|Lieutenant Colonel Dougherty (right) with flanking commander of the neighboring Greek Battalion. Vevi, April 1941. AWM|
On this day 75 years ago, the norhern Greek city of Florina was captured by the Germans.
At the same time, the Allied defence force defending the Monastir Gap, at the Kleide Valley has moved into place from the previous day. Many were tired and cold, having marched 25-30 km's and then having to dig in at Vevi. The Allied force had been ordered to defend their position for three days - until the 12th April - to allow the planned and secure withdrawal of other Allied units from their Vermion-Veria positions to the new deence line along the Aliakmon River further south.
The Australian units at Vevi were following in the footsteps of the Australian soldiers and nurses who had come to northern Greece in WW1 to defend the Salonika Front. One of the senior Australian commanders in this area in April 1941 was, Edmund "Ned" Herring, who had fought here in WW1.
The battle of Vevi would be the first time that Australian soldiers had fought the German Army in Europe since 1918 - and the first and only time they would face Hitler's dreaded SS.
The Allied Defenders - The 2/8th and 2/4th AIF Battalions on the front line