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South Grafton ANZAC Service

The ANZAC Service at the South Grafton cenotaph will include the unveiling of the Greek/Australia memorial plaque. The plaque has been given to the South Grafton RSL Sub Branch by the Greek Consul General, Sydney. Members have decided that it should be included as part of the recently relocated and refurbished cenotaph located in Lane Park, Through Street, South Grafton. The service will commence at 11.15am following the march from the new School of Arts. Anyone with Greek heritage is invited to attend.
Since the Boer War (1899-1902) many Greek Australians have fought in every conflict in which Australia has been involved. The major campaign however was the World War 2 Battle of Greece in which 65,532 allied troops, mainly from Australia and New Zealand, were involved. The allied forces were totally outnumbered and outgunned by the Germans and as a result they were forced into a fighting withdrawal and while this was a success,10,000 were captured and 1,000 troops remained behind enemy lines assisted by the Greek people.
Many of those withdrawn from Greece found themselves in Crete and again did battle with the German forces. Again a fighting withdrawal was required.
Over 17,000 Australians fought in the Battle of Crete with 1,001 being wounded, 5,174 being taken prisoner and 646 now resting in War Graves in Greece and Crete.
More than 500 Australian and New Zealander nurses served along the Macedonian Front (1916-1918). More than 45,000 Anzacs fought in Greece during World War 2. Of these extraordinary men and women, 795 Australians and 1,200 New Zealanders lie in Greek soil; nearly half of the Australian war dead have never been found or their remains identified.
About 2,500 Greek Australians served in the Australian Defence Forces during WW2, including 35 women who served in various roles at home and abroad. They served in Greece/Crete, Tobruk, El Alemein, Egypt, Palestine, New Guinea, Singapore, Thailand and other parts of the Asia Pacific region.
The inscription on the memorial plaque is part of a longer inscription commemorating the sacrifice of Athenian warriors who died fighting at the Hellespont (Dardanelles) in the mid 5th century BC and aptly relates to the ANZAC experience despite being written over 2,000 years ago. The inscription is in both classical Greek and English and reads:
ANZACS OF GREECE
“Doing battle beside the Hellespont these men lost their shining youth. They bought 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

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