460 Lancaster 5

DIOMEDE ALEXANDRATOS

Diomede Alexandratos was born in Shepparton on 6 February 1922.  His paternal grandfather, Efstathios Alexandratos, was a ship's captain from Ithaca who migrated to Australia in the 1880s and settled in Bendigo.  Diomedes's father Andreas (1872-1950) followed suit in 1901 and started his own business as a fruit vendor in central Melbourne, which enabled him to bring out his two brothers, and later his wife Sophia, from Greece.  Together, the three men operated a successful cafe in Elizabeth Street until 1914, when the partnership ended.  Andreas and Sophia then moved to Shepparton, where they established the town's first cafe. Graduating from Caulfield Grammar in 1940, the young Diomedes Alexandratos worked in a land surveyor’s office and drafted plans for factories. In December 1941, the day after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he decided to join the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force). From March 25 to August 5, 1942, he served in the 4th Anti-Aircraft Regiment. He enlisted in RAAF for aircrew training on August 6, 1942, in No.1 REC Center at the age of 20 years old, and ....

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Diomedes 2a
RAF, Lancaster B III, JB739, No 406 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, January 1945
Pakis 14

JAMES PAPAZOGLAKIS

James "Pakis" Papazoglakis, was born April 7, 1923, in New York City, NY. He was the son of Andonios Hatzidimitris Papazoglakis and Andronique Papazoglakis, who immigrated to the United States from Alatsata, in the Smyrna area of Asia Minor. He arrived in Ellis Island, New York on November 16, 1907. The couple also had a daughter named Catherine. James was raised as a normal NY kid for the time. He had a bike and a paper route. He played stickball in the streets and tried going to as many Dodger games as possible. Jim finished high school as WW2 was starting. Because he was too young, his enlistment papers required his parents’ signature. After his father refused to sign for a position in the corps of engineers (because building bridges was dangerous) Jim got him to agree to the Navy, where he served in the "less" perilous position of a tail gunner on a TBF Grummond Avenger Torpedo Bomber. It must be noted that he enlisted against his father's objections because as he said to his son, "they took one country away from us and not another." With WW2 in full scale during 1942, James decided to enlist in the US Navy on December 15, 1942, in the Navy Receiving Station (NRS) New York and he ....

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Pakis 2a
AVENGER clarabelle
Stopulos 1

JIM STOPULOS

Captain James C. Stopulos was born in Davenport, Iowa, on May 22, 1917, the son of Greek immigrants. His father, Gus Stopulos, was born in Tripoli on March 28, 1871, and in 1902 he emigrated to the United States seeking a better life. His mother Eleni Dimitrakopoulou (Helen Dimitrak) was born in the village of Alonistena on May 21, 1887, and was a descendant of Zambia Kotsaki, mother of Theodoros Kolokotronis. James C. Stopulos, always referred with great pride to the fact that his roots intersected with those of the greatest warlord of the Greek Revolution of 1821. In the first correspondence we had with him, many years ago, the veteran aviator enthusiastically referred to his family relationship with the legendary hero of '21, even though he was not his direct descendant. In January 2007, he wrote to Georgios Chalkiadopoulos the following: 

"Thank you for your interest in the story about the 'Athenian Avenger'. The name came about when a Jewish friend of mine suggested that I name my plane in honor of the Greek patriots and for the Jews in the concentration camps, my mission was to seek  revenge for those atrocities. I was born in America, graduated from college..."

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Stopulos 3
USAAF, B-17G-55-BO, 42-102694, 'Athenian Avenger', 332BS, 94 BG, 1944
Καταγραφή

THOMAS D. SAMARAS

Thomas D. Samaras was born on January 29, 1921, the son of Demetrios Samaras from Koritsa in Northern Epirus and Anna Pappaiosif. He graduated from Garfield High School in January 1939, taking 5th place in the award for the 10 best students at his school. He continued his studies at the university of his city, Akron University, in science since mathematics, physics, and chemistry were subjects that the young Greek American loved. At the end of 1941 and with WWII in full scale, he made the big decision to become a pilot and chose to join navy ROTC, which was preparing future pilots for the Fleet. On July 17, 1942, he was presented at the NACSB Recruitment & Training Center in Detroit and on August 7, 1942, at his previous request, he was named Aviation Cadet (V-5). On December 15, 1942, Samaras was ordered to Atlanta, Georgia, for the start of his Pre-Flight Training and then to NAS Norman Air Station in Oklahoma for the Initial Flight Training which he successfully completed with high scores. His next transfer sent him to NAS Corpus Christi Air Station in Texas, for Basic Flight Training, which he completed in December 1943. In a glorious ...

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Samaras 1
USN, SB2C-4E BuNo 19767, VB-83, USS Essex, May-July 1945
Bebas 12

CONSTANTINE 'GUS' BEBAS

"It is indeed a great honor to the Bebas family to contribute in blood towards the noble cause of liberty. And though we all express a deep sorrow on the loss of a brave young Greek American, yet the honor bestowed upon the Bebas family will be displayed in the annals of history in honor of young Bebas who fought for the highest ideals of humanity and civilization."

The Greek Star May 21, 1943

 

EARLY YEARS & USNR

Constantine G. “Gus” Bebas was one of six children (four sisters and a brother) growing up in a modest house on the east side of Wilmette, a predominantly wealthy, lakefront suburb of Chicago. His parents, George, and Angeline - who operated a fruit and vegetable business - were Greek immigrants who were fiercely proud of their country of birth and equally proud of their new home. The original surname name was Bimbas, by the way.  Gus's mother, Angeline, was from Vrethena in Laconia, north of Sparta. Gus's father George Peter Bimbas/Bebas was born in Megalopolis, Arkadia, but lived in Kalamata before he immigrated. He and Angeline were married in 1902 in Sparta. Bebas was educated at Wilmette public schools and graduated from...

 

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Bebas 8
USN, SBD-3, VB-8, USS Hornet, Battle of Midway, 4 June 1942
JBoosalis 1

JOHN G. BOOSALIS

John Boosalis was one of the seven children of Gus and Mary (Prokovakis) Boosalis and he was born on March 14, 1919. The couple had immigrated in the early 1900s from Niata village which is located southeast of Sparta, Greece, and were involved in the restaurant business. They managed to obtain their own, named Olympia, which they operated along with their children. They were both very proud of their new country and they passed their patriotic feeling to their children. There was no better proof of that, than the fact that all their sons served the armed forces during WW2, and their youngest one, Theodore, applied for the USN but was rejected due to his age. He was only 8 years old when WW2 broke out. The couple overcame the difficulties of the war with the help of their two daughters and were blessed to see all their sons returning safely back to their house. It must be noted that during an interview in Faribault Daily News the reporter asked her if she had any regrets about having five sons serving in harm's way. She replied: 

"My only regret I have is I wish I had five more sons to give to the service of my country." 

 

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JBoosalis 10
VT-26
Sakes 1

JAMES C. 'GREEK' SAKELLARIADES

James Constantine Sakellariades was born in Washington. He was the son of Constantine Sakellariades from Isaris village in Arcadia district in Peloponnese, Greece and Aspasia Stratis Economon from Kastaboli village in the Eastern Thrace, Turkey. The couple had also one daughter, Eleni Kleio and both were very active in helping young Greek immigrants to settle in Washington. The couple held strong bonds with Greece and their families and made many trips back home. On one of those trips in 1932, the young James followed his parents on an unforgettable tour where he explored his roots. The young Greek American graduated from Eastern High School and later joined the Marshall College in Huntington West Virginia. He joined the CPTP program and later entered the V-5 Naval Reserve Program. He became a naval aviator and attached to Bombing Squadron 83 flying the SB2C Helldiver. However, he soon transferred to the new Fighter-Bomber Squadron VBF-83 flying the famous F4U Corsair and was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Essex. He flew his first combat mission on March 18, 1945.  VBF-83's Corsairs were launched for a strike and a fighter sweep to Karasahara, Nittagahara, and Tomitaka airfields armed with bombs. After successfully...

 

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Sakes 2
USN, FG-1D BuNo 87797, VBF-83, USS Essex, early 1945
Kav.6

ARGERY H. KAVAFES

Staff Sergeant Argery Harry Kavafes, son of Greek immigrants, was born in Long Island, New York, on November 18, 1921. His father, Alexandros Argyriou Kavafes, was born on August 20, 1885, in the Forty Churches (Kirk Kilisse) in Eastern Thrace. This city is in the European part of Turkey, near the border with Bulgaria, and today is known as Kirk Areli. The emergence of the Turkish Nationalism movement in 1908 and the policies of intimidation that began to be applied against Christians, forced many Greek people living in that area to immigrate. The then 25-year-old Alexander left for the United States, looking for a better future across the Atlantic. On May 20, 1910, he arrived in New York, where he settled permanently, working as a shoemaker. After years of hard work, he finally managed to open his own shoe store in Queens, New York. On December 19, 1920, he married his wife Chrysoula (Chressy Spyridon), her heritage also was from the Forty Churches (translated in Greek as Saranta Eklessies). It is worthy to note that after the population exchange in 1923, most of the city's inhabitants...

 

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Kav.1
USAAF, B-24D-1-CO, 41-23656, Rowdy Ann, 344 BS, 98 BG, Benina airfield, Lybia, 1943
Giftos VC 6 NH 69356

JOHN PAPADAKIS

Born in Richmond, Calif., in 1922, John and his sister Martha were the children of Greek immigrants Anthony and Iphigenia Papadakis. He attended the San Francisco City College and completed the CPT program and he was there when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. John immediately volunteered and was accepted into the U.S. Navy pilot training program. So began his lifelong love of aviation. From his file, we know that except for English he also spoke Greek, Spanish, and French. He enlisted as an Aviation Cadet V-5 in NACSB - Naval Aviation Cadet Selection Board on October 9, 1942. He was transferred to U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School at St. Mary’s College, California on May 6, 1943. He continued his Primary Flight Training in NAS Pasco, Washington on July 29, 1943, and completed it successfully on October 14, 1943. Two days later he received orders to move to NAS Corpus Christi, Texas for Basic Training and arrived there on October 21. Commissioned as an ensign Naval Aviator, at Corpus Christi, Texas on April 5, 1944. Served with...

 

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IMG_3425
Contos 3

GEORGE G. CONTOS

George G. Contos was born on March 12, 1923, in Canton, Stark, Ohio. He was the son of Konstantinos (Gust) Contos and Calliope Fanouriakis from the village Archanes in Crete, Greece. Both came to Fairhope, Ohio in 1920 and Gust worked for Republic Steel Corporation and retired from there after 35 years. The couple also had two more sons and two daughters. After school George also worked as a metalworker for Republic Steel Corporation. The entry of the United States in the Second World War urged him to join the fight as many Greek Americans did. Contos was commissioned in the United States Army Air Force on December 5, 1943. He received his ...


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Contos 2
US, P-51D-15-NA, 44-15701, Lillian, Lt George G. Contos, 486 FS, 352 FG
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