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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 09 December 2017
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 9 DECEMBER 2017 21 COMMUNITY The bay at Methone, where the Sebastiano Veniero was beached in December 1941. PHOTO: JIM CLAVEN Australian Veteran Bill Rudd (bottom row, middle) and the Pylos and Methone Memorials. PHOTO: KOSTAS DEVES Excerpt from the service record of Sergeant Robert Patterson, stating his death as a result of the Nino Bixio torpedoing, and his burial at Pylos. PHOTO: NAA Sapper Bill Rudd, WW2. The Sebastiano Veniero on the rocks at Methone. Grave of Sergeant Robert Patterson, Phaleron War Cemetery, Athens. PHOTO: JIM CLAVEN Italian transport ship Nino Bixio. ministration. For many years, Bill has worked tirelessly to document the history of the Allied service personnel on the run in Europe – the freemen – creating and maintaining a website that is an invaluable resource to veterans, descendents, and researchers. A TIME TO REMEMBER Bill has looked forward to the day when these tragedies would be commemorated at Pylos and Methone. Melbourne’s Panpyliaki and Pammessinian Brotherhoods have come together to create two new commemorative plaques to be erected at the locations the survivors and the dead were brought ashore. The plaques honour the dead, the survivors, and the locals who helped them as they came ashore. George Saratsiotis and Rita Lambros said that it was a great day for their association, adding that it is “glad to have played a part in honouring the service of soldiers like Bill Rudd who came to our native Pylos in a moment of tragedy and were welcomed by the locals.” Ioannis Mitsakos added that his association was proud to help bring the story of these tragedies back to Methone and Pylos. “We should never forget those who served and those who gave their lives in the cause of freedom,” he added. Ange Kenos said that as president of the Essendon RSL he was honoured to attend the event, recognising the service of Bill Rudd and the other Allied soldiers who suffered in these tragedies during WW2. The assembled were privileged to hear Bill’s story. One of Bill’s memories of that tragic day in August 1942 was of the local Greek community helping the survivors by giving them food - figs and tomatoes – and in so doing risking retribution from the Italian guards. As they had also done after that earlier tragedy, helping the survivors of the Sebastiano Veniero as they were brought to Pylos from Methone. How appropriate it was for Bill to again enjoy some excellent Greek hospitality on this special day. And what Hellenic celebration would not be complete without a toast to Bill and his impending 100th birthday with Greece’s finest ouzo! During the celebration, Bill joined in conversation with Dimitrios and Angelo, exchanging stories of comrades passed and the human story of war. As a young boy, Dimitrios had witnessed local villagers of Koroni helping Allied soldiers escape to Crete. Angelo spoke of the day the andartes came to liberate Lemnos from the Germans, singing as they marched through his village of Kontias. GREECE’S NEW COMMEMORATIVE TRAIL EMERGING The plaques will be sent to Greece in coming months for installation at Pylos and Methone. It is hoped that their installation will take place next year. They will form part of Greece’s emerging commemorative trail, stretching from Lemnos and Thessaloniki, across northern and central Greece, the Peloponnese, Crete and the other islands of the Aegean. Discussions are currently underway to have new memorials erected on Lemnos, at Corinth, Argos and Nafplio, as well as on Crete. These will create a lasting legacy at many of the locations across Greece connected to the Anzacs – such as the battle fought at Corinth Canal, the suffering of those held in the prisoner of war camps at Corinth, Napflio, and Thessaloniki, the villages of the Mani where locals hid and supported Allied soldiers on the run from the Germans and the village on Crete where Australia’s sole Hellenic Anzac - Private James Zampelis - was killed. It has been an honour to meet Bill Rudd and to work with him and both the brotherhoods to create these new plaques which will be a permanent legacy of remembrance, linking Australia and Greece. A big thank you to Eleni Spanos and Tia Tsonis at Vanilla Restaurant for extending their hospitality to all who attended. *Jim Claven is a historian and freelance writer who has been researching the Anzac trail in Greece across both world wars for many years. He is secretary of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee and a member of the Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council. Anyone interested in helping create the Anzac Commemorative Trail in Greece can contact Jim at email@example.com.
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