The following two paragraphs are an excerpt from an article titled Greek Tragedies, which appeared in the May/June 2012 issue of Legion Magazine. The article is part of a regular Air Force history column which appears in the magazine. This article and several of it’s predecessors covers Canadian Airmen in WWII, who fought the war with British Air Forces – as members of the RCAF but as part of the British units. The article can be found here http://www.legionmagazine.com/en/index.php/2012/06/greek-tragedies-air-force-part-51/.

Some members of the RCAF had unique experiences in aerial support of Greek guerrilla bands. Flt. Lt. Edwin J. Stockall of Kelliher, Sask., who had enlisted in the RCAF Construction and Engineering Branch, narrowly escaped capture in North Africa in 1942, and had worked with tactical bombers in Tunisia. On Sept. 26, 1944, Allied forces landed in southern Greece where they met weak opposition from a few German soldiers and Greek collaborators. Stockall’s task was to turn an improvised airstrip used by Spitfires into a forward operating base capable of handling Dakota transport aircraft.

Hundreds of civilian volunteers used hand tools to fill craters, and Stockall put prisoners to work improvising night landing flares from reeds soaked in oil and gasoline. British soldiers, meanwhile, cleared mines, and on Oct. 2 the first Dakotas were landing. The civilian workers had been recruited and organized largely by ELAS, the largest Greek resistance group which essentially governed three-fifths of occupied Greece. Rival Greek partisans had been fighting the ELAS and the Germans for over a year. When British troops attempted to disarm the various groups, they found themselves at war with ELAS. Stockall witnessed a virtual “Allied in Wonderland” situation—cheered as liberators in October 1944, and uncertain who to trust by December. He was witnessing the beginning of the Greek civil war—one of the most brutal conflicts in Europe—which would last until 1948.

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