The Royal Australian Mint has released two exquisitely designed collectable coins, to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the battles of Crete and Greece. The release of the coins was announced at the commemorative wreath-laying ceremony on 14 May at the Australian Hellenic Memorial.
During the Second World War in 1941, Australian and Allied troops were sent to the island of Crete, to assist in its defence against the Axis forces. Whilst both the battle of Crete and that in the mainland Greece ended in ultimate defeat for the Allies, the Germans and Axis forces did suffer an unexpectedly large number of casualties and the bond between Greece and Australia was strengthened – still evident to this day.
Royal Australian Mint CEO Mr Ross MacDiarmid said the commemoration of significant periods of conflict, like the Battle of Greece and Crete, was equally as important to remember during this Anzac centenary year.
“The Royal Australian Mint has adopted an important role in recognising a century of service, capturing the history to commemorate the sacrifice made by our soldiers,” said Mr MacDiarmid.
“These coins will serve as a reminder of Australia’s involvement in the Battle of Greece and Crete, providing a tangible keepsake to share the story for many years to come.”
The ceremony included many prominent representatives from the Greek and Cretan communities, including veterans who were involved in the battles and each presented with their own keepsake.
The President of the Hellenic Club of Canberra Mr John Kalokerinos and the President of the Cretan Association of Canberra and Districts Limited representing the Cretan Federation for Australia and New Zealand Mr George Katheklakis said they were pleased to see the battles recognised as part of the Official Anzac Centenary Coin Program.
“The contribution and sacrifice Australians made, standing side-by-side with the Greeks in these battles, is an important part of common history between Australia and Greece and the Greek community are honoured to see this story being remembered,” said Mr Kalokerinos.
“The Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand is proud to be associated with this historic event that will enable current and future generations to remember and honour those individuals that fought an epic battle to ensure our freedom,” said Mr Katheklakis.
The new coin designs are part of the Royal Australian Mint’s three year Australia at War series and each feature an intricate design capturing the battleground with soldiers side-by-side in combat.
The collectable 50 cent coins retail at Aus$10.00 each and can be purchased from the Mint’s eShop: https://eshop.ramint.gov.au/default.aspx.
The Mint has partnered with the Australian War Memorial to develop all of the coins in this series and worked with their historians for accuracy and use of imagery for design inspiration.