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Rarely seen Insigne for Allied Mission for Observing Greek Election (AMFOGE)

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    Posted 3 years ago

    (75 items)

    This Insigne identified members of a special mission which was carried out over a 3 month period immediately following the end of WWII. The mission was Allied Mission for Observing Greek Elections or AMFOGE, also called (oficially) Allied Mission To Observe Greek Elections.

    The design of an owl peeking over it’s wing signified a wise, vigilant entity, quietly watching/observing.

    Background info: Greece had a long history of being under a dictatorship, then being occupied by Axis forces during WWII, then after WWII was ended and Axis forces withdrew, a civil war broke out between factions representing democratic and communist government. The country was in ruin.

    The Varkiza Peace Agreement of Feb 1945 included a provision requesting Allied Powers to send observers to monitor elections to verify fairness, prevent intimidation of voters and ensure the compliance of the citizens with the Greek election laws.
    Governments of Britian, France and US accepted the Greek government's invitation to send observers.

    Elections were set for March 30,1946.
    The US provided 601 military and 21 civilian members
    France provided 164 military and 5 civilian members
    Britian provided 273 military and 21 civilian members

    Even though the mission was civil, not military, mission developers knew conditions would be difficult and that the training and expertise of military personel would permit quicker adaptability to the work to be done.

    Members of the mission met in Naples in Feb 1946 for indoctrination and training of map reading,physical training, first aide and vehicle operation and maintence as well as crash courses in the history of Greece, geography and politics of Greece.

    The members were assigned to teams of 3 men which included an officer, an enlisted man and an interpreter. The teams were dispersed in Jeeps throughout 5 districts: Athens, Herakleion, Tripolis, Patras and Salonika to conduct the Mission's business.

    The teams work spanned 3 months in preparation for the election. After the mission and the election occured, a report was issued which detailed the mission and summarized that the elections were found to be free and fair and the results represented the valid verdict of the Greek people.

    My father was the officer on one of the teams which were assigned to Patras district.
    This was the insigne he wore on the left upper sleeve of his US military uniform.
    He kept this unusual looking patch in his footlocker along with a few pictures he made from a vantage point overlooking Patras and a picture of him attending large group meeting of AMFOGE members...... After his death at age 93, this memorabilia came to me to treasure.
    But the true treasure, to me, was him, as a brave and courageous soldier and father. He had earned a Bronze Star for heroic action in Germany and a Battlefield Commission to First Lieutenant. He didn't talk about that very much but would joke that he was most proud of the Bronze Star and the Good Conduct Medal.

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    1. Newfld Newfld, 3 years ago
      Great owl design on patch, and wonderful military ribbon collection
    2. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      So sorry I deleted the military metals, patches, insigne but I started this on my cell phone, couldn't get my pictures right side up (except for the one still there), finally finished on my computer. It's my first post, so I'm not very good at this, although I have been giving my humble opinion on many other interesting posts over the last year or so.
    3. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      I failed to mention that the top part, AMEPIKH translates to American. The Greek words down the sides say Election Observer.
    4. valentino97 valentino97, 3 years ago
      So interesting! thank you dear Watchsearcher for sharing this personal history.
    5. Ms.CrystalShip Ms.CrystalShip, 3 years ago
      I just read your profile story, and it hit home. I, too, have "lost" something dear to me. It was an 14k tri- colored bone cameo ring that belonged to my Great-Grandmother. Iwas 37 before my Mother passed it on to me for safe keeping. I didn't wear it much because the cameo was a little loose. When my Daughter married, I passed it to her, as something old, and she wore it on her wedding day. She also rarely wore it because of the loose stone. Well, it " disappeared". No, it was stolen, flat out. If I ever saw it on someone, I would know it in a heartbeat. But of course, I'm sure it's been sold, as is long gone. I don't even have a picture of it. :( I truely am sorry for your loss, when people take family heirlooms, they have no idea the pain they inflict, nor do they care...
    6. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      Ms.CrystalShip, Thank you for your comment and for validating the feelings one has when something irreplaceable and dear to them is taken.
      Whoever has your cameo ring and my watch cannot possibly value the items in the way that we do! I do the same as you do: make observations hoping I will someday spot someone wearing it.
      Believe me, I won’t hesitate to ask for it back!

      I’m sorry you have gone thru the same situation!
      I truly understand your feelings!
    7. miltonV, 2 years ago
      My dad was in the AMFOGE with the British Army. Capt. Henry Howard. Do you have any documents dating from that era? He'd love any anecdotes. Thank You.
    8. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 2 years ago
      MiltonV, thank you for responding! My dad passed away at age 93 just 4 years ago.
      Over the years, he occasionally talked about the time in Greece with that mission.
      He was proud of that service and it was quite a relief from being in combat!
      He would still get almost choked up telling about the desperate circumstances of the Greek people- all they had was ruined or had been taken from them.
      Does your dad still have his AMFOGE patch?
      I hope so! They are seldom seen. A few years ago, I saw one for sale on eBay so I contacted the seller to make sure he knew what he was selling. It turned out he was selling merchandise for a third party so it didn’t really matter to him although he found the info I gave him interesting.
      I didn’t want any patch other than my dad’s so I didn’t bid but I did follow the bidding. It ended up selling for 45 dollars.
      I have a few items he brought home from Greece which he gave to me in his later years because he knew I would treasure them, and I do.
      Please tell your dad that I have a little bit of understanding of what his job entailed there so, in a small way, he has a kindred spirit. I wish he and my dad could have met.....but maybe they did, all those years ago!!
    9. Lata Lata, 2 years ago
      I just saw your comment on the Dollhouse i bought as a present for my wife, you were right :) she is now totally addicted to it, i hope to see some pictures of your own doll houses, thank you.
    10. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 2 years ago
      I keep procrastinating for some reason, but I promise I will get right in it since you are so kind to encourage me!
    11. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 2 years ago
      Thank you all for reading the post and giving it a Love.
      I was very happy to read MiltonV’s input that his own father was part of the AMFOGE mission.

      All the participants must be of very advanced ages now, if they are even still with us, and their stories will be (or already are) forever lost if not recorded in some way by us.

      I urge anyone who knows of such an insignia in an elderly man’s WWII memorabilia, to try to get him to recount his experiences during the mission and document his story.

      It deeply touched my father’s heart to deal face to face with the Greek people trying to put their nation back together.
      He was always very stoic about the months of battling he had just survived and for which he had been decorated and promoted, but the 3 months on a peaceful mission in Greece would bring his voice to a near whisper and a tear welling in his eyes for the rest of his life.
    12. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 2 years ago
      I’ve neglected to thank a bunch of people for reading and loving my post, so let me make amends now: Valentino97, Keramikos, Collectables59, Roycroftbooksfromme1, MsCrystalShip, my thanks to you all!

      This insignia’s story of the Greek elections is one that I pray never becomes OUR story.
    13. Damonways Damonways, 6 months ago
      Sorry about you dad ...'-((
    14. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 6 months ago
      Damonways, that’s very kind of you to say. He was a treasure to me.
      Thank you for the love and for bringing up this ‘old’ post again.

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