digger, one of hundreds and thousands who "went through with it" and lived to remember those evil days.
He is Ted Massingham, who was born 24 years ago in Exeter, NSW
When war broke out,Ted was a timber worker, living with his young wife in Lakemba.
He enlisted at Nowra and went away last year.
At the Battle of Bardia he fought and was wounded, but recovered fully in time to embark for Greece last March.
Here's Ted's story, in his own words...
"We left Alexandria at five o'clock in the afternoon of March 17, 1941, on a cruiser, arriving at Athens about 24 hours later, after nothing more exciting than a half-hearted attempt by the Italians, to bomb us from the air.
They dropped three bombs from a height of about 3000 feet which exploded well astern of our cruiser.
After disembarking, we marched through the town of Port Piraeus, and received a marvellous welcome from the Greek people, such as throwing flowers and giving us the "thumbs up."
We arrived at our camp about midnight. It was situated about 10 miles out of Athens.
Trees, after so much desert, dust storms, and scorching heat!
A few days later our stay around Athens came to an end.
When orders came to move, we had a good idea where to. Further north, and Fritz was heading south. We put the two together and it spelt "action."
The boys were joking in a strained sort of manner; one wag made the remark that, "Here we are laughing, and yet we can't afford to!"
The road was rough and the transport could not take us to our positions.
We had a mountain to climb, and the road over was slippery owing to recent rains.
Quite a number of Greek trucks had come to grief and had slipped over the side.
By the time we had finished our hazardous climb, we were 7000 feet above sea level.
Snow, sleet, and rain all at once. The cold was bitter, especially after the hot Egyptian desert.
Snow, sleet, and rain all at once. The cold was bitter, especially after the hot Egyptian desert.
For three days we shivered on that mountain peak, always expecting the Hun to turn up at any time.
Fritz was expected to try to get through that pass, and our job was to halt him till our stronger defences further back were complete.
But he came through another pass on our left a few miles, and we were forced to get out or be cut off.
We climbed over the first mountain and down the other side.
It was steep and slippery. At the foot of it we could see the Servia River and the huge flats.
We had to cross that river, but just before we reached its banks we saw for the first time a large flying circus of Hun planes.
We took cover and watched them bomb the defenceless village of Servia.
After the "all's clear" signal, we proceeded to the river and were drafted into groups of 25.
The march went on day after day, over tracks that mountain goats had pioneered. Even our mules had a hard job to keep their feet. To make It worse, we had to travel most of the way by night, and rest by day.
At the foot of the range where we were climbing was the Servia River and its large valley.
At last, we caught our transport. What a welcome sight. The trucks were crowded, but we didn't mind that, it was a ride.
At daybreak we found ourselves back in Larissa. From there we were taken about 10 miles west to take up a position where Fritz was due in that day or the next. Luckily it was the next.
I won't try to put the battle on paper, it's a hard thing to do as far as I am concerned.
We finally withdrew from our positions according to plan, and were loaded into trucks that had been 'concealed in the village nearby.
The orders given to the drivers were to go to the strongest defence line. We had to pass through Larissa to reach our destination, but we had only gone a few miles when a dispatch rider rode along the convoy with the very unpleasant news, "The Huns are in Larissa."
Things were getting serious, we were surrounded by Huns.
The dispatch rider gave us instructions to backpedal for about half a mile, take the turn to the left. We took that turn and followed it so far, but it was taking us north and we wanted to go south.
By now we were lost from the main convoy - seven trucks of us left, but we had to go south, everyone knew that, so we turned round and retraced our tracks, till we found a branch road to the right.
Where it would take us nobody knew,but we had to get somewhere.
We had no road map and we just had to trust to luck; and luck was with us. We came to a hard road running north and south and we could see gun flashes to the north, so we reckoned it may get us somewhere.
Fifty-six strong we were, New Zealanders, Victorians, and New South Welshmen. We walked on, and came to a small river of fresh water, so we followed this down to the coast, arriving there about midday.
We then had a snack and two or three hours' sleep. At 3 o'clock a New Zealand officer (we had two, a captain and a lieutenant) woke us.
We discovered a well-used track and followed it for the rest of the day, till we arrived in a small village buried deep in a gully.
That night-march was hard, we were dead tired and foot sore, but we had to keep on. No track to follow, slipping and sliding over loose rocks, stumbling into thorn bushes, and climbing uphill through undergrowth. It was so dark that each man had to hang on to the man in front or get lost.
They told us that it was 12 hours' walk to Volos, a town where English troops were in possession.
So we hired a guide to put us on the right track.
We left the village about nine o'clock that night, and we had been walking for an hour, up a steep winding; track, when someone from the village hailed our guide.
We had to wait, there was news coming up.
The news was not so cheerful - "the Huns were approaching Volos and we had no chance of Getting there first."
Fifty-six men sat silent. The whole world seemed against us.
But listen - the guide was talking. He would take us to a fishing village, where he knew a chap who owned a motorboat. A large one, built for heavy work.
Was it big enough to hold us all? Yes, he thought so.
If not another boat could be towed behind. That sounded good to me. So the guide started for the boat, and every man followed.
That night-march was hard, we were dead tired and foot sore, but we had to keep on.
No track to follow, slipping and sliding over loose rocks, stumbling into thorn bushes, and climbing uphill through undergrowth. It was so dark that each man had to hang on to the man in front or get lost.
Dawn came, we were once more overlooking the sea; a mile inland was the village.
The guide and the sergeant were to go to the village and do the catering for food and bargain for the boat.
The hat was passed around and £19 was the result. Quite enough for the boat and food.
The rest of us walked down to the beach to conceal ourselves from the village, and also from the air.
It was agreed that we sleep all day, and sneak out at night, because of the danger of possible machine-gunning from enemy aircraft.
We had breakfast by the creek, that is, what we called breakfast, then bathed our sore and blistered feet in the cool stream.
We then settled down to a much-needed sleep.
Some decided to bunk in the sheds on the beach. I and a few others stayed under the trees a hundred yards inland.
I awoke with a start and an uneasy feeling that all was not well, but dismissed it immediately. I strolled down to have a look at the boat and to see where my mates were.
No boat there! I was puzzled; the uneasy feeling came back. Had the Greek gone away; had he refused to take us?
I looked for my cobbers to tell them about it. Again I was puzzled. I could not find a man anywhere.
I looked in the sheds.They had slept there all right, plenty of evidence to that, a pair of "discarded dirty socks,empty cigarette packets, various other small things.
Where had they gone? Had they forgotten me - I couldn't make it out. I went back to where I left my blanket, and to my relief I saw another chap sitting up in the sheds.
I wasn't alone after all. I went over to him and found there were two more with him. We were alone, four of us. What could we do now?
I went around all the sheds looking for something - what, I didn't know. A rowing boat, I found in one. That would do us; I searched for oars, but there were none to be found, only two long sticks on the floor.
If I could find some boards. I did, so we could make a pair of paddles. I called the others. They fell to work Immediately.
I went on searching. Water jars, eggs. I was sorry that I had to do this, but it was necessary. I broke into the fisherman's house, took five loaves of black bread, more eggs, and took them all back to the boat, which was nearly ready for the journey.
All this time I was trying to find an explanation as to how we were left.
I couldn't think of any, but there must be one. Some day, I'll know.
I hadn't rowed a boat in my life before. I think Lofty was the only one who had, so we made pretty hard work or it.
We travelled from about three o'clock in the afternoon till nearly dark (8.30pm). We then had a bite to eat, black bread and water. But in spite of the hours we had rowed, we could still see the boat sheds where we started. Gosh!
Lofty set to work making a sail out of odd bits of timber and a blanket, so all we wanted now was a breeze. We never got that till about three o'clock In the morning.
We had to row all night, but the breeze allowed three men to get a sleep, while I stayed at the rudder till I couldn't stay awake any longer.
I had to wake my relief man. He woke us early that morning to say we were in sight of a small fishing village. The wind had dropped, and we had to row ashore.
As we beached our boat, a crowd of youngsters came running to meet us, but on seeing our uniforms turned and ran back.
I called them to stop. They did so, and came back slowly and asked, "Germano?"
I told them we were Australians, not Germans, so they immediately set to work, pulled the boat further up on the beach, and filled our water vessels.
A young fellow, aged about 18, could speak a little English. We learned from him that the Huns were in Volos. We made our way to the village cafe, and had our breakfast of fish and Greek cheese with black bread.
While our meal was in progress, we asked our interpreter where it was best, for us to go, and how to get there.
He told us that an English battleship was known to be in a place called "Scathers," or some name like that.
So that was where we wanted to go. We made a bargain with the lad to take us there, and in return for his aid he was to have the boat that we had "bought."
In the end he and his father agreed to take us. We slept most of the way, waking only at the drone of the aircraft.
Towards late afternoon we awoke at the sound of our "crew" conversing with someone on shore. We waited impatiently for them to finish talking.
Another false start. The English battleship had left the day before, but if we rowed for one and a-half hours we would come to another village where we could get a motorboat to take us to Lamia, which was about five hours journey for a motorboat.
As far as we knew our own troops were at Lamia. We arrived at the village just at dusk, and a crowd awaited us on the beach.
We were lucky again, we found in the crowd one who could speak as good English as we ourselves.
He told us not to go to Lamia, it was too dangerous, we were liable to be caught if we went there and he advised us to leave the mainland and go to an island where we could get a bus to Athens via a bridge.
He sent two Greek soldiers with us as guides, as they were going to Athens also. One of them could speak a little English, claimed to have been to Sydney.
On arriving on the island we bid our crew farewell, then settled down to sleep on the beach. At dawn the Greek soldiers woke us, and we started out once more on Shanks' pony.
Two hours' walk to the next village, according to "George," the Sydney Greek, but I am wide awake to these two-hour walks.
The bloke who measured these distances must we managed to reach this one in the two hours, getting there at about eight o'clock that morning.
We had no idea what day or date it was; we'd lost all track of time.
The next minute the machine gun post opened up from the top deck as a Hun dive bomber came screaming down at us and a deafening explosion as the bomb hit the water.
We received the news (with a pinch of salt) that English trucks were in the next village, and if we missed them, we could telephone from there for military trucks.
We had travelled three-and-a-half hours before we arrived there; the walking was tough, every bit as rough as we had already passed over.
Still no trucks and no telephone. George explained that "telephone next village, and maybe English trucks there, too."
The next two hours' walk to the next village lasted five hours, getting us there about five o'clock.
This was rather a large town, and looked more hopeful than any we had yet seen. Walking down the street we were hailed by someone who could speak very good English, and seemed to know who we were.
"Hi, Diggers, what can I do for you guys?"
We fell on him like a long lost brother. We asked all about the evasive English trucks. Yes, there were English trucks there till the night before, and they were expected back again that night.
They were Tommies working on the telephone lines doing repair work. We were getting somewhere at last.
We then told him our tale of woe from start to finish.
He got the postman to work trying to raise the Tommy's linesmen. Then he took us to the cafe. He must have known how we felt. Eggs and chips, black bread, and then a large plate of ham; none was wasted.
Then someone came in with the news that two more Diggers had arrived. I raced outside to see who they were. Frank and Bill, two of my own mates from the same unit as I. We lost no time showing them where the tea shop was. Frank had a few quid in his pocket, so he was ok.
Our friend took them along and got them fed, and also a haircut and shave.
The postman was having no luck with the linesmen must have left, so our friend went out in his car to try to contact them, but he had left instructions for our rooms at the local hotel.
We slept our first comfortable sleep for months; spring mattresses and white sheets. We didn't know ourselves. Early next morning our friend came and woke us for breakfast.
He was sorry, he said, to wake us so early but a friend of his with a car was going to a village about 25 miles south, and it was on our track, so if we hurried we could get a lift.
We arrived at our terminus in double quick time.
The streets were crowded for some reason or other. We learned that 40 Greek Red Cross girls from Salonika were there, and they were having trouble getting transport for them, so there wasn't much hope for us.
We had a snack in the village cafe while we sat there discussing our next step.
In the meantime, a bus had arrived for the about 25 and their luggage, and leaving about 10 girls and five youths to walk.
I put an argument to the other five chaps: we could start walking, and if we met the transport coming back we could pull it up, let them know who we were and pick it up on its way back.
We all started off and had gone about a quarter of a mile when three of them said that the pace was too hot for them, and decided to take their time.
Frank and I and a third man kept going. The kilo pegs on the road told us how far we'd gone and how much further we had to go; we travelled five miles in about an hour, then we sat down for 10 minutes' spell.
We had already passed the Greek Red Cross girls and the youths, we had just reached the top of the mountain when the bus returned for the remainder of the Red Cross party.
The driver left the vehicle there, as it was impossible to turn around further down.
He told Frank and me by signs and much talking to wait near the bus and he would give us a ride as far as he was going, so we made ourselves comfortable and waited for an hour or more for the rest to arrive.
Our four comrades were there also, with the party of Red Cross people.
The bus didn't go as far as the bridge that joined the island to the mainland, but stopped in a fairly large township about three miles north-east.
We tried to get a taxi here, but some told us that no taxis were available. We then asked for a telephone.
One said yes, there was a telephone, more chimed in and said that there was no telephone. There was, they said, but it was out of order.
The crowd around us was tremendous, so we decided to get out quick and lively.
We had gone about a mile when a Greek Army truck came along and gave us a ride to the bridge.
We stopped alongside a crowd of New Zealanders and cases of canned beer; we didn't take much notice of the New Zealanders for a while.
Frank and I then went looking for an office to inquire where and if there were any Australians about. We found a New Zealand captain. The Australians were about three miles further on the day before, but he doubted if they were still there.
If they were not he told us that a crowd of New Zealanders was somewhere around the same vicinity and to stop with them.
We returned and told the other four what we knew and voiced our intentions of finding them as soon as possible. They were too tired to go any further, and said that they would rest a while.
So Frank and I started out on our own. There were tracks everywhere now, and we had no trouble getting a lift.
We stopped at the New Zealand camp to make inquiries about the Australians, but they had gone the night before.
We were only there a short while when a truck pulled up on the road and someone called for the two Diggers. That was us, so away we went to find out what was to do. Our four friends were there, but no one knew where we were going or why.
We pulled up at a Tommy camp, and were told we could stay there, so we settled down in front of a case of canned beer, and made a few inquiries as to when they were leaving and where to.
They weren't pulling out till the following night, and had no idea where they were going.
I spoke to Frank and we decided to stop with the New Zealand convoy, and go with them, so we went out and sat on the road to wait. The other four stayed with the Tommies, and I have not seen them from that day to this.
A motorbike came slowly up the road, followed by a heavily-laden truck. We stopped them and learned that they were Tommies with a load of ammunition.
They were going to dump the load somewhere and go on to Athens. That suited us, so we climbed in without further questions.
I slept all the way into Athens, and when I awoke we were parked in one of the main streets.
Frank and I got out to do a bit of shopping, more walking.
We wanted to find the Australian Headquarters in that city, and I was surprised to find the city so deserted so far as English or A.I.F. troops were concerned. Greek soldiers were all over the place.
However, we eventually found our destination, the Acropole Hotel.
We were then put Into trucks with a number of other stragglers and sent back to our old camp, "Daphni."
I had an injured hand. Reporting to a sergeant-major I inquired for a regimental aid post to have it dressed and treated. "Haven't got time now, lad, better climb up or you'll miss the bus."
Hell! Where to now! Half-an-hour's run and we had a good idea where too.
It looked like the wharf. Into Port Piraeus we drove,and the boat was there and ready for us.
We were a mixed lot of New Zealanders, Maoris, Australians, Greeks, Palestinians, and Tommies.
We got on board about four o'clock that afternoon. About five o'clock the air raid alarm was sounded.
The next minute the machine gun post opened up from the top deck as a Hun dive bomber came screaming down at us and a deafening explosion as the bomb hit the water.
The next bomber dropped his egg right on that machine gun post. They kept on firing their gun right up till the bomb landed.
Pen and ink cannot describe the sights I witnessed on that boat after the raid. It was burning from bow to stern.
Wounded were helped off as best we could. The heat was too intense to do much, and all hands had to dive overboard to get away. I have not seen Frank from that day to this.
We who weren't injured were ordered into trucks and taken back to "Daphni."
We were fed and given a blanket each. No dry clothes were available and it was bitterly cold as night had fallen and our clothes were soaking wet.
It wasn't very long fore we were all gathered up again, ordered to carry four days rations at the rate of two meals a day; That sounded like a long journey somewhere.
By midnight we were on our way. Kalamla was the destination, according to the rumors. We travelled till dawn and pulled in off the road, in a grove of timber.
Pen and ink cannot describe the sights I witnessed on that boat after the raid. It was burning from bow to stern. The heat was too intense to do much, and all hands had to dive overboard to get away.
We parked about 40 trucks under those trees. We covered them with green branches where there was no shade then we settled down to eat and have a day's sleep.
There wasn't much sleep though. The Huns were flying over us all day, looking for us, no doubt.
I often wonder how they missed us there in that grove. I hate to think of what would have happened to us if those pilots glimpsed as much as a shiny bully beef tin.
At dusk we moved on, quite a large number of our tracks were empty. I learned that we were to pick up more troops at a port called Argos further on.
When we arrived at Argos we could see a ship burning just off the coast. So these, too, were victims of dive bombers.
The trucks were soon loaded, and we were on our way once more at one o'clock am. We had orders to drive on and not to stop for any reason till we reached Kalamia. That meant to drive all night and the next day.
At dinner time we arrived at a shady spot and taking advantage of the trees, the convoy pulled in under cover from prowling Messerschmitts ("Mrs. Smiths").
We had our lunch and an hour's spell, then all Australians and Tommies were called for. Loaded into trucks again we were ordered to move to a spot 20 miles further on.
We were taken to where a temporary Division Headquarters was situated for the purpose of picking up such strays as ourselves.
Here the Tommies and Australians were separated and in turn different units were also sorted out and told where to pick up their respective units.
About six others and myself were together. We were informed that we had three miles to go and Shanks' pony was our transport once more. We walked about a mile and came to a township.
Here the Military Police were posted at different points to direct us to our destination. The first MP informed us that it was about three miles further on. Still three miles!
Oh well,we must get there some day. Half a mile further on we met another MP. Still three miles according to him! I finally ended up on my own.
Plenty of troops on the road, either going or coming. I inquired here and there for my unit, but not a soul had seen it, or even heard it was in the vicinity.
At last I got an inkling as to where the mob were. "Yes, Dig, they're over there some place."
What the mob would say when I showed up, I could hardly wait to find out. It wasn't long before I found them. I looked for my cobbers - not one in sight. I couldn't see a face that I know.
I looked at the color patches to make sure I was in the right mob. Yes, they belonged to my unit all right.
I found Battalion Headquarters. I recognised most of the officers, our colonel, a major or two, captains and lieutenants.
I reported in, they asked a few questions about the battalion and its officers, to make sure I wasn't a Hun spy I suppose.
We sat, and waited, I don't know how long. I fell asleep. I was awakened by the mob talking in an excited undertone. A light out to sea, Yes, there it was again, it was a signal of some sort. We moved further towards the town, not a sound, the sand muffled our footsteps. We reached the wharf, or what served as such, and waited again. No talking, no smoking.
They then told me to report to so-and-so in 5 Company.
It wasn't long before the mob heard of someone who had just arrived in. I saw a few of the old hands when they came in search of news of cobbers who were missing.
At dusk we moved down to the beach and were ordered that no smoking was allowed. We waited an hour, moved further down the beach towards the township.
Here we sat, and waited, I don't know how long. I fell asleep. I was awakened by the mob talking in an excited undertone.
A light out to sea, Yes, there it was again, it was a signal of some sort. We moved further towards the town, not a sound, the sand muffled our footsteps.
We reached the wharf, or what served as such, and waited again. No talking, no smoking.
Then we saw it, a great dark shape of a cruiser or destroyer, I didn't know which at the time.
Not a sound did it make as it glided swiftly in to take us on board. About 1200, I believe, were taken on and we were all loaded in 20 minutes. The navy certainly knows how to work.
We were taken out to sea a short way, and pulled in alongside a troopship and transferred on to it.
Dawn found us well out to sea, but not far enough to be quite safe I thought. There were troops of all sorts on board; Australians, Tommies and R.A.F. personnel, Greek troops and Yugoslave officers and their wives, also a Greek civilian or two.
Some of the boys were making their way to the top deck with machine guns of all descriptions, to set up ready for any Hun attack by air. Ninety-seven machine guns were up there, and an eager crew on each one.
Tommies, R.A.F., and Australians all worked together, carrying ammunition up and filling the magazines.
The first raid came before the morning was very old. Fifteen dive bombers, so it was said, but all personnel except the gun crews were ordered below.
Ninety-seven guns opened up as one of the bombers came at our ship. It was the biggest in the convoy. The din from those guns was deafening even below, then a screaming sound and a thunderous explosion.
The ship lurched. Did it hit? We didn't know, but we hoped not. Another scream and another explosion. Things were certainly happening up there.
For 20 minutes, or approximately that time, this din kept up. Not once were we hit, but on going up after the "all clear" had sounded, we learned from the gun crew that several had certainly been very close,and would have hit us but for the troopship swerving and dodging them.
Four Hun planes failed to return to their base after that raid. Four less to annoy us.
Fifteen dive bombers. Ninety-seven guns opened up as one of the bombers came at our ship. The din from those guns was deafening even below, then a screaming sound and a thunderous explosion. The ship lurched. Did it hit? We didn't know, but we hoped not. Another scream and another explosion. Things were certainly happening up there.
An hour or so passed quietly then the alarm sounded again.
All down below. The Huns were a little more respectful this time and didn't come down so low and so their bombs didn't land so close.
But believe me, it sounds close enough from "below," and the ship lurching with the concussion of the bombs exploding doesn't help make it any more comfortable.
Jerry lost another plane, and no damage to us so far. There were two more raids that day and one of our troop ships in the convoy was put out of action.
The troops were transferred to two cruisers, one pulling up on each side of the stricken vessel and the troops just walked off.
At last it was dark again, safe from those dive bombers, and by morning we would be out of range.
An R.A.F. chap played his piano accordion during these raids, and most of the chaps joined in the community singing. The Greeks wondered what there was to sing about.
At dawn I made my way to the top deck, to find that our convoy had grown somewhat. A few more troopships and destroyers had joined us during the night.
The more the merrier, we thought, and fervently, "Thank God we've got a Navy."
At last we arrived at Alexandria. It was early in the morning, though daylight, on April 29, 1941.
On disembarkation we received a small package and a mug of hot tea.
We were then entrained for a certain camp "somewhere in Egypt."
It was here that I met some of my cobbers who were wounded at Tobruk, and had only just recovered. It was good to see them.
Well, here we are now, back "home." Back where we went through all our training. It certainly looked like home to us, after all the places we had been through.
Australia seemed to be just a dim memory at times, and yet so vivid and not far away. A year and a half since we left those shores.
Well, we've got to settle down to a camp routine once more.
We've had a few days "spinal drill" and that can't last forever.
Spinal drill, of course, is nothing to do but sleep and eat.
"Wonder what's on to-day, 'Snowy'."
"A route march, how do you like that?"
A route march already, after all the walking we've done!
Don't they realise we've just hoofed it from one end of Greece to the other!"
But a route march it was. Tramping once more over the hot desert, the sun scorching down on us.
What would I do for a little piece of that snow in Greece now!
The skin peeling off our faces again; sand, sweat, heat and flies.
Aw! We're always growling.
"Righto, lads, on your feet."
The march goes on.
"Give us a drink, Blue."
"Wait till next stop."
"What would you like, Mac.?
A shandy or straight, and off the ice?"
"Aw, cut It out, you know I don't drink on route marches!"
Yes, here we are laughing and yet, we can't afford to.
Anzacs of Greece Memorial Plaque
In October 2016 RSL Sub-branch's across the country were invited by the Greek Consul General for Australia to the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney, to receive a Greek Marble Plaque to recognise all those Australians who fought and died in the battle for Greece and Crete.
One of these Anzacs of Greece Memorial Plaques hangs on the eastern wall of Gerringong Memorial Hall, Gerringong RSL Sub-branch, which will celebrate its centenary later this year.
Entitled Anzacs Of Greece the plaque has the following classical Greek quote.
Doing battle besides the Hyellespont these men lost their shining youth. They brought honour to their homeland, so that the enemy groaned as it carried off the harvest of war and for themselves they set up a deathless memorial of their courage.
Lemnos - Macedonia - Crete
The original inscription in Classical Greek is part of a longer inscription commemorating the sacrifice of Athenian warriors who died fighting at the Hellespont (Dardanelles) in the mid 5th century BCE.
This marble plaques were offered as a gesture of gratitude from the Greek-Australian Community for the Australians and New Zealanders - Anzacs - who defended democracy in its birthplace during both World Wars.
More than 64,000 Anzacs set off from the Greek Island of Lemnos for the 1915 Gallipoli Campaign. More than 45,000 Anzacs fought in Greece during World War II.
Of these extraordinary men and women, 795 Australians and 1200 New Zealanders lie in Greek soil nearly half of the Australian war dead have never been found or their remains identified.
In 1932, Australian poet and classical Greek scholar Christopher Brennan brought the inscription to the attention of Robert Innes Kay. He in turn, brought it to the attention of Charles Bean.
All three were struck by how aptly the inscription related to the Anzac experience despite being written over 2000 years earlier.
A plaster replica was arranged by John Treloar in 1935 and placed on display in the Australian War Memorial.
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