An 0830 start took us through Delphi to the West to then turn north past Amfissa. This route will eventually take us through the Mountains to the small village of Gravia and then on to Brallos before we venture through the Pass. The scenery through the Gorge was beautiful as were the Cyprus Pines dotting the landscape and the many 100s of Olive Trees. At Gravia we had a coffee from the little café located near the new Church. In 1822 the Turks were sent to “sort” out the village. However, during the pitched battle there the 6000 Turks were beaten by the 160 Greeks who had turned the Inn into a veritable fortress defeating the attacks by the Turks who had received over 300 casualties. A replica of the Inn is now a museum of Remembrance. This was the first step by Greece to throw off the shackles of Otoman Rule.
Leaving the village we headed towards Brallos Pass but first stopped at the Cemetery prepared for those who had died in the Military Hospital located nearby. Next stop was on the old Brallos Pass Road where we were able to see across the valley the railway bridges brought down by a commando type raid by a British Group who had been dropped on the Aegean Coast, carried out the demolition and returned to the Adriatic Coast for pick up and return to the UK. Quite an extraordinary task, that was a success.
Making our way down the old Brallos Pass Road we stopped at the new Memorial that had been established by the 2/2 Field Regiment in memory of those under Lt. Anderson who had been killed at the site by counter battery fire on 22 April 1941. There was also a section of 9 men from the 2/4th Battalion who were posted as close protection for the guns and were also killed in the exchange of fire. The were 2 guns located on a ledge 2/3 up the road to provide protection for the withdrawal of the main body. Lt Anderson was in command of thid group and the exchange of fire with the Germans lasted many hours with over 160 shells landing near Anderson’s group prior to the final destruction of his guns. He received a Military Cross and Gunner Brown a Military Medal for their actions there. It is interesting to note that most of those in the 6th Division were either in the Militia before the War or enlisted for the first time on the Declaration of War. This Division was truly of the people and not professional soldiers, Anderson had been an Accountant and Brown a Tram Conductor.
At the bottom of the Pass we crossed the Sperkhios River, on a new bridge but our party was able to access the old original bridge, a part of the history of this action. Lunch followed before before setting off again for Domokos. At Domokos, we were able to view the layout of the defence of the site. There were 5 of our Battalions supported by Field Regiment, Machine Gun Battalion, anti-armour deployed in this blocking force and the Hussars were in support and were well out to the front of the position in a covering force role.
It seems part of the culture of this tour that there are acts supporting the little creatures that inhabit the areas we travel through, Russell today gained a "protection of Nature" award for alighting to rescue a tortoise who had ventured out onto the road. After this deed, we continued on our way towards Kalambaka which we reached at 1650, earlier than last year as there is a new road that helped us make up the time. A great day but tomorrow we will be visiting the Monasteries on the hill followed by the visit to the site where Brigadier Sharpe had set up the blocking force 15 km north of the town.