Monday, October 24, 2011

Georgios Averof Ship

Georgios Averof is the world's only surviving heavily armoured cruiser of the early 20th century. During the Balkan Wars (1912-13), she was the Hellenic Navy fleet flagship during the campaign in the North and Central Aegean islands, as well as the coastal cities of East Macedonia and Thrace.

Greece remained neutral during most of World War I. Eleutherios Venizelo's government in 1917 decided to participate on the Allies' side. At the end of W.W.I., November 1918, the Averof sailed to Constantinople and  raised the Hellenic flag as one of the winning powers of the Great War. After the signing of the peace treaties, Averof together with the rest of the fleet moved the Hellenic troops to Asia Minor. 

She served on the Allied side during W.W. II, having fled to Egypt and the Indian Ocean with the rest of the fleet. The Averof led the Greek naval force when the fleet dropped anchor in the Faliron Bay, Athens, on October 17 1944. The raising of the ship's war flag on the Acropolis marked Athens' liberation. 

Georgios Averof last voyaged to Rhodes, May 1947, to commemorate the accession of the Dodecanese islands from Italy. In 1984 the Greek Navy decided to restore her as a museum and in the same year she was towed to Faliron Bay, where she is anchored to this day and functioning as a floating museum, seeking to promote the historical consolidation and upkeep of the Greek Naval tradition. 

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