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Taxiarchis women honour ANZAC Day


May 2019

The Greek Women’s Society of SA "O Taxiarchis" Inc was part of the RSL Hilton West Torrens commemoration Anzac service this year which had a strong Greek presence. Greece’s Presidential Guard (Evzones) which arrived in Adelaide from Athens to pay their respects to the ANZACS was also in attendance along with representatives of the Greek Orthodox Community of SA Inc, the Greek Ex-Servicemen's Association Of Sa Inc, the Greek Archdiocese and the Pan Rhodian Society.

The Evzones presence at the Anzac ceremony was to commemorate the role of the Australian soldiers who fought in Crete and Greece and honour the relationship between Greece and Australia. The Battle of Greece which commenced on 6th of April 1941 was one of the first engagements of the Australian Army against the Nazis in World War II.

There are 646 ANZACs buried memorialised in Greece, representing 83 per cent of the Australian soldiers captured by the Nazis during WWII. It is estimated today than more than 1.5 million people in Australia are connected to the Battle of Crete.

Finally but not least one must not forget the role that the Greek island of Lemnos and its inhabitants played in the Gallipoli campaign. It was through Lemnos, that 50,000 Anzacs passed on their way to Gallipoli in 2015. Lemnos was the place where the Anzac troops practised the landings for their disembarkation for Gallipoli and it was where the Australian nurses and medical staff established their hospitals, and where the sick and injured returned for treatment and other soldiers returned for periods of rest after the horrors of battle.

Moreover it is also where the first Anzac cemeteries were established. 148 Australians and 76 New Zealanders are buried in the two military cemeteries on opposite ends of the island, at East Mudros and at Portianou.

The 11 Evzones of the Presidential Guard marched along Sir Donald Bradman Drive accompanied by the Scottish Band playing behind them, until they reached the Cross of Sacrifice monument in the Memorial Gardens, where they stood guard while official procedures for the 104th commemoration of ANZAC Day Dawn Service took place.

Thousands of people gathered at Memorial Gardens and observed with reverence the official ceremony during which the memorial wreaths were placed over the steps of the monument, by officials who attended the service.

The Greek Women’s Society of SA, as the oldest Greek Women’s Society of South Australia (est.1937) was proud to be able to pay its respects by laying a wreath representing the Greek women’s role and connection with the ANZACs both in Greece and Australia. The Society was represented by the Vice President, Mrs. Helen Bogias.

At the close of the ceremony the attendees were invited to the Hilton RSL hall.

(contributed by Helen Vassos)


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