In October 1944 the 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade group landed in Greece to harass the anticipated German withdrawal from the Balkans.
One company of the 4th Para Battalion was dropped in high winds at Megara airfield 40 miles from Athens suffering numerous casualties. The remainder of the brigade group under Brig CHV Pritchard followed up having been ordered to secure Athens, maintain law and order and provide necessary relief to the Greek people.
4th Para Bn incurred some casualties in the force harrying the German retreat through Lamio, Larissa and Kosani. 6 Para Bn was engaged on internal security in Athens and Attica and 5th Para Bn arrived at Salonika in November.
Vicious riots and battles broke out between rival Greek factions in Athens. The Brigade concentrated as Civil War developed and became involved in intense street fighting in Athens against Greek rebels in December and early January. 5th Para Bn suffered over 100 casualties and 6th Para Bn lost all its company commanders in fighting widely misunderstood by the press and public opinion back home.
The task was successfully completed by January 1945. The irony of the deployment was encapsulated by the final day’s fighting in Athens when the Brigade had killed 170 rebels, wounded 70 and captured 520 while concurrently feeding 20,000 civilians each day.
Battle Honour conferred: