Australia in the War of 1939 - 1945
by Gavin Long

Return to Greece - 50 th Anniversary
by the Australian Defence Force Journal

Greece and Crete  :
Battlefields and Memorials
by Garrie Hutchinson

The Anzacs and the Battle of Crete
AUTHOR : Ms. Stella Tzobanakis

In the first parachute drop of World War II, the Germans invaded Crete on 20 May, 1941. Australian, New Zealand and British troops, alongside Greek soldiers and the people of Crete, formed a crucial bond as they defended the tiny island. A story that appeals to teens: prisoners of war, escape, rebellion, romance, partisans. It will satisfy the rebellious spirit in every teen. Taps into the renewed interest in the Battle of Crete and in the whole Mediterranean theatre of war shown by the release of several adult titles. An important Greek - Australian story that will be widely supported by the Greek community. Details the incredible bravery shown by the Australian and New Zealand soldiers and by the people of Crete who risked their own lives by harbouring these soldiers during the invasion of Germany in World War II.

The Bloody Battle of Crete 1941
AUTHOR : Ms. Peter Thomson

Commemorates the 69th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe when 8900 Anzac prisoners of war captured in Greece and Crete were released from captivity. In 2011 it will be exactly 70 years since the 2nd AIF arrived in the Middle East to begin their extraordinary adventures in battles against the German and Italian armies in North Africa, mainland Greece and Crete prior to the outbreak of the Pacific War.

Written by a brilliant storyteller, ANZAC FURY tells the riveting story of how the legendary Anzac Corps was reformed in the heat of battle during World War II to fight a powerful and merciless foe. Dramatically combining personal memories with combat action, ANZAC FURY gives voice to the experiences of young Australians and New Zealanders who were sent on Churchill’s orders from the victorious battlefields of Libya on a disastrous mission to Greece and Crete.

A companion volume to the acclaimed 2008 publication PACIFIC FURY, this book celebrates the Anzac spirit of sacrifice, mateship, courage and endurance that sustained the new Anzacs during the darkest days of the war.

The Australian Campaigns in Greece and Crete
AUTHOR : Mrs. Maria Hill.

This compelling book combines details of the campaigns with an account of the response of Greeks and Cretans to the Allied forces on their soil. It reveals the personal relations that developed between Australian soldiers and Greek civilians and soldiers; these were sometimes hostile but in other cases developed into friendships that lasted decades after the war had finished. Maria Hill has trawled through archives in Athens and Canberra to show that while miscommunication between the Greek General Staff and the allied forces was frequent, the situation on the ground was far more complex. Her book also shows why the campaigns on mainland Greece and Crete compelled people to behave in altruistic ways, even when it meant placing themselves in danger. It proves that it is possible to form successful relations with people of a completely different culture in conflict situations, and that those relationships are important and should be nurtured, as they are vital to the wellbeing of all involved.

Maria Hill’s aim in writing Diggers and Greeks was to put human relations at the forefront of any discussions of these campaigns. For too long military campaigns have been viewed through the prism of military strategy, as if people’s emotions, temperament and behaviour have no bearing on what occurred in the battlefield and beyond.

The Campaign in Greece, 1941
AUTHOR : Mr. Peter Ewer

Every school child in Australia & New Zealand is bought up on the legend of the Anzacs. This, though, is the largely unknown story of another Anzac force which fought not at Gallipoli, but in Greece a generation later. On 12 April 1941, General Thomas Blamey, commander of the Australian Imperial Force in the Mediterranean, issued an order of the day announcing the formation of a new Anzac Corps. Australian & New Zealand troops were at the time fighting side by side in Greece against an invading German army that had been triumphant everywhere. With the very existence of his force in the balance. Blamey invoked the spirit of Gallipoli to inspire his troops. Those hopes would be quickly dashed. Desperately outnumbered, and fighting in deeply inhospitable conditions, the Anzac found themselves engaging in a long retreat through Greece, under constant air attack. Most of the Anzac Corps was evacuated by the end of April, but many men got only as far as Crete. Fighting a German paratroop invasion there in May, large numbers were taken captive and spent four long years as prisoners of the Nazis. British interests. Just as Gallipoli provided military academics the world over with lessons in how not to conduct a complex feat of arms, Churchill’s Greek adventure reinforced fundamental lessons in modern warfare – heavy rifles, and Stuka dive bombers would not be deflected by promises of air support from London that were never honoured. Until now there has been no history on the campaign in Greece and Crete written from a truly Anzac perspective. Based on rarely accessed archives and more than 30 interviews with Australian, Greek and New Zealand veterans, this superb book gives overdue recognition to the brave, forgotten Anzacs of 1941.

The Untold Story
AUTHOR : Mr. Brian Taaffe

Author Brian Taaffe has lived and worked in Australia for over 20 years. Taking a keen interest in the intertwined history of both his adopted country and his country of birth, New Zealand, he travelled to Greece and Crete to follow in the footsteps of the ANZACs during the Second World War. On Crete he, was confronted with the extraordinary feats of his father’s unit during the German airborne invasion of May 1941. Outside the village of Galatas, drivers of the New Zealand Divisional Petrol Company – a scratch unit of non – infantry – fought Hitlers elite 3rd Parachute Regiment to a standstill. The drivers never took a backward step over six tumultuous days of fighting despite the loss of all their officers in the initial assault. After the war the deeds of this mixed bunch of larrikins would be honoured by the very parachute regiment they almost wiped out. However, even today, their efforts are barely recognised in their homeland. The author was also confronted with the courageous deeds of the Cretan Villagers who fought alongside young Antipodeans -deeds for which afterwards they paid dearly – and those of the Australians, the brave 2/7 rearguard being abandoned at Sfakia and the troops at Iraklio left in the lurch. And then there was Rethymno. To truly place this Greek Tragedy in the broader landscape of the war in the Mediterranean, the author must continue in his fathers ‘ tyre tracks ‘ through North Africa and Italy. “ The Gatekeepers of Galatas takes gives you a true insight into what actually occurred in May 1941 on the island of Crete.

GALATAS 1941 :
Courage in Vain
AUTHOR : Mr. Lynn McConnell

The battle at Galatas during World War II is the story of ordinary New Zealanders achieving extraordinary things : first in defending the small Greek village against overwhelming German military might ; and second, when the territory was lost to the enemy, fighting a bloody, bayonet-style engagement in what has been described as the first time that any force stood up to Germany. This was New Zealand’s own trial by fire. Along with many historic and contemporary photographs, featuring a recreation of the battle through the streets of Galatas, the voices of those Kiwi soldiers who survive tell of the desparate struggle of hand – to – hand combat. Their personal stories – honest, modest and unsentimental – remind us of the resilience of the New Zealand spirit.

A true story of friendship in time of war.
AUTHOR : Mr. Charles Jager

Charlie Jager was a romantic who read Homer and carried a revolver, Ben Travers a teenage larrikin who played cards and rolled his own. They were mates whose friendship had been forged in the North African battlefields, and were now pitted against Hitler’s crack paratroops in the Battle of Crete. The two young Australians were among thousands of Allied troops captured after ferocious fighting that ended in Germany’s most costly ‘ victory ‘ of World War II. But Jager and Travers rebelled : breaking through the barbed wire to take their chance in the mountains. Escape took daring – but they realised the real heroes were Greek villagers who risked death to hide them from the Germans and smuggle them to the mainland. There, they joined a band of other escaped prisoners, pirated a boat and defied theodds by sailing to North Africa. Charlie Jager knew he could never repay his saviours. But, a lifetime later, he can tell the story.

A novel of fate and love Crete and Australia
AUTHOR : Mr. Angelo Loukakis

It is 1941 and Vic Stockton has missed the evacuation from Crete. Behind him lie the bodies of his dead comrades. Ahead lie days hiding from the Germans and a search for safety. Hungry and exhausted, he eventually stumbles upon a monastery whose abbot offers him shelter in an abandoned hut. As he waits and recovers his strength, supplies are brought to him by Kalliope Venakis –a young woman with the beauty and spirit of Crete in her bones, who yet longs for something more than the confining traditions of her village. That same yearning has already compelled her teenage sweetheart, Andreas, to leave for Australia before the outbreak of war, to prepare a new and better life for them together. But in the crucible of war, when all is tested and everything is at stake, bonds can be formed that resonate down a lifetime. As Vic and Kalliope pursue their postwar lives, it becomes clear that what is in the heart cannot always be expressed. Hope may stubbornly survive in the most unlikely places and flourish in the most unexpected of ways.

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.

His story of the German Occupation.
AUTHOR : Mr. George Psychoundakis

This enthralling account of the Resistance in Crete, from the German invasion to the liberation, is by one of its most active Cretan participants. His duties as guide and runner were exhausting and dangerous. They entailed immense journeys on foot, usually at full speed over some of the most precipitous country in Europe, carrying messages between towns and secret wireless stations in the mountains, humping batteries, explosives and arms, or guiding English, Australian or New Zealand stragglers or agents in disguise through heavily garrisoned areas. He was one of a small band, many of whom were captured, tortured and shot by the Germans. Their only incentive was a sense of duty to their country and their allies. All this is described by George Psychoundakis ( who was later awarded a B.E.M. ) with touches of houmor, with a quite extraordinary sense of humanity and with the unselfconscious eye of a natural poet. In his introduction Patrick Leigh Fermor, whose own account of the capture of General Kraipe has never yet been told, gives in vivid tones the background to epic events recountered by his comrade in arms.

The German Occupation of Crete
AUTHOR : Mr. Markos Polioudakis

This volume covers in detail the organising and the struggle of the Cretan population against the Germans from 1941 until July 1945 when the Germans left Chania.

For the Battle of Crete and the National Resistance
AUTHOR : Mr. Markos Polioudakis

This Book entails a large number of Testimonials of Greek War veterans and heroes that fought in the Battle of Crete with personal eyewitness accounts and full details of what transpired during the Battle of Crete, and what these people had to encounter against the NAZI forces.

The Lost Victory
AUTHOR : Mr. Markos Polioudakis

This volume provides details about the battle around Rethymno from Greek, Allied and German archives. It also provides details about the German occupation and the local resistance, news and other reports from newspapers of the time and the liberation of Rethymno in October 1944 when the Germans withdrew to Chania from where they eventually left in July 1945.

1941 - 1945
AUTHOR : Mr. Markos Polioudakis

This Book enlists hundreds of names of Cretan people that died on Greek Soil during the Battle of Crete, including the Prisoners of War and people killed whilst the Nazi Forces were burning entire Villages. This Book covers the Battle of Crete, the National Resistance and the German Occupation.

After the Battle
AUTHOR : Mr. Markos Polioudakis

Brief coverage of the main events of the Battle of Crete and specific aspects relating to Rethymno. Covers also a number of specific events relating to the Battle described to him by participants to the battle, the erection of the two Greek-Australian monuments in Rethymno,, his two trips to Australia and the gifts and scholarships made by Australian Veterans of the Battle to Crete to Cretan school children.

AUTHOR : Mr. Markos Polioudakis

Covers the Italian attack against Greece in 1941 and the subsequent attack by Germany. It details the arrival of the Allies in Crete and their preparation for the defence of island and the attack by the Germans, the battle in the area of Rethymno and the outcome of this battle. It also provides in an Appendix listing of those killed amongst the Allies and Greeks.