- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Frederick Smart, Company Sergeant Major
- Location of story:
- Athens, Greece
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 07 July 2005
After having seen an enormous amount of action in the war to date, on leaving Egypt in October 1944, Frederick's troop of King's Royal Rifle Corps eventually landed in the port of Piraeus. Several of their boats were blown up by mines but Frederick was lucky to be on one that got through. The German's knew the British troops were coming but instead of being greeted by gunfire they were met by the local women with flowers and kisses. The Germans had fled.
The British troops now thought they were going to have a quiet time but instead civil war broke out in Greece and the British troops were caught up trying to restore peace amongst the Greek people. Churchill came and stayed in Athens and told the whole county that no party would take over the running of the country until a democratic process was in place.
During this time tons and tons of dynamite was found in the sewers beneath the hotel where Churchill was staying. The engineers had to clear this and make the area safe and subsequently the KRR's had a regular duty checking the sewers. So the desert rats had become the sewer rats.
After peace was restored in Greece a local family invited Frederick and a friend to their home for a celebratory drink. Their family name was Peyos and they had a son of fourteen and a daughter of eight. They all became firm friends and when Frederick had to leave Athens the Peyos family were upset to see him go but promised to write regularly. They did keep in touch and letters flowed in both directions. Frederick is still in touch with the daughter Katie regularly. She always phones on his birthday. Frederick and his wife Kitty have spent many happy times with the family over the years both in Greece and in England. Their last visit to Greece was for Katie's daughter's wedding.
Having lost so many good friends in El Alamein, Italy and Greece, Frederick feels blessed that he survived and is grateful to have formed such a wonderful friendship during the war.
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