I read with, great interest and emotion, your extract from the account of the evacuation from Smyrna of some of the American population of the city from the waterfront theatre on this day 95 years ago. My father was amongst them. He was a 7 year old boy at the time and our family was French, although Dad’s mother was Greek.
My grandfather worked at the theatre, so they were brought there along with the Americans. It was not until much later in his life that my father was prepared to talk in any detail about that time, but he always had a vivid memory of waiting in the theatre and then of being walked down the slim corridor of sailors to the boats – and he particularly remembered the white leggings of the sailors posted on either side. I guess that was eye-level for a 7 year old.
My father died in 2013 at the age of 98. But it was not until I came upon your post that I ever found a detailed account of that little episode in the great tragedy. So I wanted to thank you for filling in a few blanks in the my family’s past. It is very moving to read a passage from history that intersects so intimately with one’s own family memories.
After Smyrna it was France, Alexandria and finally Australia for my father’s family. So here I am – Australian, French and another small part of the Smyrniot diaspora. But I shall always thank God for US Navy. In a way, I owe them my life.
All the very best.