Monthly Archives: January 2013
The Dodecanese campaign of WWII was an attempt by the Allies, mostly British, to capture the Italian-held Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea following the surrender of Italy in Sep 43, and to use them as bases against the German-controlled Balkans. The Allied effort failed, with the whole of the Dodecanese falling to the Germans within two months, and the Allies suffering great losses in men (4,800+) and capital ships, against German losses of less than 1,800 men and just 15 landing craft. The operations in the Dodecanese, lasting from 8 Sep – 22 Nov 43, resulted in one of the great last German victories in the war before the tide turned against them.
In September / October 1943, elements of 2901, 2902,2903, 2907, 2908 and 2909 Sqns became the first RAF Regiment units to deploy by air with all their weapons on Operation Accolade, the invasion of Cos in the Dodecanese. Over 250 gunners fought alongside the DLI and the SBS in a three week campaign which eventually saw the airhead at Antimachia, overrun. Many of the survivors fought on and took to the hills. Some 60 DLI with some gunners also escaped by raft with SBS assistance and eventually got to Famagusta in Cyprus. Many more were captured and eventually ended up in the Stalag Luft camps in Germany and participated in the Death March to Fallingbostle
We have had contact from Pauline Bevan, who’s father served on Leros in the 1943 Dodecanese Campaign. Those surviving members of that campaign are planning a 70th anniversary of the action in Sept / Oct this year. It will take the form of a bench dedicated to those who fell, at the National Arboretum at Alrewas
Many of the veterans will be close to 90 and the families of those passed will be heavily involved in honouring their dead. Should anyone who participated or has family ties with someone who was there and would like to be part of this anniversary please contact Pauline on 0118 9342563 or e-mail email@example.com To any surviving gunners, it would be invaluable to be able to pass your words on to our young men of today and should you feel able and want to do so, please contact the Editor of the Flash.