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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 28 October 2017
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 28 OCTOBER 2017 5 NEWS Sandy Thomas: war hero and friend to the Greeks Obituary: Martyn Brown pays his respects to Major General Walter Babington who fought in the Greek mainland campaign and Battle of Crete in 1941 On Sunday 22 October, retired Major General Walter Babington 'Sandy' Thomas died at the age of 98. He was born in the South Island of New Zealand, but his last home was in the Australian country town of Beaudesert, 70 kilometres south of Brisbane. Sandy was a lifetime soldier. As a young officer in 1941, he fought in the Greek mainland campaign and in the Battle of Crete. In the latter he was severely wounded in the leg at the village of Galatas. It was a fateful day. He nearly had to have the limb amputated. The last time I spoke with him he related how he felt ashamed to show his scarred leg to senior officers at the end of the war. He wanted to stay in the army. They did not think he could. But with the support of a sympathetic Lieutenant General Bernard Freyberg, commander of the New Zealand Army in the Mediterranean, he did so. land, he escaped enemy captivity and was aided by Greeks in an arduous journey to allied controlled territory in the Middle East. Sandy wrote of these exploits in his autobiographical Dare to be Free published in 1951. Major General Walter Babington ‘Sandy’ Thomas. PHOTO: STUFF.CO.NZ At Galatas, Sandy Thomas also experienced an act of kindness that he never forgot. As he lay wounded, young Cretan girls came out of their homes and covered him, and other wounded Allied soldiers, with blankets and provided 'hot sweet milk'. Later, on the main- In 2011, the debt he felt he, and his fellow soldiers, owed to the Cretans and Greeks who hid them from the Germans was still evident. In a very public protest, he complained about the lack of New Zealand government financial support for him and other veterans to attend the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Crete. Besides paying respects to his fallen comrades, Sandy had been invited by the Cretan community to deliver an address. Bending to public pressure, the New Zealand government reversed its policy, provided funding and the responsible government minister apologised in parliament. Sandy travelled to Crete Complimentary bottle of house wine with every seafood platter • Valid throughout October & November • Must book & provide voucher • Not available after 6pm Fri/Sat Everybody loves a gaytime! Enjoy our signature Golden Gaytime dessert for free next time you dine with us! • Valid throughout October & November • Must book & provide voucher • Valid with purchase of any main meal 66 Portman St, Oakleigh, 3166 (03) 9568 4755 66 Portman St, Oakleigh, 3166 (03) 9568 4755 BOOK YOUR NEXT FUNCTION AT RICHMOND OYSTERS OAKLEIGH and receive a $100 voucher for every $1000 you spend! • Not in conjunction with any other o ers, discounts, promotions • Quote Neos Kosmos when booking and made his speech at Galatas. He spoke of the 'sacrifice' made by the 'wonderful people'. And that 'You knew at that time that to take in a Kiwi or an Aussie or one of the British you risked everything'. Families were executed by the Germans for assisting the soldiers. But that 'You still opened your doors and your hearts to our chaps'. He also related the 'extraordinary thing' that occurred with the caring young Cretan women at Galatas. One of them was at that 2011 speech and was brought up to the podium. I found Sandy Thomas a mixture of a shy and selfeffacing gentleman, but one who had seen the horrors of war. He thought highly of the Greeks and Cretans who endured invasion and occupation. * Dr Martyn Brown is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Queensland's School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry. Five federal MPs lose their seats in dual citizenship decision Australian politics was thrown into chaos on Friday as the seven federal MPs embroiled in the dual citizenship debacle awaited their fate as the High Court decided their eligibility. Five federal MPs lost their seats including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Deputy Nationals leader Senator Fiona Nash, One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts, and Greens Senators Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam, having been declared not validly elected due to holding citizenship of another country, and thereby ineligible to serve in Australian Parliament. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon and Nationals Senator Matt Canavan have retained their seats. As a result the Turnbull government has lost its one seat majority in parliament. Joyce now faces a fight to regain the seat of New England, with a by-election expected to be called immediately. According to reports, the earliest date a by-election can be held is 2 December. Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce faces a by-election to regain his seat.
21 October 2017
04 November 2017