Members of Australia’s Federation Guard (AFG) led a ceremony at the Phaleron (Faliro) Commonwealth War Cemetery in southern coastal Athens on Wednesday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Greece and Crete.
Present at the ceremony were six Australian veterans of the specific WWII conflict, officials from the departments of veterans’ affairs and defence, and Australian Parliament member Steve Georganas, who is of Greek heritage.
The Commanding Officer of the AFG contingent Lt. Luke Haitas later commented on the solemn ceremony.
“The commemoration went well and it was quite emotional for both the soldiers and the veterans,” he said, adding: “I’m very proud of the Guard in conducting what was a dignified and solemn ceremony to remember those Australians that died defending Greece during the German invasion. Being of Greek heritage, with my family fighting in WWII, as well as being an Australian Army Officer, the ceremony was very moving for me - it emphasised the strong bond between the two nations.”
There are currently 2,029 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery.
Australia's Federation Guard is an ADF unit, comprised of members from the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force, which provides ceremonial support for the Australian Commonwealth.