GUNNER Ben Reeves is over the moon to be awarded the Greek War Medal – 70 years after he served in the country when it was invaded by Germany in 1941.
The 92-year-old, of Grange Road, Wilstone, was among a handful of heroes who have now been recognised for their part in the campaign for which no British medal was awarded.
Ben was part of an army that landed in Greece to defend it against a German invasion during April 1941 but the British and Greek forces were outnumbered and after losing the battle they were evacuated.
During this time Ben was in Athens General Hospital being treated for a hand wound and was left behind by his comrades as the German troops approached.
He said: “It’s rather an emotional memory because I was on my own and I didn’t know where I was going. I had been in hospital with a broken wrist.
“I thought maybe I would have got a medal. About 8,000 people were taken prisoner and I got away by a gunboat in Southern Greece. I walked many, many miles to get there and picked up some stragglers along the way.”
In 2009 the Greek government announced that it would award a medal to servicemen who had taken part in that campaign.
Ben had to get his service documents from the Ministry of Defence and send them to Athens to prove his involvement.
The whole process took two years but he was able to obtain his medal before Remembrance Day this year.
The honour was bestowed by the Minister of National Defence Mr Evangelos in Athens and then forwarded to the Greek Embassy in London where Ben was presented with it.