ESCAPE FROM GREECE – PODCAST
This podcast episode tells the story of Shanghai born John Robin Greaves, ‘Jack’, who emigrated to Australia in 1939 and volunteered for the Australian Imperial Force to serve overseas. The army would send Jack to the Middle East, then to Greece, where he would be captured Germans along with thousands of other Australians.
Australian ABC journalist Stephen Hutcheon has researched his uncle Jack’s story and produced a fantastic article detailing his escape and journey back to Allied lines. Listen to this incredible story, told by Stephen Hutcheon and Angus Wallace, creator of the fantastic WW2 Podcast.
This project commemorating the service by Victorians in the Mediterranean theatre of WW2 was supported by the Victorian Government and the Victorian Veterans Council. Sign up to the newsletter at the bottom of the page to be notified when the next article in this project is released.
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Reading time: 19 minutes
It began, as it sometimes does, with an old photograph.
Three men dressed in khaki uniforms standing in front of an exotic facade in some distant land. The man in the middle – hands in pockets, slouch hat tilted at a jaunty 45 degree angle – is my uncle.
Retreat doesn’t always mean defeat, sometimes it can be a victory to withdraw in good order and deny your enemy a total victory. This is was the outcome for the allied forces in Greece during April 1941, thanks in part to textbook rear-guard actions fought by Australian units, which allowed 50,732 men to escape the grasp of the advancing superior Axis force. But why were Australian units involved in Greece in the first place?
The Benghazi handicap is the name Australian soldiers gave to their race to stay ahead of the German Afrika Korps in Libya, 1941. They won the race, but the reward was just to be besieged in the city of Tobruk for 241 days, the longest siege in British military history. In this article, we use the words of veterans themselves to describe these events, and how the Rats of Tobruk experienced the siege.
The text of this article was commissioned by History Guild as part of our work to improve historical literacy. If you would like to reproduce it please get in touch via this form.