Greek War Cross 1940, First Class : Major General G A Vasey

Accession Number REL29673.013
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Award
Physical description Bronze, Gilt
Location Main Bld: World War 2 Gallery: Gallery 3: New Guinea
Maker Unknown
Date made c 1941
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Greek War Cross 1940, First Class. Inscribed on lower reverse arm with the date '1941'. A bronze cross pattee with crossed swords in the angles, and the crowned cypher of King George II. The reverse is plain apart from the date 1940. The cross is surmounted by the Royal crown of Greece in gilt. The ribbon is three equal stripes of red, blue, red. The War Cross was awarded for acts of bravery in the field.

History / Summary

George Alan Vasey, a professional soldier, was born in 1895. He graduated from RMC Duntroon in 1915, and during the First World War served with 4 and 22 Field Artillery Brigades, and as brigade major of 11 Infantry Brigade. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was posted to the 6th Division in the Middle East. In March 1941 he took command of 19 Infantry Brigade which he led in the fighting through Greece and Crete, also taking overall command of Australian forces involved in the defence of Crete. After returning to Australia in early 1942, Vasey was promoted major general and made deputy Chief of the General Staff. In September, he gained command of the 6th Division, then fighting the Japanese in Papua. Soon afterwards, however, he was transferred to lead the 7th Division through the fighting at Gona, Sanananda, Nadzab, Lae and the Ramu Valley. By mid 1944, his health had deteriorated to such an extent that he was evacuated to Australia, and not expected to survive, but in early 1945 he had recovered sufficiently to be appointed to command of 6 Division. While flying to assume this new command on 5 March, his Hudson aircraft crashed into the sea off Cairns and all on board were killed.