In recognition of Australians standing shoulder to shoulder with Greek and other Allied forces in the Battle of Greece and the Battle of Crete in 1941, members of the Hellenic Presidential Guard will visit Adelaide next month to help commemorate ‘Oxi Day’, and unveil a memorial supported by the South Australian Government.
The Hellenic Presidential Guard is distinguished as the last unit of Evzones in the Hellenic Army. The unit was made of elite light infantry and mountain fighting units and was established by royal decree on 12 December 1868.
‘Oxi Day’ is celebrated annually on 28 October by the Greek and Cypriot nations as the day the Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas rejected Mussolini’s ultimatum in 1940 and declared they would not surrender to Axis powers.
To help commemorate this year’s event, members of the Hellenic Presidential Guard will visit Adelaide, as guests of the Foundation for Hellenic Studies, for a week-long series of events, including the unveiling of a memorial at St George Greek Orthodox Church in Thebarton.
The State Government has provided $100,000 towards the permanent memorial, which honours both last year’s bicentenary of the Greek War of Independence and ‘Oxi Day’ itself.
The visiting party, which will also include Greece’s Deputy Minister of National Defence Mr. Nikolaos Chardalias, who will also attend a Service of Remembrance and wreath-laying ceremony on Saturday 29 October at SA’s National War Memorial, in which members of the Guard will stand in honour of the ultimate sacrifice made by many in various wars.
The visit required the express consent of the President of Greece, Katerina Sakellaropoulou.