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Battle of Crete Memorial Special Lecture: Maleme – Fulcrum of War

altAustralian historian and author Dr Peter Ewer, will present a lecture about the Battle of Crete on Thursday 3 August, at the Greek Centre, as a part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne.

According to Dr Ewer, the ‘battle for Crete’ in May 1941, was in fact a series of quite separate battles, in which the defenders were successful, except for one – at Maleme aerodrome. That single defeat on May 20 would result in the loss of Crete as a whole, and in this lecture, Dr Ewer explores the reasons for the loss of the aerodrome, using contemporary footage of the battlefield, together with interviews from surviving veterans. He provides fascinating insights into the fighting at Maleme, which would determine the fate of the whole of Crete.

Dr Ewer analyses the battle in detail, beginning with the plans of defending General, the New Zealander Bernard Freyburg, He had come out of retirement in 1939 to take command of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), and faced on Crete complex tactical problems which few had seen before. Freyburg feared most of all an invasion from the sea, and in attempting to meet that threat, he left the vital ground at Maleme too weakly defended, with disastrous results.

Dr Peter Ewer is published in internationally renowned academic journals the Journal of Military History (University of Virginia). He has also published in the Journal of Transport History (University of Manchester Press, UK), and a range of local history journals, including Australian Historical Studies (University of Melbourne). Forgotten Anzacs: the campaign in Greece, 1941, published in 2008, was the first extensive re-examination of the Greek campaign since the publication of the official histories in Australia and New Zealand in the 1950s. The revised edition of the book published in 2016, incorporates fresh archival research into British planning for the campaign, shedding new light on the ANZAC contribution to the defence of the Greece. Peter served as the historical advisor to the 42nd Street Memorial Trust, the community organisation that built the memorial at Tsikalaria Street, Tsikalaria, Crete, to commemorate the fighting there on 27 May 1941, and unveiled by the New Zealand Governor General on 19 May 2016.

His other books include: Wounded Eagle: the bombing of Darwin and Australia’s air defence scandal (published in 2009), Storm over Kokoda: Australia’s epic battle for the skies over New Guinea (released in 2011) and The Long Road to Changi: Australia’s greatest military defeat published in September, 2013

When: Thursday 3 August 2017, 7.00pm
Where: Greek Centre (Delphi Bank Mez, 1678 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne)

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