Alexandros Diakos (1907 – 1940): The First Greek Casualty in WWII

A lot of history is being revoked during and around the Oct.28 “OXI Day” celebrations in Greece. After all, it was one of the most heroic eras of the country’s history.

Today we focus on the first Greek casualty of the Second World War. There are a few contradictory stories about who it was, but most reporters and historians agree that Greek Army Lieutenant Alexandros Diakos was the first Greek officer to die in the war, on November 1, 1940.

Greece became involved in WW2 after Italy declared war on October 28, 1940 with the infamous ultimatum, which was to be handed by the Italian ambassador to the Greek  Government, allowing no margins for compromise, but “either acceptance of an occupation, or undergoing an invasion”.

The Division of Epirus was responsible for the major part of the defence; it was the only national Army formation that was charged with defending the territorial integrity of the country. Its main mission was to “cover central Greece, under the direction of Ioannina, Zigos Metsovou” and secondly “to defend the national territory”.

On the 1st of November during the counter attack; launched by the heroic Pindos Detachment, the Line of ” Gyftissa – Oxia ” was recaptured and three Italian Officers and 222 solders were taken prisoners. 140 animals and a large quantity of supplies fell in the hands of the Hellenic troops. It was there that Lieutenant Alexandros Diakos, became the first casualty of the war.

Diakos was born on the island of Chalki in the Dodecanese. He left the Italian-occupied Dodecanese in 1929 for Athens. Upon graduating Military School in 1934, he was commissioned as sub-lieutenant in the Greek Army.

At the outbreak of World War II he was a lieutenant commanding the 2nd platoon of the the I/4 battalion. He was among the first to see action and was the first officer who fell, on Tsouka Hill, on November 1, 1940, fighting the Italian invaders.

Alexandros Diakos is buried on the island of Rhodes; in his native Dodecanese. A statue of him is raised on his grave, commemorating the first Greek casualty of the Second World War.