|Members of the Zampelis family, with members of the Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign Commemorative Council, at the presentation, Melbourne's Greek Centre, 11 August 2016. Photo Arch Bergiannis 2016|
Thanks to all who took the time to come out on a cold Melbourne night and attend my presentation in honour of the life and service of Australia's only Hellenic Anzac who died in the defence of Greece and Crete in 1941 - Private James Zampelis.
|Private James Zampelis, 1939. AWM and Paul Sougleris 2015|
Private James Zampelis was born in Melbourne - the son of Gerasimos Zampelis from Lefkada, one of the early Greek migrants to Melbourne - who enlisted into the 2/2nd Field Regiment in the Second World War, seeing service in the Middle East, Greece and Crete. James and his unit served across the battlefields of Greece - from Veria, Servia, Larissa, Lamia and Brallos Pass. And then to Crete and the titanic struggle that began with the German invasion in May 1941. James was killed south of Chania, near the village of Mournies. He was buried with four of his comrades, who were all killed in the same bombing. Although buried, his remains and those of his comrades were never found after the war. So he is remembered on the large stone memorials to the missing at Athens' War Cemetery at Phaleron.
|The War Cemetary, Phaleron, Athens. Photo Jim Claven 2015|
My presentation appealed for a re-newed effort to locate James and his comrades' remains, to memorialize his service at Mournies where he was killed, on Lefkada the home of his father and in Melbourne where he was born and raised. We hope that a new major memorial statue will be erected - honoring James as a symbol of all those thousands of diggers who served in the defence of Greece in 1941 and the hundreds who died. Watch this space!
I also urged those present to join with me, Historian Peter Ewer, the Battle of Crete and Greek Campaign Commemorative Council and others in a new push for a campaign medal to be issued for the Greek campaign by the Australian Government.
|Photo Peter Ford 2016|
|Photo Peter Ford 2016|
|Photo Roma Saichos 2016|
|Nick Dallas. Photo Peter Ford 2016|
|Lee Tarlamis. Photo Peter Ford 2016|
|Jim Claven. Photo Peter Ford 2016|
It was my great pleasure to be introduced by both Nick Dallas (of the Greek Centre) and Lee Tarlamis, my colleague and the President of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee.
In the discussion that followed there were reminiscences of the Greek Day fundraising drives held in Melbourne in 1941 and throughout the war - thanks to Olga Black and to George Verginas for sharing their stories. More to come on this aspect of the Greek Anzac connection - again watch this space!
Over one hundred people attended the lecture, include many of Melbourne's large Zampelis family clan - including James' only son, Peter Zampelis, who made a special effort to attend the presentation.
Many of Melbourne's Greek community were present, especially those interested in raising awareness of the Anzac connection to Greece - from the Cretan, Lefkadian, Lemnian, Pontian and Peloponnesian communities. Thank you all.
|Peter Zampelis, with Olga Black. Photo Paul Sougleris 2016|
|Me with the Zampelis clan. Photo Peter Ford 2016|
My research and presentation would not have been possible without the support of the Zampelis family - in particular Nick Zampelis who encouraged and assisted me to visit James' father's birthplace on Lefkada and to Lisa Zampelis, James' grand-daughter, who shared many documents and photographs relating to James' life.
The opportunity was taken to promote the work of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee and the George Devine Treloar Memorial Committee.
|Members of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee at the presentation - Vice President Christina Despoteris, myself, President Lee Tarlamis and member George Petrou. Photo Peter Ford 2016|
Thanks to Ange Kenos, Vicky Kyritsis and Christine Despoteris for their help on the night. and to Peter Ford and Arch Bergiannis again for their excellent help in recording the event in photographs.
I would especially like to thank Mr Antonis Tsourdalakis for sponsoring my presentation on behalf of the Battle of Crete and Greek Campaign Commemorative Council.
The presentation was part of the series of lecture telling the story of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Crete and Greece. Put the following dates in your diary:
- First Victory - the Defence of Greece, 1940 by Historian Peter Ewer, 7pm, 1st September 2016
- To Hell and Back - Anzac POW's, Escapers, their Greek Helpers and the Thessaloniki POW Camp in WW2, by myself, 3pm, 13th November 2016).
Secretary, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
Member, Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign Commemorative Council