Generous Donation Bridges Crete and the ANZACs

The Tavronitis bridge in Platania, (Chania, Crete), is a significant historic monument currently under the protection of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. Thanks to a generous donation from Cretan Brotherhood member Mr Peter Ford, the bridge is set to undergo restoration work that will preserve its important cultural legacy by bringing back to its original condition.

The original Tavronitis bridge, constructed in the very early 1900s, in the municipality of Platanias (Chania, Crete), is a structure of immense historical significance. The iron framed bridge was of technically advanced design and construction for its time, overseen by foreign and Greek engineers. Its link across the Tavronitis river facilitated growth of the Cretan economy.

The bridge is also strongly identified with the Battle of Crete. The invasion by German paratroopers on the 20th May, 1941 occurred in the Maleme airfield nearby and many important battles occurred in the vicinity of the bridge, where the Allied forces fought valiantly to defend the area. Bullet marks from those battles are still visible on the bridge today.

A New Zealand-born Richmond resident, Peter is the son of Battle of Crete ANZAC veteran Frank Ford. He fought in the 22nd Wellington Battalion of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Frank’s war was like the majority of Anzacs – a fighting withdrawal across central Greece and eventual evacuation to Crete. Frank fought in the battles to defend Maleme airfield and the famous Kiwi charge at Galatas, which saw the advancing Germans pushed out of the village.

Peter’s donation to this worthy project is symbolic of his unwavering dedication to the memory of his father and his advocacy of the historic importance of the Battle of Crete. We are proud to have Peter as a member of the Cretan Brotherhood and to call him our friend.

By Jim Papadimitriou