New Zealand soldiers welcomed in Athens

New Zealand soldiers are greeted by the people of Athens, March 1941. The 2nd New Zealand Division had arrived in the city as part of Lustreforce – a Commonwealth force sent to help defend Greece against a feared German invasion.

When the Germans launched their invasion in early April the New Zealanders found themselves outnumbered and outgunned. After fighting a series of rearguard actions south through the country, over 50,000 Allied troops – including most of the New Zealand Division – were evacuated from southern Greece during the last week of April. The brief campaign had seen nearly 300 New Zealanders killed and over 1800 captured.

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