September 27, 1915: Greek hero Konstantinos Smolenskis passes away

Konstantinos Smolenskis

Konstantinos Smolenskis (1843 - September 27, 1915) was born into a family from Moschopoli in Northern Epirus, that later relocated to the Hapsburg Empire.

Konstantinos’ father Leonidas, who was an Austrian Army Officer, wished to return to Greece and join the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire, but was refused permission by the Austrians.

He managed to make his way to Greece by 1830 and joined the Greek Army.

Smolenskis would reach the rank of General and also served as Minister of Defence.

Born in Athens in 1843, his son Konstantinos Smolenskis was a distinguished Greek Army Officer who reached the rank of Lieutenant-General and later a politician.

After enrolling in the Hellenic Army Academy, he was expelled for his unruly behaviour and fiery character.

His father Leonidas, who was Minister for Defence at the time, actually signed the decree expelling him.

Konstantinos then enrolled in the Royal Military Academy in Brussels where he graduated.

Returning to Greece, in 1863 he was commissioned into the Greek Army as an artillery officer.

He participated in the Cretan Revolt (1866) commanding his own unit.

Following this, he was commissioned to help fortify and safeguard the recently liberated lands of Thessaly and parts of Epirus (1881).

He saw action once again in the Greco-Turkish War (1897), distinguishing himself in numerous battles, for which he was lauded by the public.

He was praised for his successful defence at the Battle of Velestino in Thessaly.

Smolenskis stood out as an accomplished and competent leader, in a conflict which was otherwise disastrous for Greece.

This popularity allowed him to launch a political career, where he was twice elected Member of the Hellenic Parliament, going on to serve as Minister for Defence.

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