A different type of veteran: New Zealand film maker John Irwin on the ANZAC trail in Greece

by Dr Martyn Brown — 27.5.2021

In 1989, New Zealand filmmaker John Irwin travelled to Athens and Crete to visit former Greek classmates from the London International Film School. The visit ‘to see a couple of these mates’ changed his life. On Crete, he encountered two fellow countrymen. One was a veteran of the Battle of Crete who had escaped to Egypt on a small boat while the other was the author of the book ‘Vasili, Lion of Crete’. This is about the New Zealander Dudley Perkins who fought and died while operating with Cretan partisans during the German occupation. The Battle of Crete itself lasted from 20 May to June 1 1941. It was largely a massive assault by German elite airborne forces. They were nearly defeated by an under-armed allied force comprising Greeks, Australian, New Zealand and British soldiers. Cretan civilians were also directly involved fighting the invaders.

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