The Consul-General of Greece, Her Excellency Christina Simantiraki joins with veterans family members and supporters witness the donation of the Grant and Moran WW2 collections to the State Library. Photo Craig Tolson 2016
Two Greek campaign veterans families have donated their extensive collections of memorabilia to Victoria's State Library.
Horsham's Private Syd Grant and Ballarat's Lieutenant Henry Moran served with the Australian 2/8th Battalion as it fought its way across the length of Greece in April 1941. This Battalion was mostly recruited from residents from Victoria's western district.
Both diggers fought in the great battle of Vevi in northern Greece, alongside British, New Zealand and Greek troops, facing German SS troops and successfully holding them up for three days. They went on to serve in the defences of the key passes through central Greece.
Henry was evacuated from Kalamata but Syd was not. Helped by local Greek villagers, he made his way down the Mani to the little village of Trachila where he was helped by the people until he was evacuated to Crete and on to Alexandria.
Henry fought on Crete, defending the Allied troops as they withdrew to the southern port of Sfakia, where he was eventually evacuated to Egypt.
Both soldiers had served in the battles of the western desert and returned to Australia.
Syd's collection encompasses over 300 unique photographs, correspondence home and written and audio memoirs. Henry's collection includes a rare copy of the Allied Crete newspaper - the Crete News - as well as video memoirs recorded by his daughter, Joan, who attended the donation ceremony today.
A number of the extended family of Syd Grant attended - including his two daughters, Catherine and Elisabeth and son David. The children of Henry Moran attended - Mick, Jim and Joan.
The Consul-General of Greece, Her Excellency Christina Simantiraki, talks with Catherine Bell, the daughter of Syd Grant. Syd’s son David at left and other daughter, Elisabeth centre. Photo Jim Claven 2016
Others who attended the event were members of Melbourne's Peloponnese community, including Ms Betty Kosmas of the Papaflessas Brotherhood.
On a personal note, it has been a pleasure to have assisted both the Grant and Moran families in making these important donations.
|Me (at left) join Christina Simantiraki and the Syd Grant extended family. Photo Ioanne Kikkides 2016|
|A gathering in Kalamata Greece of Greeks and a few Australians .G.Maxwell with hands on his hips. He is now a prisoner 28 April 1941. Syd Grant Collection|
Two of the many Greek girls who fed us with bread and water standing at the entrance of an old church at Trachila Greece 30 April 1941. Syd Grant Collection
A terror for the plonk at Neon Corinth [Neo Khorion or Neo Chorio] Crete May 1941. Syd Grant Collection
Greek campaign Veteran former Lieutenant Henry Bernard Moran holding his copy of the Crete News, 20 years ago. Courtesy of family of Henry Bernard Moran, 2015
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
& Member, Battle of Greece and Crete Commemorative Council