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Synopsis of Chapter Sixteen ~ Preparing for Greece & Athens
September 1944 to 1st October 1944


 

Off to Bari via Malta for the conference next morning, to be chaired by C in C Mediterranean Forces. Germany had withdrawn considerable forces from Greece to help resist the Russian advance. Consequently it had been decided an invasion by us into Greece in a fortnight's time, might well succeed. Then the plans were elaborated on. We later split into small groups for details of how each unit was to ready itself.

Flew back to Heliopolis to start work, holding authorisations to acquire all my unit would need. No.5 Forward Fighter Control Unit was different from an SOR in that it was to go in with the action instead of afterwards. First I got a jeep, to be mobile, and able to go around different equipment units in the Cairo area making my 'purchases', lorries,signals equipment, tentage, rations, mobile radar unit etc. etc. I had good personnel to hold the fort whilst I chased around collecting, and with a scramble, had it all done within the fortnight, although it was another fortnight before we actually left. Though a Technical Unit, we were to go in armed and ready to defend ourselves, so I got them all along to the Firing Ranges for weapons practice.

Five FFCU was allocated 2 planes to fly in, as soon as an airport was secured, and the main equipment, lorries and radar, to be part of a seaborne convoy. Arrival of the latter at Pireaus (Athens area) was delayed 2 days as the approach was heavily mined. My 2 Dakotas, followed by the Fighter Squadron, flew into Kalamaki airfield the day before the convoy arrived - luckily unopposed. Rapturous welcome by local Greeks, as Germans had pulled out the previous day. German retreat continued with no hostile air activity. Hard living conditions at Kalamaki, but managed to visit the Parthenon and other antiquities briefly. Tales of local's hardships under the occupation, currency devaluation etc. A fortnight after our arrival, a second invasion landed at Salonika to speed the German withdrawal.

Keywords
People
F/Lt Pop Rolfe
F/Lt Ryder
F/Lt Paddy Flannagan
F/Lt Rodd
Partisans, Maria, Rita & Nicholas
Places
Malta
Bari
Heliopolis
Alexandria
Gezira Club, Cairo
Athens
Pireaus
Kalamaki
Salonika
Things
HQMF Conference at Bari
5FFCU
Firing Practice
Invasion of Greece
Greek Partisans
Parthenon
Currency
MAF's
Photos
Shooting success! Sept. 1944
Acropolis, Athens Oct.1944
Acropolis, athens Oct.1944
Self & Greek Partisans, Athens Oct.1944
Taking a bath, Kalamaki Airfield Oct.1944

 

 

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