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Last week, unexpectedly, Christina Curley visited us. Christina is a granddaughter of the Kythirian Stamatoula Chlambea and the New Zealander Ivan Curley.
Ivan, a soldier in the 22nd Battalion (New Zealand) during the Second World War, was wounded at the Battle of Crete (1941). He was taken to Potamos, Kythira. In order not to be taken prisoner by the German and Italian invaders, the Bishop of Kythira took care of him and he was brought to what is now Pyrgos House, owned by the Chlambea family. Ivan was kept hidden in a 1.5 metre high space between the ground floor and first floor. This space is still there and Christina was very excited to see it when she visited us.
The Chlambea family took care of Ivan. During his period in hiding, daughter Stamatoula and Ivan fell in love with each other. As soon as Ivan was healthy again he was brought secretly to Kapsali, where he boarded an allied navy vessel. Stamatoula stayed in Potamos.
After the war, some New Zealand sailors visited the Chlambea family asking Stamatoula to return with them to New Zealand. She left Kythira and was reunited with Ivan in New Zealand. They married and had seven children.
This wonderful and romantic story will be part of the book that Christina is going to write about her grandfather’s life.