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George Crabb, A.M., author of the Universal Technological Dictionary giving the exact real significance of the word "admiration" says:

"Admiration is wonder mixed with esteem or veneration; the admirer suspends his thoughts, not from the vacancy but the fullness of his mind; he is rivetted to an object which for a time absorbs his faculties; nothing but what is great and good excites admiration."

In reading "Greek Adventure" which is the diary of Major J. H. Gage, one of the gallant South African officers who fought in Greece during her occupation by the Axis armies, my mind was automatically driven to the above sentence.

Admiration is what I felt in reading this extremely interesting narrative of Major J. H. Gage, who in April 1943 parachuted into Western Greece, just opposite the Island of Corfu, where, with other comrades, he fought gallantly against the Germans, until they were driven out of the country, in October 1944.

Major J. H. Gage is not a professional writer, but can be proud of wielding his pen with the dexterity with which a painter uses his brush; each episode he describes, every fact or incident he mentions is as clear as a picture, giving to the reader an adequate and fascinating image of the physical and psychological factors involved.

The struggle in which he took such an active part is one of the most interesting features of the last war; he and the other members of the Allied missions who were sent into occupied Greece, were confronted with an extremely difficult task, i.e., fight the occupation armies and avoid friction with the ELAS "andartes" creatures of EAM, alias one of the branches of International Communism, adroitly disseminated, under different names, in the occupied countries.

Major J. H. Gage will allow me to admire especially his cute political and diplomatic sense.

Whereas other "born diplomats" did not foresee the real scope to which the EAM-ELAS were tending, he, as soon as he dealt with the two Greek resistance movements, at once understood that whereas ELAS, a national patriotic organization under the command of General Zervas, a regular Greek Army officer, was 100 per cent. pro-British, the EAM-ELAS was totally controlled by the Communists, and under the guise of fighting the Hun, were preparing to transform Greece into a satellite country.

In reading Major J. H. Gage's book, one has also to admire his amazing sense of foresight with which he forecasts the tragic peripeteia through which Greece was dragged after her evacuation by the German Armies (October 1944) and which ended in September 1949, when the "guerillas" were driven out of the Greek territory by the Greek Army, after the victorious battle at Vitsi, on the Grammos Range.

The "Greek Adventure" is furthermore a valuable contribution to the historian, who will have to write the events covering that chapter of the Second World War.

As for the Greek people "Greek Adventure" will remind posterity of the "eternal gratitude" owed to Major J. H. Gage and his gallant comrades, few in number, for having, by running the gauntlet of fighting against a huge and powerful German Army, restored their liberty.

R. B. Rosetti,
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary for Greece in the Union of South Africa.
Pretoria, March 20th, 1950.

Next Chapter: Chapter 1

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