What a beautiful start to this day with this shot over the rooftops of Kalabaka.Once again we headed north and at the end of the day we finished in Florina, close to the northern border. On our way we crossed the main tributary of the Aliakman River. due to the very cold winter and with substantial snow, the river was running very hard and deep, however, the trees still looked as though they had not awakened from their sleep.
We pushed on and arrived at Vevi at 1200 and at the Memorial in the village we conducted a small Service where Adrian and Ken laid a poppy on behalf of the Service of their father in this 1st action against the Germans at the Battle of Vevi on 12 April 1941. Their father was a member of the 2/8th Battalion which took the brunt of the German attack. He survived and eventually was evacuated from Sfakia on Crete.
After our Service in Vevi we visited the Church of St George in a nearby village where our friend Anna's father is the Priest. Last year our group went to lunch with the local community in the village hall and we gave the Priest a donation for the Church. The money was used to engage a fresco artist from Florina to paint St George of Ioannina, who was a saint due to his sacrifice fighting the Ottomans in the 18th Century, on the wall in the Church with an inscription for the ANZACs lost in the Battle of Vevi.
Also, the Saint for the Church is Saint Cosmas who was killed by the Ottomans because he would not stop his teaching to the people of the area. The Ottomans did not wish the Greek peasants to get an education. Frescos of Saint Cosmas adorn the walls of the Church.
Following our visit to the Church we went to the community hall, as last year and had lunch there with the Priest and Church Council President. The lunch was a vegetarian meal as the community are still within their fasting period. The lunch was delicious and so after a couple of toasts with the local type ouzo, we again gave a donation to the Church and after viewing 2 more of the Churches of the village, one with a baby Stork in the nest, we took our leave and headed out to the Battlefields.
When we arrived at the Battle site, we went up to a vantage point and discussed the actions that were taking place on 11th and 12th April 1941.Following that discussion and the patting of the goats that had appeared with their shepherd, we pushed further up the slope onto the 2/8th Battalion position where we laid out the Battalion as per the unit War Diary.
It was then time to toast the men of the 6th Division who had been located here as a blocking force and who, despite the odds, performed in a most professional manner. We were able to toast the Division with Alter wine given to us by the Priest. A fitting end to a most memorable and moving day. Tomorrow we will head further north to the border post at Niki.