Diamanti 13


Walker (Alkiviades) Diamanti was born in Helper Utah in October 1921, the seventh son of Ioannis "John" Gregorios Diamanti(s) and Efthemia "Mae" Aguridis. John Diamanti(s), as well as Efthemia, came from a little village in central Greece called Mavrolithari, in Fokida, one of the highest villages in Greece at 1140m altitude. He was the oldest of five boys and dropped out of school at age eleven to herd sheep. He did that until he emigrated to the United States. As is the story with many immigrants, he begged and borrowed a few dollars. In those days, it took seventy dollars for a boat to Naples and from Naples to New York, with still enough head money to get you in when you arrived. John indebted himself to get to America. He arrived with the flood of immigrants coming at the time. He was picked up by a Greek labor organizer in New York and immediately put on a railroad labor gang, where he punched tunnels for $1.35 a ten-hour shift. This must have been foreign to him and very hard. But he saved money and ended up in Chicago as a butcher, which is closer to his line of work because during those days all Greeks knew how to butcher and skin animals. From there he received letters from his friends in Carbon County, Utah, who were working the coal mines. They bade him come where they said work was plentiful and wages were good. He came to Carbon County during 1904-1905. It was an active coal mining area. He went to Helper and went into the sheep business with an older Greek, who soon after departed. He was one of those Greek men who came to make it ....

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Diamanti 6
USAAF, P-47D-27-RE, 42-26860, Angie, 512 FS, 406 FG - Stage 3 - late 1944 or early 1945
Christelis 8 (A9069)


Constantine's father Christos, from the island of Imbros, first traveled to Khartoum, a regional trade centre in Sudan, in the southern Sahara, to make his mark. There he heard about the vast discoveries of gold and opportunities in South Africa. The lure of the new El Dorado sparked the world’s largest gold rush. It drew a large influx of foreigners from around the globe in search of fortune, who were enticed by feverish dreams of great wealth and opportunity. In 1905, he took off and traveled steerage to South Africa to seek his fortune in the burgeoning gold-mining town of Germiston, South Africa. He returned financially established to Imbros in 1912, to find a bride and married a young Eleni. During the First Balkan War in 1913, when Turkey took control of the Imbros, most of the island’s Greek-speaking Orthodox Christians fled. Christos left with his pregnant wife, brothers, extended family and settled in Germiston, South Africa. Constantine, the son of Christos and Eleni, the second youngest of six children, was born on November 1, 1920, in South Africa. They affectionately called him by his nickname, Cossie. In South Africa, the ‘Corner Café’, typified the early Greek and Cypriot immigrants, they worked long, hard hours behind the till staying open for extended hours. These new immigrants saw the cafés as a stepping stone towards a better financial position and a better life for themselves and their families. Most of them were invited to South Africa by relatives and fellow countrymen. The early Greeks described this influx phenomenon as ‘chain immigration. When an immigrant arrived in the new country, he typically worked as a ‘μπακαλόγατος’ bakalogatos, a counter assistant, to gain the experience necessary to earn, save, in time open his own business. In time, he required assistance in his business and invited relatives from Greece to join him, thus continuing the chain of immigration. The long hours and hardships in the cafés prevented these entrepreneurs from having any social life. Even worse for the Greek immigrant retailers, they were often subjected to periodic outbursts of verbal and physical abuse arising out of xenophobia. Christos and Eleni Christelis toiled away behind the counter of Olympia, the first corner café in Georgetown, Germiston, in the heart of the Rand goldfields. Christos also owned three racehorses at Gosforth Park Race Club, a major horse racing facility, in the Transvaal, he died in 1936. The whole Christelis clan did well, they became property owners and contributed to the development of the Greek community in Germiston.

From a young age, Cossie was raised in the Greek Orthodox faith, serving as an altar boy. He attended Germiston High School, an English-medium government school established in Germiston in September 1917 with the school motto “Scientia et Humanitas”, Science and Culture. He played sport at school and loved the game of rugby. The school once....

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Christelis 1
Christelis 6 (A9711)
Christopoulos 17


Αrthur George Christopoulos was born on October 7, 1930, to George Arthur Christopoulos (April 10, 1889) and Helen Maria Raptis Christopoulos, from Spartias, near Agrinion, Greece. George had two brothers, Nikolaos and Vassilios and, a sister, Maria. Their father was Athanassios G. Christopoulos. George Arthur, emigrated from Patras, Greece on April 23, 1912, arriving through Ellis Island in New York on May 20, 1912, aboard the SS Martha Washington. Upon his arrival in New York, George was “picked up” and shuttled off to the Boston area and placed into what could be considered to be a slave labor situation. He worked 12-18 hours a day in the “deep sinks” for 50 cents a day, 7 days a week. He studied hard in his spare time to learn English and the naturalization requirements and to acclimate to the United States. He was drafted in WWI and was discharged in less than 60 days due to Tuberculosis. Thanks to an active exercise program under the direction of Jerry Longros, he survived and returned to good health. On January 21, 1921, he filed a petition for naturalization and became a naturalized citizen in the Superior Court of Massachusetts, in Brockton, Massachusetts on January 2, 1924, and was issued a Certificate of Naturalisation No. 1901756. He was extremely proud of his accomplishment and flew the US Flag on all holidays and special occasions. By 1926, George Christopoulos was had become a successful restaurateur in the city of Brockton, Massachusetts until the late 1920’s when he journeyed to Maine and settled in Augusta, Maine. There, he met Mildred Vincent Mason and married on May 2, 1929. Together they had 9 children, Arthur George being the oldest son. Unfortunately, Athanassios, his father, was killed by the Germans in WWII after being tortured by them in the war and they were never to meet again.

Upon graduation from Gardiner High School in 1948, Arthur served with the Maine National Guard while he was also working on his family business. He entered Officer Candidate School, USAF on March 21, 1955, and graduated on September 9, 1955. After his flying training and gaining his silver wings, he was posted to the 355th Tactical Fighter Squadron flying F-100 Super Sabres. He deployed numerous times in Europe, especially France and Italy. From 1963 to 1966 he served in the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing, in RAF Bentwaters, England equipped with the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo. The Voodoos were to remain at Bentwaters for seven years, before...

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Christopoulos 19
Christopoulos 23
USAF F-4C XC 64-0769
Pappy 4


Myron P. Papadakis is the son of Phillipos and Helen Papadakis. Phillipos was born in Voutais Crete and immigrated to the United States alone at the age of 16 inboard SS Invernia in 1912. He lived in harsh conditions and worked in Mason city cement factory while attending school. Through hard work and study, he completed school and entered the University of Cedar Rapids, studying Chemistry. Halfway through his studies, he joined the US Army to fight in WW1. Although applied for the United States Army Air Corps he wasn’t accepted because he wasn’t yet an American citizen. He was appointed a drill instructor and also as a recruiter of young Greeks to join the fight. He was given an award for being the best recruiter of this nature in the Country. Myron P. Papadakis graduated from High School in 1958. He won a United States Navy NROTC scholarship to attend the University. Each summer he went on Navy Required training. The first was onboard the Destroyer USS Osborne DD-846. The second summer was split between Aviation indoctrination in Texas and Marine indoctrination in California, while the last summer was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger CVA-61. In 1963 he completed studies at the University of Nebraska and in 1963 he graduated as a Mechanical Engineer. Upon graduation, he has commissioned a USN Ensign and...

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Pappy 10
Marcou 40


Wing Commander George Marcou was born in Alexandria, Egypt on June 17, 1914. His parents were Dimitrios Marcou, a lawyer from Corfu, Greece, and Ida Rossi who was born in Malta. Shortly after their wedding, the couple settled permanently in Alexandria. In the following years, Dimitrios and Ida were blessed with six children, four girls, and two boys. Alice was born first, who later immigrated permanently to the United States, unlike her other siblings who settled in Greece and South Rhodesia. The twins, Helen and Lucy followed, along with another daughter Mary and then George and Nolly. Unfortunately, the youngest child in the family, Nolly, died a few years later from an unknown cause. This fact greatly saddened George Marcou who always, even in his old age, spoke with sorrow and pain, about the loss of his younger brother! Another unpleasant event that disturbed their family's peace, was the failure of Dimitrios Marcou, in the courtroom. He lost a very important trial, and as a result, he fell into a deep depression for a long time! In the early 1920s, the family moved permanently to Athens. During his student years, young George was a diligent and excellent student. His father, seeing in the face of his only son, the continuation of himself, was very proud of him and hope that he would study law. So, after his successful graduation from high school, he entered the ....

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RAF, Harvard Mk II AJ681, No 20 Service Flying Training School, Cranborne, Southern Rhodesia


Ted Harduvel was born on 28 October 1947. He was the son of Theodosius Theodore Harduvel who emigrated in the early 1900s from Leonidion and Poulithra in Arcadia district, Peloponnese. He enlisted in the Army to get his citizenship and fought in France during WW1. His mother was Luxembourg and English named Margaret M Cooper. Except for Ted the couple also had another son, John Harduvel, an MIT graduate is an aerospace engineer who worked for McDonnell Douglas, and a sister, Maria, an ultrasound tech living in Chicago. Ted joined the Air Force after his father died in 1971. He was working on his Master's Degree in Physics at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle. The Vietnam War was on, Ted had a low draft number, so rather than join the Army, he volunteered for the Air Force. Since he was a college graduate, he went to Officers Training School in 1971 graduating as a distinguished graduate, and got selected for pilot training in 1972. He completed his Undergraduate Pilot Training in Webb AFB Texas and got assigned to fighters at MacDill, FLA, in December 1972 where he took his training on F-4 Phantom. Ted met his wife Janet Sciales (who was also half Greek and half Italian) in March of 1973. He was so proud of his heritage and when he first met his wife he told her that he was a Spartan and that he would come home with his shield or on it, a phrase the Spartan mothers told their sons before going to battle. He was stationed in....

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Snyder 13


John Snyder was born to Nickolas Constantine Kokinakos and Dorothy Hood, Feb. 17, 1923, in Vancouver, B.C. Nick immigrated to Canada from Sparta, Greece, and Dorothy was of English heritage. Nicholas ran a few small cafes (like all good Greeks!)and Dorothy raised the kids.  According to John, his mother canceled Greek traditions for their new family and he raised him as a Canadian English. To honor his mother's choice, he changed his surname to Snyder. Many years later his daughter, Tiffany, asked him why he chooses Snyder and he just said that it sounded good. John was politely asked to leave high school after the ninth grade as he was...a high spirited young man. They thought he’d be better off just getting a job. He went to work at a bakery and hated it. It was the most boring repetitive work. He told to his children that a door would open in the ceiling and a ball of dough would fall through onto a table and then he had to break it into prices put it in pans and by the time he was done another ball of dough would fall and over and over and over. He hated it. He also worked in a sugar refinery. His mother Dorothy died about that time, from nasal surgery. He lived in a two-story house and grew up during the Great Depression supervised mostly by his older brother Conn Kokinakos, who passed in 2008. Growing up in the Great Depression his shoes never fit and he only had one pair that his mom was always mending. He remembered that he’d collect bottles for money and when he’d get 10 cents he’d spend the day at the beach and buy a soda and a hot dog. Finally, when they asked for soldiers he jumped at the chance and somehow he managed to become an aviation cadet in Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Those days....

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Snyder 4
Phitides Promo


George Platon Phitidis, born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 8, 1916, the last child of Constantine Haralambous Phitidis and Alexandra Gabriel Michaelides. Constantine was a Greek Cypriot born in Phyti in 1867, during the Ottoman occupation of Cyprus, and migrated to South Africa after taking his chances in Cairo, Egypt, and California, United States. He became a highly respected businessperson and philanthropist. Alexandra Gabriel Michaelides was born in Cyprus in 1887 and traveled to South Africa with her family in the early 1900s. A few years after.... 

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Phitides 5
Andrew Sc 9


Andrew Scopelitis was born in Norwich Connecticut on June 1, 1919. He was the son of the Greek immigrant couple Paul and Evdoxia (Hurdes) Scopelitis, and had one more brother George and two sisters, Sophia and Mabel. After school, he attended The Norwich Free Academy and later worked in various jobs as a laborer. In 1938 he decided to join the US Navy to pursue a career and probably better-living conditions. He was first enlisted in the US Navy on July 19, 1938. He was discharged on July 16, 1942, at NAS Pensacola, Florida, and re-enlisted the following day to serve for a period of 4 years. On October 23, 1942, he was transferred to USN Pre-Flight School in Athens, GA for aviation pilot training. He completed the Pre-Flight School and ordered to present himself at NAS Dallas, Texas to continue his training on January 27, 1943. On May 23, 1943, he was transferred for further training back to NAS Pensacola in Florida. 


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Andrew Sc 1


John was born on 23 March 1923 on the Greek Island of Samos in the Aegean. He was the son of Emanuel Panagiotou a Greek Orthodox rev. and Cleopatra Karagiane. Prior to 1934, the family immigrated to the United States and by 1935 they were living in Florida. John was actually the third USAAF member who was born in Greece and left as a youngster in the US like Steve Pisanos from Kolonos Athens and Arthur Sugas from Trikala. In the US he completed his education and entered the University of Louisville and after he graduated he was employed as a tabulating machine operator with the L. & N. Railroad. With the beginning of WW2, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Force in December 1942. After his training, he was sent overseas and joined the famous 56th Fighter Group well known as Zemke's Wolfpack during February 1945. He was attached to the 61st Fighter Squadron and he was ....


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Panagiote 1

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