Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Fugitives at large, after 30 April 1941

One Australian soldier, Gunner Barnes from the 2/1st Field Regiment, had escaped by jumping from a moving train north of Salonika. He had been taken prisoner on 30 April 1941 at Kalamata. He was another victim of the failure to rescue men when they might have been saved in the last hours at Kalamata. Gunner Barnes had wandered around northern Greece for six weeks with help from Greeks. Some Greeks took him on voyage from the Mount Athos peninsula to Turkey. From there, he was able to travel to Egypt to join his unit.

More soldiers managed to escape and remained free in Greece into 1942, when they joined the growing resistance movement. The resistance were active in committing sabotage against the Germans and Italians. This was made possible by the fact that the Greek people in the countryside were relatively self-sufficient and had food and clothing to share with the fugitive soldiers. The Greek people in the cities suffered much more under the German occupation due to the lack of jobs and income. There was also a problem with inflation out of control that drove up prices in places like Athens. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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