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κ. Λάμπης Εγγλέζος, καθηγητής και στρατιωτικός ιστορικός απο την Μελβούρνη. Ο κ. Εγγλέζος μας ενημερώενει για τους αγνοούμενους Αυστραλούς στρατιώτες στην Βέβη Φλωρίνης και στον Ισθμό της Κορίνθου.
ΡΑΔΙΟ ΕΡΕΥΝΑ ΓΙΑ ΑΓΝΟΟΥΜΕΝΟΥΣ ΑΥΣΤΡΑΛΟΥΣ ΣΤΡΑΤΙΩΤΕΣ ΣΤΗΝ ΕΛΛΑΔΑ
Νέα εκστρατεία για τον εντοπισμό αγνοούμενων Αυστραλών στρατιωτών στην Ελλάδα επισήμανε ο γνωστός καθηγητής Λάμπης Εγγλέζος σε συνέντευξη που παραχώρησε στον Ελληνικό ραδιοσταθμό SYMBAN WORLD RADIO του Σίδνεϊ.
Ο κ. Εγγλέζος έγινε γνωστός σε όλη την Αυστραλία μετά την ανακάλυψη 162 Αυστραλών στρατιωτών που σκοτώθηκαν στις 16 Ιουλίου του 1916 στην περιοχή Fromelles της Γαλλίας και θάφτηκαν από Γερμανούς σε ομαδικούς τάφους, χωρίς κανένα ενδεικτικό. Τα λείψανα των στρατιωτών εντοπίστηκαν το 2008 από τον Ελληνικής καταγωγής καθηγητή ο οποίος ξεκίνησε την έρευνα για τον εντοπισμό των τάφων, όταν θέλοντας να συμβάλλει στη δημιουργία του Συνδέσμου Συγγενών και Φίλων Στρατιωτών του Α’ Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου, άρχισε να μελετά την μάχη της Fromelles και να αναλύει τις λεπτομέρειες που συγκέντρωνε.
Μιλώντας στην εκπομπή “Ράδιο Συνεντεύξεις” ο κ. Εγγλέζος ζήτησε την βοήθεια του παρουσιαστή κ. Θωμά Τσαμούρα και των διασυνδέσεων του σταθμού SYMBAN στην Ελλάδα για τον εντοπισμό 20 έως 25 στρατιωτών που σκοτώθηκαν στην περιοχή Βεύη Φλωρίνης τον Απρίλιο του 1941 και άλλους 10 έως 12 σε περιοχή κοντά στον Ισθμό της Κορίνθου την ίδια περίοδο. Οι Αυστραλοί στρατιώτες θάφτηκαν σε άγνωστα σημεία των άνω περιοχών από Γερμανούς στρατιώτες.
Ο κ. Εγγλέζος αφού περιέγραψε τις περιοχές όπου χάθηκαν οι Αυστραλοί στρατιώτες καθώς και αυτόπτες μαρτυρίες ότι θάφτηκαν από Γερμανούς στρατιώτες, επισήμανε “είμαστε υποχρεωμένοι να τους βρούμε και να τους θάψουμε κανονικά όπως αξίζει σε όλους τους ανθρώπους”.
Ο κ. Τσαμούρας δεσμεύτηκε να συντονίσει την έρευνα για στοιχεία που ίσως οδηγήσουν στον εντοπισμό των λείψανων των στρατιωτών χρησιμοποιώντας τους ραδιοφωνικούς σταθμούς της Φλώρινας και της Κορίνθου για την ενημέρωση των κατοίκων των δύο περιοχών καθώς και την περισυλλογή όλων των πληροφοριών που τυχών προκύψουν.
MISSING AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS IN GREECE
Lambis Englezos AM, amateur historian and school teacher was responsible for discovering mass war graves from World War I near Fromelles in France.
Lambis’ interest in Fromelles developed from the respect he has for the survivors, some of whom he met in the 1990s. Since 2002, Mr Englezos, has gathered evidence to back claim that aerial photos sourced from the Imperial War Museum showed graves behind German lines in 1916 and recovered the missing soldiers.
The Battle of Fromelles, occurred in France between 19 July and 20 July 1916, during World War I. The action was intended partly as a diversion from the Battle of the Somme that was taking place about 80 kilometres to the south. The operation, carried out midway between the British-occupied village of Fleurbaix and that of Fromelles behind the German lines, sought to retake a salient just north of the latter, situated at about 16 kilometres from the city of Lille.
Fromelles was a combined operation between British troops and the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). It would be the first occasion that the AIF saw action on the Western Front.
After a night and a day of fighting, 1,500 British and 5,533 Australian soldiers were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. The Australian War Memorial describes the battle as “the worst 24 hours in Australia’s entire history.”
Members of the Australian 53rd Battalion on July 19, 1916 before the Battle of Fromelles. Only three of the men pictured survived the battle; all three were wounded.
The bodies of Allied soldiers killed in the area re-taken by the Germans were buried in mass graves shortly after the battle. Towards the end of the twentieth century speculation arose regarding the existence of an unmarked and forgotten mass grave near Fromelles, containing the remains of Allied soldiers killed during the battle and subsequently buried by the Germans.
Towards the end of the twentieth century speculation arose regarding the existence of an unmarked and forgotten mass grave near Fromelles, containing the remains of Allied soldiers killed during the battle and subsequently buried by the Germans.
Research by Lambis Englezos, led to a site in a field at the edge of a small wood on the outskirts of Fromelles called “Pheasant Wood”. Bodies were transported there by German soldiers on July 22, 1916, before being buried in eight pits measuring approximately 10 metres long, 2.2 metres wide and five metres deep. Englezos believed that these grave pits had not been discovered during the official post-war burial campaigns.
In 2007, a non-invasive geophysical survey, conducted by Glasgow University Archaeological Research Department (GUARD), found readings consistent with pits containing the remains of hundreds of soldiers. A subsequent metal detector survey led to the discovery of Australian Army artifacts at the site.
On May 25, 2008, an archaeological team from GUARD began an exploratory dig at the site. The first conclusive evidence of human remains was discovered on May 29. Six burial pits were excavated and human skeletal remains were found in five of them. . It was estimated that several hundred soldiers had been buried at the site.
It was announced on July 31, 2008 that all human remains would be exhumed from the mass burial pits and re-buried with full military honours in individual plots at a new war cemetery, situated as close as possible to where the soldiers were found.
The V.C. Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial near Fromelles.
In April 2009 it was announced that DNA samples would be taken from the remains to increase the chances of identification.The original burial location was unsuitable for a permanent cemetery because of regular flooding, and difficulty of access for visitors. The site for the new permanent cemetery was selected in late 2008 and is located approximately 120 metres from where the bodies were found. Exhumation of bodies began in May 2009 and ended on 14 September, at which point the skeletal remains of 250 allied soldiers had been recovered.
Lambis Englezos spent a significant amount of time in Fromelles. Oxford Archaeology initially refused him access to the site, but after it was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, they relented. Once he was allowed to become involved again, he provided assistance, particularly in briefing members of the project team on details of the battle and guiding them around its key sites. On June 7, 2009 Lambis was honoured by the Australian government, when he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), in the General Division. His citation read: “For service to the community through research and advocacy roles relating to Australian soldiers of the Great War buried in Fromelles, France”.
By the end of January 2010, most of the work on the new cemetery had been completed and on 30 January 2010, the first body was re-interred with full military honours. Today 110 of the 250 lost Australian soldiers at Fromelles have been positively identified using DNA. and other methods.
Lambis’ association with Symban World Radio and Tom Tsamouras, the presenter of the porgramme “Radio Interviews”, began in November 2011 when the Fromelles story was covered. The story drew attention both within Australia as well as from Greece, prompting an audio copy of the interview to be made permanently available on the station’s web page http://www.greekworldmedia.wordpress.com.
In early January 2012, Lambis received information about 20-25 Australian soldiers who had been killed and buried by Germans in April 1941 at Vevi in Florina and a further 10-12 near the Corinthian Canal Bridge, at the same time.
Members of the Australian 2/1st Anti-Tank Regiment resting, soon after their withdrawal from the Vevi area.
Requesting the assistance of Symban World Radio and of the networking it has with other broadcasters in Greece, another interview was done on the programme, covering the missing Australian soldiers in Vevi Florina and the Corinthian Canal bridge.
Lambis emphasized in his interview “we are obligated to search, locate and bury these men with the dignity that is deserved by them”. It is believed that there is local knowledge about the burial site of the men at Vevi Florina. An Australian soldier who visited the area less than 3 years ago spoke to a person who eye witnessed German soldiers burying Australians at the edge of a road, above a village, on a rock face that faces FYROM. It is also believed that the original level of the burial, rock face and road has been built over by a new road.
To locate this person or any other persons with any information which could lead to the location of the buried Australian soldiers, newspaper articles have been placed in all the local newspapers as well as community announcements through the town radio stations. Contact has also been made with local police as well as municipal authorities.
As information filters back to Australia, people with information will be interviewed so that the public are also informed with the progress of the investigation.