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George Pagomenos


The following events occurred on the night of June 17/18,  1953 and were recorded by George Pagomenos (acting team leader, Greek Expeditionary Forces).

George Pagomenos was born in a small mountain village called Aidonohorion on the island of Crete, in Greece on 8th February 1929. He was the youngest of eight children. 

During World War II when he was only 13 years old he was in forced labour by the Germans after Germany defeated the allies at the Battle of Crete. He served in Korea with the Greek Expeditionary Forces attached to the US. Army 3d Infantry Division. Ten years after his return from Korea he emigrated from Greece to the United Kingdom. He has two sons and one grandson.

The picture of George Pagamenos was taken in Greece after his return in 1954. Click on his picture for a larger view.


Summary of the Defense of Outpost Harry

I served in the Greek Expeditionary Forces under Colonel Koumanakos and Captain Skaltsas of the 3rd Company. On the night of 15th June we waited to replace the troops on OP Harry. On the morning of 16th June 1953 our Company was dispatched to OP Harry. Before we departed Captain Skaltsas assembled us together and told us that we were going to defend OP Harry. He explained that there was no cover and there were no trenches there. Everything had been leveled by the heavy shelling of the Outpost. It was important that as soon as we reached OP Harry that we would have to work hard to dig trenches and prepare positions. Whatever happened we were told not to withdraw from Outpost Harry. Skaltsas told us that we must hold the position.

As soon as we reached Outpost Harry we replaced American soldiers. There were no trenches so we started to prepare trenches. Dead bodies were all over the Outpost and as we dug the trenches it was like digging up a highly populated graveyard. A team of Koreans worked with us and took the bodies (all CCF) away as we dug them up to prepare trenches. The smell of the dead had soaked into the earth and everywhere was the unbearable smell of the dead.

It was not possible to work on the northern face of Outpost Harry during the daytime because we were watched by the CCF and they would bombard us with mortar fire. We had some casualties as a direct result of CCF mortar fire. We had to wait till it was dark before trenches could be prepared on the northern face. Lookout guards were posted and a machine gun post (gunner George Grigorakis) was prepared on the northern face of Outpost Harry which played a very important part in the defense of the Outpost.

That night we were very fortunate since the CCF did not attack the Outpost. We had been given an opportunity to carry out the most important preparations to defend the Outpost. The next day we continued to prepare as best as we could under, mortar fire. As soon as it got dark again we speeded up our preparations to complete as much as we could.  

Panoramic view looking North from OP Harry towards CCF held Star with OP Harry trenches at lower right (Photo by Bob Brandon)

The attack began between 11:OOpm and midnight with heavy enemy shelling of the Outpost proceeding the approach of the CCF. The lookouts spotted the CCF approaching the Outpost rapidly. All our cable telephone lines had been cut by mortar fire. There were no communications between the team leaders and the officers. We did not have any intelligence for what was going on other than what we could see. We did not know what was going on but we could all remember the words of Captain Skaltsas that we must not withdraw from the Outpost. The CCF approached and got into some of our trenches and there was hand-to-hand combat with the CCF.

The CCF was forced to retreat and regrouped to attack again and CCF reached the trenches again. The battle lasted for about 3 hours. It was after 3 O'clock on the 18th in the morning when things started to quiet down at Outpost Harry.

During the battle we had a great deal of supporting mortar and heavy artillery fire. Flares dropped with small parachutes to light up the darkness, flares were launched from mortars from behind the Outpost so that we could see the CCF during the attack.  

(ed. George Pagemenos' son has set up a small website to record progress on the publication of his father's diary (see www.outpostharry.org). It was published in the Greek language in November 2004 with the title: The diary of a Greek soldier in the Korean War (ISBN: 960-406-928-4). The diary includes the journey to and from Korea and all the battles that he participated in including Outpost Harry (June 17/18). It also includes a selection of photographs.

It was a joint effort by the publishers (and distributors) Mesogeios and Ellinika Grammata (www.ellinikagrammata.gr). The publication was sponsored by the University of Cyprus. The next step is getting the diary published in the English language.)


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ęCopyright 2002, 2004, George Pagomenos. Bob Brandon.  All rights reserved