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Defence relations between Greece and the UK are excellent and go back in history. British philhellenes fought in the Greek Struggle for Independence from the Ottoman Empire (1821 – 1828). In the hearts and minds of the Greeks, Captain Frank Hastings and Lord Byron, together with other brave men and women, entered the Pantheon of Heroes. The battle of Navarino (October 20th, 1827), the Thessalonica (Saloniki) Campaign (WW I) and the battle of Crete (WW II) are only some of the major historic events that shaped the common military history of UK and Greece.
The Greek Commandos of the ‘Sacred Company’, together with the Hellenic Army, Navy and Air Force, fought side by side with our British friends, from the start to the end of WW II, protecting our common interests and values. Brigadier Eddie Myers, Colonel Montague Woodhouse and Major Patrick Leigh Fermor, together with the Greek resistance, led spectacular Special Operations, including the destruction of Gorgopotamos Bridge in Roumeli and the capture and evacuation of the German Commander of Crete in occupied Greece.
Nowadays, the two countries are both NATO member states and partners in many Defence and Security initiatives (military exercises and training, military personnel exchange and mutual academic and technology programs). Therefore, there is close cooperation on a bilateral and multilateral level. Greece and UK have signed the following documents of bilateral cooperation:
a. Memorandum of Understanding for the support of Visiting Forces that operate under NATO mandates (1982).
b. Memorandum of Understanding for Defence Equipment cooperation(1983).
c. Agreement of Cooperation between the two Ministries of Defence for the exchange of geographical data (1994).
d. Technical Agreement of cooperation between the two Hydrographic Services (1998)
e. Technical Agreement for supporting the Visiting British Forces that participated in operation “JOINT GUARANTOR” (2000).
f. Memorandum of Understanding for the organisation of military exercises and training and the support of the respective Visiting Forces.
Defence diplomacy is an important element of foreign relations and as such, the Defence Attaché is an integral member of all Greek diplomatic missions abroad. In London, he is traditionally a Navy Captain and he is responsible for facilitating Greek and UK cooperation in all aspects of Defence and Security, including Defence Technology and Procurements.