The tale of an Australian warrior and a Greek flag

Reginald Tresise on April 13, 1941, in an effort to protect the Greek flag, placed it in his satchel, keeping it as a sacred talisman

His story was narrated in the Greek Program of the State Broadcasting Corporation SBS, by the Deputy Head of the Archives, Museums and Paintings of the Koentarios Library of Kozani, Eleni Margariti.

“In 1941, after the departure of the Australian troops from Florina, and in particular the sixth Australian Division that participated in the struggle against the Nazi forces, a unit of the Division bivouacked at the 1st Gymnasium of Kozani. It was just days after the Germans bombed the city on 10 April 1941. We are talking about April 13 just before the German forces entered Kozani. Within the area where the soldiers camped at the Baltadorio Gymnasium in a 7-foot pole, as Reginald Tresise wrote in his letter to the Mayor of Kozani in April 1959, he described a flag that was tied to the pole and was made of silk , with fringes and a string and as he said the flag stood so proud that he did not want to let it fall into the hands of the Germans. So he folded it carefully and put it in his bag, taking it with him on all the fronts of the war he went and they were many,” says Mrs Margaritis.

“The Greek flag kept me alive”
The flag for Tresise was his talisman, the holy symbol of a homeland that gave a tough fight against the Nazis, and he firmly believed that it brought him luck and kept him alive.

“This Greek flag was good luck and I brought it throughout the war, wherever I took part. From Greece to the Pacific Ocean,” the Australian soldier noted in his letters.

The flag wandered along with its owner on all fronts of the war, from the Greek countryside, Crete and the Libyan Sea to the Pacific Ocean, and after many years returned to Kozani again.

“After many years searching in his stuff he found the flag and he was so proud he said he did not want to keep it for himself but to return it where he had found it, to the school he stayed, for hundreds of students to see it and to know its story,” Reginald Tresise said in a letter sent to the Mayor of Kozani with the aim of returning our national symbol, as the deputy head of the city’s library, archives, museums and paintings, Eleni Margariti noted.

Reginald Tresise rescued the Greek flag from falling into the hands of the Germans, afterward saying that the only thing left to me by the war was “the Greek flag and my life”, eventually returning it to the city of Kozani in 1959.