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JULIE PEAKMAN Memories of the Battle of Leros, 1943

LEROS War Cemetery

Winston Churchill said: ‘If it were not for the bravery of the Greeks and their courage, the outcome of WWII would be undetermined.’

On Leros and neighbouring islands, civilians alive today still remember they were starving as no food was getting through the blockades.

Group of SBS in Training in the Desert

The first British Officer to arrive in Leros after the Italian surrender on 8th September 1943 was Captain George Jellicoe, Leader of the Special Boat Service

Nikos Pyrovolikos

Under cover Greek agents were helping the SBS – men like Nikos Pyrovolikos. He worked with a group of other Greek civilians using fishing boats.



DESERT GROUP LT. Colonel Guy Prendergast has


(R) made

commander of the Long


Desert Group and Jake Easonsmith (L) his deputy. The LRDG were to fight




Clidi, Leros.

and Mount



Officer Ted Johnson, Royal Irish Fusiliers

Greek Destroyer Queen Olga

The Queen Olga had been used to help move British troops and equipment from Haifia to Leros . Ted Johnson remembered its sinking; he told me; ‘My first casualty on Leros was a Greek sailor who was killed on Olga. I helped pull him out of the water.’

HMS Intrepid

The British destroyer Intrepid went down that same night.

Once the bombing started, it was relentless and continued nonstop over a period of 2 months until the day of surrender


After the surrender prisoners were told to assemble at Alinda

Anders Lassen SBS

Jake Easonsmith LRDG

Alan Redfern LRDG

Danish soldier Anders Lassen survived the Battle of Leros, but was killed in action in April 1945; Jake Easonsmith LRDG was killed on the last day of the battle on 16th November. He now lies in Leros war cemetery with his collegue, Alan Redfern, also killed in action on Leros.

RIF Private Paddy McCrystal recalled the loss of his comrades: He was hit in the head with a large piece of shrapnel, leaving a scar he would bear for the rest of his life.

Cpt. Clifford Clarke and Sgt. George Hatcher, Queen’s Own Royal West Kents, escaped in small rowing boats were. First to Lipsi, then on to Turkey They recalled the kindness of the locals on Leros & Lipsi who helped them escape.

Stalag VIIA at Moosburg, showing British POWs talking to new inmates captured on the Greekisland of Leros


intervento al convegno: 75th anniversary of Battle of Leros, Teatro Comunale di Lakki, Leros (GR) 26 settembre 2018


intervento al convegno: 75th anniversary of Battle of Leros, Teatro Comunale di Lakki, Leros (GR) 26 settembre 2018