Greece / Crete Medal
Recently, the Commonwealth Government reversed its long-held policy of not making changes, retrospectively, to the medals and decorations awarded for service prior to 1975. This has opened the way for it to consider awarding a medal for the WW2 Greece / Crete campaign.
Given the role of the 7th Battery of the 2nd/ 3rd Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment members in the Battle for Crete, the Association fully supports awarding a medal for this particular campaign.
The 7th Battery suffered significant casualties and many became prisoners of war in the defence of the critical airfields on the island of Crete.
A meeting of the Association Committee on 20 February 2011 unanimously resolved to support the awarding of a specific Greece / Crete Campaign medal, and to formally support the proposal in a letter to the Minister for Veterans Affairs.
There is a very simple way to express your support for the awarding of a Greece / Crete campaign medal, thanks to the publication and review of a new book, Diggers and Greeks.
The web site of the book, by Dr Maria Hill, contains a petition calling on the Commonwealth Government to create a WW2 medal for the Greece / Crete Campaign.
In her book Dr Hill writes: 'Most people are unaware that 83% of 6,203 Australians captured by the Italians and Germans during the Second World War came from the Greek and Crete campaigns. They spent the remainder of the war in German prisoner camps. The diggers however were not issued with a Greek campaign medal by their own government making them feel that their sacrifice was not recognised, even though Greece issued them with a Greek medal and a medal from the city of Rethymnon in Crete. Support the Australian soldiers who fought in Greece and Crete by signing the online petition to urge the Australian Government to issue a Greek campaign medal to veterans and/or their children for the 70th anniversary of these campaigns in 2011.'
On the book's home page Dr. Hill has written 'And was it any wonder [that a campaign medal was not issued], given the disaster of the Greek campaign where Australian troops were deployed on a suicidal mission or the debacle of Crete, a campaign that should have been won by the allies but instead resulted in the capture of most of the Australian forces at Rethymnon'.
Our web site has a page illustrating the campaign and service medals awarded to most members of the Regiment who served overseas. The Africa Star and Pacific Star mark service in those operational regions. The other WW2 campaign medals issued for service in particular theatres of war were the Atlantic Star, the Air Crew Europe Star, the Burma Star, the Italy Star and the France and Germany Star.
There is nothing to mark the service and sacrifices made by Regiment members and others in Crete.
The Association encourages members and visitors to the site to sign the petition in support of a Greece / Crete campaign medal.