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Ιστορία: About

Ioannis Sakellariou

Second Lieutenant Ioannis Sakellariou, was the first Greek aviator to be killed during the 1940 Greek-Italian war.


He was born in 1915 in Villia, Attica.

In October 1932 he enlisted in the Officers' Department of the Air Force Academy and graduated in November 1935 with the rank of Second Lieutenant. He served in various Air Force units. With the outbreak of World War II, he was assigned to the 21st Pursuit Squadron.


On November 2, 1940, Ioannis, as a formation leader, undertook to deal with enemy aircraft that were directed against the city of Ioannina. However, during an unequal air battle (3 Greek fighters - 15 Italian fighters and bombers), Sakellario's PZL type plane was hit by enemy fire and crashed in the Zitsa area of Ioannina, resulting in the heroic death of the pilot.

On October 28, 1940, Italy won the war in Greece in the context of the expansion of the German-Italian Axis. The Italians rush to invade Greece before the Greek conscription is completed. For this purpose, they draw up a plan of violent attack with their infantry, and motorized forces, but also with their air superiority—four hundred Italian aircraft to one hundred and forty Greek. The planes of the Italians bomb relentlessly over our defensive lines. The Royal Hellenic Air Force and Greek pilots are vigorously resisting their plans to buy time to organize the Greek defenses.


The Polish-made PZL-P24 type aircraft.

On November 2nd and during the attack of the Italians with ground forces, known as the battle of Grabala, another battle is taking place on the airwaves. The 21st Squadron of the GRA led by Ioannis Sakellariou fight their tragic battle against the many Italian aircraft. During the air battles, after having previously caused damage and shot down an opponent, Ioannis' aircraft is hit and shot down after trying for some time, without the possibility of using ammunition, to escape from the traps of the Italians.
The Koutroulades area of Ioannina, where the plane crashed and the Greek pilot was buried, has been renamed Sakellariko in his honor.


Part of the single-engine aircraft, included in the Collection of 

Cultural, Folklore & Beautification Association of Villas

Characteristic of the upbringing and education of Ioannis Sakellariou is the statement of his father as soon as he was informed of the loss:

 «We owed it to Greece", he said "I accept congratulations like a Greek and condolences like a father».


The statue in Hero's honor in his birthplace, Vilia.


The statue in hero's honor in Sakellariko Ioanninon.

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