August

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The Stamp of August

The torpedoing of the cruiser "Elli" (August 15, 1940)

Stamp of the year 1947, class 100 drachmas from the commemorative edition “Victory” of nine values. Publication for the victorious participation of Greece during the Second World War (1939-1945).

Copperplate printing – Recess «Thomas de la Rue & Co. Ltd., London ».

Paper: Off-white and smooth.

No watermark.

Tooth 12 ½

Circulation: 3,060,000

First day cover: 60.000

First day of release: May 1, 1947

 

The moment of the explosion of one of the torpedoes on the jetty of Tinos. (Photographic Archive Naval History Service)

 

In August 1940, World War II was approaching one year. Greece was ruled by Ioannis Metaxas, who was neutral, but it was apparent that he was on the side of Great Britain.

Italy, an ally of Nazi Germany at the time, was claiming supremacy over Britain in the Mediterranean, and since the 1920s, has resorted to intense diplomatic and political pressure on Greece. After the defeat of France on June 22, 1940, Italy’s challenges to Greek sovereignty increased significantly, while a series of diplomatic and military episodes, from the end of June to the beginning of August 1940, showed the aggressive policy of Italy. They aimed to enter our country into the war or its surrender to the most robust suggestions.

In order to emphasize the security feeling and pride of the Greek people in the challenges of the Italians, the light cruise ship “Elli” was ordered to attend the festivities of Megalohari in Tinos. 

In the morning hours of August 15, the Italian submarine “Delfino” was found outside its port to torpedo the passenger ships “Elsi” and “Esperos. However, the Italians saw a warship arriving at the port, and even though many people were standing on the port, they hit the “Elli” with three torpedoes. One torpedo hit a target while the other two missed and exploded on the waterfront. One non-commissioned officer and eight sailors of “Elli” were killed in the attack, while the wounded amounted to 24.  

In the mid-1950s, the shipwreck of “Elli” was partially lifted and sold for scrap metal. In 1985, Greek divers discovered the remains of the Italian torpedo that sank the “Elli”. The find is on display at the Maritime Museum of Piraeus.