Middle East – Italy

Immediately after the arrival in the Middle East, of the five Avro Anson, one Dornier Do 22 and three Avro 626 which had escaped, the Hellenic Aviation began to be reorganized under the Ministry of Air Force based in Cairo.

Three Hellenic squadrons were set up, namely the 13th Light Bombing Squadron (with Avro Anson, Bristol Blenheim and Martin A-30 Baltimore a/c) as well as the 335 and 336 Fighting Squadrons (with Hawker Hurricane and Submarine Spitfire) which joined, operationally, the allied air forces, operating in common with them. A/C maintenance and repair works as well as an Air Force General Hospital were established in Cairo. High level training was offered to flying and technical personnel at the Greek training centers in S. Rhodesia and S. Africa.history8_pic2_sm

The Greek Squadrons’ war activities in the Middle East included convoy patrols, antisubmarine search, offensive patrols, reconnaissance, attacks and interceptions of the enemy air force.

In summer 1943 the Greek Fighting squadrons participated in the attack against German military targets in Crete, the most significant base of operations for the German to the Middle East.

From May to November 1944 the activities of the Greek squadrons continued in Italy where bombing, offensive reconnaissance and patrolling missions of strategic importance were carried out.

history8_pic3_smThe casualties of the Hellenic Aviation, which roused admiration among both allies and enemies, reached 70 officers and NCOs. The British Minster of REF stated inter alia:

On behalf of RAF and myself I express to you our gratitude for the invaluable assistance that the Hellenic Aviation provided as well as our admiration for its value and ability.