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Join the Navy and See the World: 14. Greece

by Dave Thacker

Contributed by 
Dave Thacker
People in story: 
Leonard Stanley Thacker
Location of story: 
Piraeus, Salonika, Greece
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
18 October 2005

View from Thruster, approaching Salonika, 1944

This story is submitted to the People's War Website by David Thacker, a volunteer from BBC Radio Northampton, on behalf of his Mother, Isabella, wife of the late Len Thacker, and has been added to the site with her permission. She fully understands and accepts the site's terms and conditions.
Here are Len's words written in a W/T Operator's Log book, about visits to Greece in 1944. He is believed to have written this soon after the war's end:
"After ferrying tanks and armour to Ancona, we proceeded to Taranto and loaded paratroops and anti- tank guns and small artillery. We then sailed in slow convoy. On the way, our Captain gave us the general idea. Greece, he said, was our destination, and it wasn’t an invasion, but a re-occupation. The Germans had only just pulled out of Athens and British troops were to be landed to stabilise the position and prevent the enemy from returning. We were told to expect little opposition. Few enemy aircraft were known to be about, and our naval force which comprised about 8 cruisers, several escort carriers and many destroyers, was ample to protect us from any seaborne attacks. The only menace was mines, for it was known that the whole area was heavily mined.
However all went well and we arrived in Piraeus (Port of Athens) just a few days after the Germans left.
The people, who, for so long had been held under, gave us a terrific welcome. Flags were everywhere. Millions thronged the docks and cheered and clapped madly as we came alongside. The applause was terrific, particularly when the troops, vehicles and guns rolled ashore. They were simply mobbed. Then our liberty men were allowed off and they too were mobbed, and wildly cheered everywhere they went.
Great celebrations were taking part next day as we pulled out.
We later made more trips to Piraeus and were also in the first convoy to reach Salonika. The convoy, led by Cruiser Argonaut, passed through the heaviest enemy minefield known, without casualty."

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