Greeks and Philhellenes gathered at the Croatian Club in Punchbowl last weekend to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the heroic Battle of Crete & the Greek campaign.
The Battle of Crete was one of the most dramatic battles of the Second World War. Over 12 days in May 194, a mixed force of New Zealanders, British, Australian and Greek troops desperately tried to fight off a huge German airborne assault. Despite suffering appalling casualties, the parachutists and glider-borne troops who led the invasion managed to secure a foothold on the island and eventually gained the upper hand. The battle ended with the evacuation to Egypt of the bulk of the Allied force.
The dinner dance which was organised by the Cretan Association of Sydney & NSW, was attended by more than 400 people including the Very Reverend Father Christophoros Krikelis and Archdeacon Athenagoras, the Consul General of Greece in Sydney Christos Karras, the Chairman of the Joint Committee for the Commemoration of the Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign James Jordan, the Vice President of the Greek Returned Servicemen League of NSW Peter Tsigounis, New Zealand RSL representative Margaret McInroy, Delphi Bank representatives Nick Kalikajaros and Tom Christopoulos, as well as representatives from various Greek communities across New South Wales.
Official proceedings began with a minutes silence for members of the Cretan Association who had recently passed away, followed by speeches.
Then, the music and dancing started, which didn’t stop until the early hours of the morning.
Sifi Tsourdalakis, Angelo Goutzios, Paddy Montgomery, Tony Iliou and George Ganakas entertained guests all night.
And of course we must mention the amazing 3rd generation Greek/Cretan children who for the first time as a new group, gave the crowd a stellar performance.
At no point was the dance floor ever empty.
Beautiful moments of people being free on the dance floor, being happy, being together.
We will not let this pandemic derail our thoughts about what the Cretan people endured in 1941 during the Battle of Crete.