Battlefield History Tours

Battlefield History Tours
Incorporating History and Heritage tours

On Tour - Greece and Crete Tour 15 April 2023


What a beautiful day we woke to and as I write this, we are now in Platamon on the Aegean Coast. A great spot and a great hotel that we stay at each year, The Evilion Hotel.

Our first stop after leaving Kozani was at the bridge over the Aliakman Dam where we could see across to where the defensive position was laid out. 16 and 19 Brigades were there plus 4 Brigade of the NZ Division, the 5th Brigade was holding the Germans at the Olympus Pass. However, we could not cross the bridge as an earthquake had damaged the bridge and buckled the road and steel railings. It will be some time before anyone is allowed to cross the bridge. This causes hardship for locals for to get to Sevia, one has to travel 20 kilometres upstream to Rimnio where there is another bridge crossing the Aliakman Dam.

We travelled the 20 kilometres and stopped to view the beautiful area before crossing the bridge. We climbed up through this Pass and found a spot high up with incredible views of the landscape before us. Standing on the grass at the side of the road, we could see for miles and saw Kozani many miles away. At our feet were Anemaone flowers in full bloom. We couldn't go to Servia to view the area where the positions that had held the Germans, enabling units to gather at Thermopylae where they expected their last rear-guard action. This action was planned to give the force a clean break to assist the time needed to reach and evacuate from the beaches and it succeeded.

Following our trip through the pass we arrived at Elassona where firstly the Field Ambulance had been sited, with Doctors and Nurses of the 2/5th General Hospital. The area had been set up as a logistic base for those forward but now it was where, just a few kilometres north of the town at the junction of the road through Servia Pass and the other through the Mount Olympic Pass that a further strong rear-guard had been established to stop penetration to the West.

Our route then took us through the Olympus Pass to Katerina and beyond and on the way, we discussed the actions of the 5th NZ Brigade as it endeavoured to halt or hold the German thrust through the Pass. Wilson's father was there in fact, serving in A Company of the 23rd New Zealand Battalion. We left the main road and final on the subsidiary small road we found the position of A Company in and amongst the few homes at Locova. Due to the map at the time of the War being a little confusing as names had changed in the area over the time, it took us a little time to find the location of Locova that was verified by a sheep farmer who was there putting his sheep away for the night.

After a nice chat with the farmer and his 3 sons, we bade farewell and proceeded towards Platamon where our hotel was located but first dropped in to Olympus Beach for lunch at Plaka. What a beautiful resort type place, right on the beach and most had seafood for lunch with a well-deserved Mythos Beer. We arrived at our hotel to be met with great gusto by the owner who is a great supporter of our tour and those who come so far to pay their respects to the men of the ANZAC Corps in Greece. His greeting was so spontaneous that I thought he may break my back, but no, I survived. 2 nights here before we head back to Athens and across to Crete, but first, more to do and more to see.

Graham Fleeton.


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