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Our Committee is raising funds to create a lasting legacy telling the story of Lemnos' link to Gallipoli and Australia's Anzac story. Our projects include the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park, the publication of a major new historical and pictorial publication and more. To make a donation you can also deposit directly by direct debit into the Committee's bank account: Account Name: Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Inc; Bank: Delphi Bank; Account No: 204299-020 BSB No: 941300; Include your surname in the reference section. For further information on our legacy projects or to make a donation please contact either Lee Tarlamis 0411553009 or Jim Claven 0409402388M

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

WW2 Anzac Veteran Bill Rudd Honoured - Moves to erect a new Commemorative Memorial at Methoni and Pylos

Mr Nick Georgopoulos, Mr Bill Rudd and myself. Photo Jim Claven 2015
As we approach the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Crete and Greece in WW2, it was a pleasure to assist in organizing a small gathering to honour one of Australia's veterans who survived a tragedy off the coast of Greece in 1942 - former Anzac Sapper Bill Rudd, survivor of the Nino Bixio tragedy off Methoni in 1942. 
The gathering took place in early December and included introducing Mr Bill Rudd to the Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic to Australia, his Excellency, Mr Dafaranos, and Mr Nick Georgopoulos, who as a young man in Methoni helped lay to rest some ANZACs who had died in an earlier tragedy near Methoni in 1941. 
Mr Nick Georgopoulos greets Mr Bill Rudd. Photo Jim Claven 2015
The occasion was Mr Rudd's 98th birthday. 
Essendon-born Bill was a Sapper in WW2, serving in the Middle East. A veteran of the battle of El Alamein, Bill survived the tragedy of the Nino Bixio - an Italian vessel transporting Allied Prisoners of War from Benghazi to Bari in Italy. 
The ship was torpedoed off Methoni in August 1942 and was eventually towed into Pylos harbour. Approximately 400 Allied POW's were killed. Bill would eventually escape from Italian captivity and make his way successfully to Switzerland and survived the war.
Sapper Bill Rudd in WW2
Nino Bixio
The Nino Bixio followed in the wake of the tragedy of the Sebastion Venier, another Italian POW transport ship (formerly the Dutch vessel the Jason or Jantzen). This ship was also torpedoed off Methoni in December 1941, with many POWs being killed. Mr Nick Georgopoulos was a young man living in Methoni at the time who helped bury some of the Allied dead.
Mr Rudd has dedicate much of his time to recording the story of Allied POW's in Europe and especially the tragedies of the Nino Bixio and the Sebastiano Venier. He has been hoping that a memorial be erected at Methoni and possibly Pylos to honour those Allied POW's who suffered in these tragedies off the Greek coast.
Photo Jim Claven 2015
It was an emotional meeting between Bill and Nick, with His Excellency Mr Dafaranos expressing the appreciation of the Hellenic Republic for his service and communication a personal message on his birthday.
Mr George Iliopoulos, His Excellency Mr Dafaranos, Mr Bill Rudd, Mr Nick Georgopoulos, Cr Jim Grivokostopoulos and Mr Paul Sougleris. Photo Jim Claven 2015
Representatives of Melbourne's Messinian community - Mr George Iliopoulos, Mr Jim Grivokostopoulos and Paul Sougleris - were also in attendance, presenting Mr Rudd with some gifts from Greece and announcing their intention to support the erection of commemorative memorials at Pylos and Methoni.
It was a pleasure and an honour to help bring them together.
Pylos harbour and Navarino Bay. Photo Jim Claven 2013
Others in attendance included Mr Peter Ford, the son of a New Zealand veteran of WW2's Greece and Crete campaigns, and Mr Steve Kyritsis, RSL Hellenic Sub-Branch President.
To view the news report in Neos Kosmos, click  here.

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

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