WWII veterans want Govt help for 75th anniversary of the Battle of Crete

Five World War Two veterans who fought in the battle of Crete in Greece say they want to go back for the 75th anniversary, and the Government should be helping them get there.

They say it’s likely the last time they will get to go.

Tony Maddon, 95, has a lot of stories from his time serving in Greece during World War Two.

He was shot, and was told he’d be evacuated with the other wounded.

“I woke up the next morning and I was still there! The orderly, he said ‘You’ve been left behind! It’s too late now’,” says Tony.

So he was left in Crete, forgotten in the darkness of his hospital bed, to be captured.

Then 20-year-old Tony became a prisoner of war, but it was the kindness of a local girl who got him through.

“She took a liking to me I think. She used to bring me up food,” he says.

Tony then helped the girl and her family move to Wellington. Their family still have a fish and chip shop in Petone.

Tony’s planning on going back to the place where he has so many memories, for the 75th anniversary in May.

He says the Government should be helping them out.

“They should do something, there’s not many of us now. We are getting pretty thin on the ground, so it’s not going to cost them a fortune.”

The Australian government pays for their veterans to travel — the New Zealand Crete veterans will have to pay for themselves.

“The Aussies look after their veterans,” says Tony.

Today some of those last veterans marched through central Pukekohe to protest the proposed flag change.

Their supporters say it’ll likely be their last visit to Crete, where they fought so hard for their country.

Minister Craig Foss says the former soldiers can contact Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand to see if they’re eligible for grants and if they are then apply for one.

But the old soldiers say funding’s been turned down before, and they want the Government to show more support.

Newshub

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