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Vretos Koronis - a man who signed up for WWII for his adopted country

Vretos Koronis, also known as Victor Coronis, was born on 14 October 1917 in the small village of Viaradika, Kythera. However, he believed his birth date was 4 September 1917. He was the youngest of the six children of Andreas Koronis and his wife Triantafilia Viaoru. He was baptized on 5 November 1917 at the Iperagias Theotokou church in Viaradika, Kythera. Vretos was a man of medium build, standing at 5' 5" tall with black hair, brown eyes, and a vaccination mark on his left forearm.


In October 1936, Vretos immigrated to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on the S.S. Orion, where he was known as Victor Coronis. After spending a week in Brisbane, he moved on to Innisfail and took a job at the Empire Cafe until December 1938. He also spent six weeks in Atherton before taking charge of the Herberton Cafe. As an alien living in Australia, Victor was required to have a Broadcast Listener's License to own his 5 valve, dual wave "His Master's Voice" Mantel Model Wireless Receiving Set.


Victor lived and worked as a cafe proprietor at the Herberton Cafe in Grave Street, Herberton, Queensland, Australia from 19 October 1939 to 21 January 1941. He then moved to the Three Graces Cafe in Queen Street in Ayr, Queensland, where he lived from 29 January 1941 to 21 March 1941. After that, his address was C/o Peters Fresh Food Supply in Bundaberg, Queensland from 27 March 1941 to 7 April 1942. In April 1942, he moved to Atherton, Queensland, where he lived until September 1942.


Vretos in 1939 NAA: BP25/1, CORONIS V A GREEK

Fingerprints of Vretos National Archives of Australia NAA: BP25/1, CORONIS V A GREEK

On 19 September 1942, Victor enrolled in the military and served in the HQ 1 Aust Farm GP, with the service number Q143718. He was stationed at the headquarters in Darwin, Northern Territory. This was exactly seven months after the bombing of Darwin. Victor was discharged on 22 February 1946.


Vretos in 1942 from his war file. National Archives of Australia NAA: B884, Q143718

After his military service, Victor lived at Cnr Spence and Sheridan Streets in Cairns, Queensland, where he lived with and worked for his brother in his general store.


In June 1947, he applied for a clothing ration card but was refused as he was unable to show his alien registration card as it had been taken from him when he joined the military and had not been returned. Victor believed that he had been given automatic naturalization due to his service for Australia, but this was not the case, so in 1949, he reapplied as an alien, as the Act had changed, and listed his occupation as a farm labourer and his address as Cairns Road, Atherton.


Vretos in 1949 National Archives of Australia NAA: BP25/1, CORONIS V A GREEK

Nothing further is known about Victor. No death has been found in Australia or Kythera for him as yet.

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