Memorial Service (Mnimosino)
40th Anniversary of the Empire Patrol Disaster
Monastery of St John of the Mount
Holmes Road, Forrestfield, Perth, Western Australia
29 September 1985
Officiating clergy: The Very Rev. Fr George Litas
On the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the Empire Patrol the Western Australian survivors, their relatives and friends gathered at the Monastery to give thanks for their survival and to pray for those who perished in the disaster. Apart from private individual memorial services this was arguably the first service of such magnitude to be held worldwide for many years. Records indicate a previous Mnimosino being held in 1949 in Port Said, Egypt, at the time of the dedication of the Cenotaph to the deceased Castellorizians which was erected by the local Castellorizian Association with the financial assistance of affiliated Australian bodies.
The Empire Patrol Memorial Service Port Said in 1949
This commemorative event in Perth in 1985 was organized following a meeting by a group of Castellorizians at the home of the late Mr George Mallis and wife Evangelia. The group consisted of Dr Paul Boyatzis (Chair), Mr MGM Kailis, Mr George (Irakli) Kakulas, Mr Nick Loucas, Mr George Mallis and Mrs Katina Verevis.
The ceremony was attended by many with a wide representation of dignitaries from Government, Councils and local Associations. Mr Athanasios Callidopoulos, the consul, represented the Greek Government. A comprehensive article was reported in the West Australian by Hugh Schmitt which disseminated the Empire Patrol story and aroused the interest of Greek Australians and others to this tragic event.
40th Commemoration Handout
The service was recorded on video for historical purposes. It included a wreath laying ceremony and a Memorial Board on which were listed the names of the deceased. The construction of the Board which was of West Australian Jarrah timber, was organized by the Committee of Survivors and as the inscription reads was donated by Mrs Nina Battalis (nee Mihalakis) who was gravely ill at the time. Sadly to say Nina passed away few days later. The Board was sent to Castellorizo and is now kept in the Cathedral of Saints Constantine and Helene. The Castellorizian Association of WA was presented with a memorial plaque.
40th Anniversary Memorial Service
As a gesture to honor senior survivors individual pearls were presented to each as a memento of the event. These were generously donated by Mr MGM Kailis.
The organizing group, following the official religious ceremony, hosted a social function in the grounds of the Monastery. It was very much enjoyed by all. Numerous photographs supplement the video produced by Paul C Boyatzis of this solemn historical event.
40th Anniversary of the Empire Patrol Disaster Photographs
The Consul for Greece, Mr Athanasios Callidopoulos, officiated at the 40th Anniversary Memorial Service
for the sinking of the Empire Patrol, in Perth on September 29 1985.
The Very Rev. Fr. George Litas conducted the Liturgy and Mnimosino.
The photographs below showing the Board in the entrance of the Cathedral were made available by Leon Boyatzis (Dr Paul Boyatzis' son) and were taken during one of his trips to Castellorizo. In one of the photos Leon is seen holding the Board at the Church entrance.
Memorial Plaque listing the names of the Castellorizians who perished in the disaster
Leon Boyatzis holding the Memorial Plaque at the entrance of the
Cathedral of Saints Constantine and Helene in Castellorizo
The 50th Anniversary Commemorations
As a result of the 40th Memorial Service of the Empire Patrol tragedy, interest in the event was aroused world wide amongst Castellorizians and others. It appeared that the available information was scanty and many misconceptions existed. Dr Paul Boyatzis who is one of the survivors of the tragedy undertook the project of researching the event with the aim of recording the story. To supplement material on hand collected over the years, he undertook research of official documents from various sources including the Public Records Office in London UK.
With the year 1995 approaching, it was anticipated that the 50th Anniversary of the event would be commemorated and Dr Boyatzis set this as a goal for the production of a publication containing the collected material.
About that time Mr Nicholas G Pappas launched in Perth his most comprehensive book Castellorizo… An Illustrated History of the Island and its Conquerors. Within hours following a discussion between the two, the decision was reached to embark on the publication of a book documenting the story of the Empire Patrol in detail and to aim for the launch in September 1995, the 50th Anniversary of the disaster.
The interest in Castellorizo of his Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, is well known. In discussions with him together with Mr Nick Lucas at the time of one of the Archbishop’s visit to Perth, his Eminence appeared very interested and obviously moved by the tragedy. In fact he kindly advised that he would officiate at the 50th commemorative church service.
As September 1995 approached “Embers on the Sea” was published and then launched both in Sydney and Perth. Both functions were very well attended by Castellorizians and friends with many dignitaries present including church representatives and federal and state politicians.
The story and launch attracted a very pleasing huge interest amongst the public at large. It was extensively reported Australia wide in the media; press, television and radio including articles appearing in overseas newspapers and magazines.
The book, Embers on the Sea - The Story of the Empire Patrol Disaster, was launched in Sydney by the Hon. Laurie Brereton MP (seated at front centre of photo) Minister for Transport, Minister for Industrial Relations on September 29th 1995. Seated to the left is Senator Nicholas Bolkus (of Castellorizian descent).
Mr Theodore Passas, Consul for Greece, officiated at the launching of the Embers on the Sea in Perth
on September 8th 1995
Dr Paul Boyatzis, co-author of Embers on the Sea, presents a copy of the book to rescuer William (Bill) Hay
Mr Maurice Conway speaking on behalf of the rescuers at the Book Launch in Perth
Following the popular and well attended 40th Anniversary Commemoration at the St John monastery in Forrestfield, the organizing committee decided to hold the event at the same location. With the co-operation of the Castellorizian Association of WA, a joint event was organized for the 15th October 1995 to commemorate those who perished in the Empire Patrol tragedy and for the annual memorial service for the Great Benefactors of Castellorizo, Santrape and Anastasia Louka.
The St John of the Mount monastery was again full to capacity with hundreds of Castellorizians and friends comingling in the congenial grounds and enjoying fellowship. With the religious ceremony completed excellent lunch was provided for the participants and guests. The social and catering aspects of the event were as usual co- ordinated superbly by Nick Lucas whilst the day’s activities were captured on video for posterity by Arthur Athans. Many familiar faces appear on video including Mr & Mrs Nicholas Pappas from Sydney who very kindly honoured us with their presence.
As promised arrangements were on hand for his Eminence Archbishop Stylianos to personally officiate at the Memorial Service, however last minute urgent ecclesiastical matters prevented him from attending. We are grateful to his Eminence for arranging for his Grace Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis to represent him. Bishop Ezekiel was assisted by the Very Rev. Fr George Litas.
The religious aspect of these memorial services relating to the Empire Patrol tragedy is well understood both for the souls of the departed and in thanks giving for those who survived. Beyond this, fellowship amongst Castellorizians and friends had been created and enjoyed. Further more history has been recorded and added to Castellorizo’s past. The amount of information that has come to hand since the Empire Patrol story was disseminated in the last few years was unexpected. It appears to be an evolving ongoing event and hence our decision to create this website and invite others to contribute further.
The 50th Anniversary Commemorations Photographs
The Memorial Service on the 50th anniversary of the sinking of the Empire Patrol was conducted at the Monastery of Saint John of the Mount, Perth Western Australia on October 15th 1995, by his Grace Bishop Ezekiel, representing, his Eminence, Archbishop Stylianos, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia
The 65th Anniversary Commemoration on Castellorizo
Many Castellorizians and friends including those from different parts of Australia were present on Castellorizo on the 29th of September 2010, the 65th Anniversary of the sinking of the Empire Patrol. Unfortunately the expected arrangements to commemorate this significant day in the history of our Island did not eventuate. However, to honour the memory and to pray for the souls of the 33 compatriots who perished in the tragedy, an impromptu Commemorative Service, “Epimnimosinos Theisis”, was conducted on the actual day of the Anniversary of the disaster at the Cathedral of Saints Constantine and Helene. Reverent Father George officiated at the Service and was assisted by the chanter, Lazaros Lazarakis. The emotional fervor of all present was most evident during the reading of the names of the deceased who consisted mainly of women and children. At the conclusion of the Service some of those present gathered at the steps of the “Santrapeia Scholi”, the traditional photographic location, for a commemorative portrait. Many familiar faces can be identified in the photograph below.
A group photograph at the conclusion of the Commemorative Service held at St Constantine and Helene Church on the 65th anniversary of the sinking of the Empire Patrol
Two of the creators of this website, Dr Paul (Apostolos ) Boyatzis, himself a survivor of the tragedy, and Allan (Agapitos) Cresswell together with their families were able to schedule their holiday to Greece to be in Castellorizo on September the 29th. This gave them the opportunity to interact with other Castellorizians who survived the tragedy and exchange stories and incidents of that tragic period in 1945. The following photos and captions depict moments of their encounters.
In a previous ceremony, on 13 September 2010, to celebrate the 67 th Anniversary of the liberation of Castellorizo by the allies in 1943, a Memorial relating to the Empire Patrol Disaster was officially unveiled. The Memorial was commissioned by the Municipality of the Island with the financial assistance of the Australian Friends of Kastellorizo. The elegant sculpture with the inscribed names of those persons who perished in the tragedy was created by the artist, Alexandros Zygouris, and stands at Australia Square, in the vicinity of the church of Saint George of the Well (Tou Pigathiou).
The Empire Patrol Memorial located outside Saint George of the Well Church
Alexandros Zygouris completing the Empire Patrol Memorial watched by Doctor Paul Boyatzis
Allan Cresswell with Empire Patrol survivors, Doctor Paul Boyatzis and Maria Papastatikou (nee Koungra) (Local Castellorizian)
Empire Patrol survivors, Doctor Paul Boyatzis and Yannis Kizalas (Local Castellorizian)
Empire Patrol survivors, Doctor Paul Boyatzis and Maria Lazarakis (nee Roditi)
View of the Empire Patrol Memorial showing the sculptured relief
View of the Empire Patrol Memorial showing the first set of names of those who died
View of the Empire Patrol Memorial showing the second set of names of those who died
Reverend Father George
Maltezos and dignitaries at the unveiling of the Empire Patrol Memorial at Castellorizo on 13 September 2010
70th Anniversary of the Empire Patrol Disaster
Photos courtesy Paul Boyatzis, Kostas Asvestis and Allan Cresswell
The Perth (Western Australia) survivors of the “Empire Patrol Disaster” commemorated this tragic event with a Memorial Service (Mnimosinon) which was held at the Church of The Annunciation of Our Lady (Evangelismos) on Sunday 4th October 2015. The Service was conducted by the Parish Priest, the Reverend Father Emmanuel Stamatiou, together with the Very Reverend Father George Litas, who also officiated previously at the 40th and 50th Commemorations.
The “surviving organizers”, under the sponsorship of the Castellorizian Association of Western Australia and facilitation of Mr Nick Lucas supplemented the religious Service with a social function which was held at the church hall. Refreshments were served to the many Castellorizians and friends present and were reminded of the history of the sad episode of 29 September 1945.
Prayers were offered for the repose of the souls of the 33 departed Kastellorizians whilst at the function the historical aspect of the tragedy was described eloquently by Mrs Katina Verevis. Fellow survivor, Mrs Katina Asvestis, in a very emotional tone read a poem specifically written for the tragic event. Mr Andoni Koufos, whose relatives survived the “Navagion”(sinking of the boat) added comments relating to the findings in Kastellorizo when he and other able bodied men arrived in the first preparatory contingent of refugees from the camp in Nuseirat (Palestine).
To supplement the above verbal descriptions, Dr Paul Boyatzis prepared a photographic display of the tragedy and the subsequent Memorial Services of 1985 1995 and 2010. The first two Services were held at the Monastery of Saint John of the Mount in Forrestfield (Perth). The third Commemoration (29 September 2010) took place in Kastellorizo where a Mnimosino was held at the Cathedral of Saints Constantine and Helene. Paul Boyatzis and the current President of the Castellorizian Association of WA, Allan Cresswell, together with their families, were fortunate to be present.
The photographs of the burning / sinking of the ship and those of the subsequent rescue of survivors together with scenes from the refugee camp of Nuseirat were obtained from the Imperial War Museum in London.
The surviving members of this historic Kastellorizian tragedy give thanks to the Almighty and extend their gratitude to their compatriots and friends for their presence at the Memorial Service and for their support.