On Tuesday 23rd of April, 2019 after the 9.00a.m news Bobby Gee on his breakfast show, 88.6 Island FM, will be holding an interview with Katherine Smith CMG, a British diplomat currently serving as the British Ambassador to Greece, to talk about the event at the monastery, Panagia Iperagathos in Kiliomeno, which will be held in honour of Themis Marinos, before she proceeds to the monastery for celebrations. A reminder that British nationals are welcome at the event, celebrating not only the heroism of Themis Marinos but the history that our two countries hold.
Themis Marinos and Dastard
What is Dastard?
The military operation, with the code name “DASTARD”, was set up to try and establish the best organisation and operation of secret operations during World War II, during German occupation on the Islands of Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Ithaki, Lefkada and around the sea region of Aitoloakarnania. The Islands were of strategic importance during this time as they would help give the allies a perfect advantage in gaining ground against their enemies. The mountain area of Zakynthos was the ideal spot to set up the organisation.
You may ask what does this have to do with the British ? Well, it was the Greek leader in the operations and Zakynthian born, Themis Marinos who tied our countries together. Born in Zakynthos in 1917, he later earned his economics degree. He fought against the Italians within Albanian grounds in 1940 and then the Germans in Crete in 1941, as a reserve officer. However,taken prisoner he escaped and reached Egypt by submarine, joining Greek forces there. He was chosen to attend a British special warfare training centre in Palestine, parachuting into central Greece in 1942 as the only Greek member of a 12 member team led by Lieutenant Colonel Eddie Myers. On the 23rd of April, 1944 up until the end of the occupation of the Ionian islands in November 1944 he was an active in the “Dastard” operation. Not being able to trust this type of operation to anyone he was desperate to find help, he could only trust the church and it was then he recalled his own area and the church that would be the perfect place to hold such operations.
The forest area and monastery of Panagia Iperagathos, which was a part of the famous Saint Catherine’s Monastery Sinai, in Egypt. He eventually worked his way up the ranks within the British Army to Major, and throughout his remaining years he was a foreleader not only in Greece but for the whole world.
As history played its fate and people like Themis Marinos who will be remembered for their role in fighting for freedom. It was his heroism that helped save Greece seventy five years ago and the small Island of Zakynthos will be paying tribute to this man and the Monastery which, on their part, helped save thousands.