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6 corrections, most recently by orbea - Show corrections

BOMBARDMENT OF

CORFU

Children Slaughtered

The following is taken from our files of August and September, 1923 :

A message from Athens, dated August 28, 1923, stated that General Telini. president of the Graeco-Albania Fron- tier Delimitation Commission, and four other members of the Italian delegation had been murdered by bandits. Another message from Rome on the same day stated that " The Prime Minister, Signor Mussolini, hus demanded from Greece full reparation mid prompt apology for the murders." The murders took place

on the Janina-Puaranta Road.

On August 30 the correspondent of the London "Daily Express" stated that Signor Mussolini's ultimatum to Greece demanded a complete official apology at the Italian Legation in Athens, a solemn funeral in the cathedral at   Athens in the presence of all the mem- bers of the Greek Government, the capi- tal punishment of the guilty, the pay- ment of an indemnity of £500,000 within five days, and the granting of full honours by the Greek fleet to the Italian fleet, which would be sent to

the Piraeus.

A message from Athens stated that the Greek Government felt there was reasonable doubt respecting the identity of the murderers, such doubt being based upon two notes to the Govern- ment of Albania respecting the opera- tions in that country of a band of brigands. It took into account, how- ever, that the crime had been committed on Greek soil against the citizens of a friendly power, and agreed, with modifications, to the demands for an expression of regret, a State memorial service, a salute to the Italian flag, and military honours for the victims, with just and reasonable indemnities to the

families of such victims.

The next message came from Athens on August 31, and stated that an hour before the ultimatum expired Italy landed 5000 troops on Corfu from 15 naval vessels, and that Corfu had been bombarded.

A message from Rome dated Septem- ber 2 quoted "IL Messagero" in criticis- ing Britain for supporting the action of Greece in sending the dispute to the League of Nations. It said that "M. Gonatas, thc Prime Minister of Greece, had not been recognised by any of the great powers. He is, therefore, not entitled to appeal to the League of

Nations."

A later message from London dated September 4, stated, on the authority of Reuter's agency at Corfu, that "The   Italian squadron in battle formation, arrived at 3 o'clock in the afternoon (on August 31), preceded by a dirigible, which flew over the eastern portion of thc island. Three blank shots were   fired from a destroyer. At 5 o'clock the bombardment began. Six minutes later it was directed against the old fort right in the town. . . . The British vice-Consul and Mr Graves, an American Near-East relief official, rowed to the Italian flagship and told Admiral Solari that the town was undefended. Mr Graves protested against receiving only a quarter of an hour's warning of the bombardment, also against the bombard-

ment of the citadel which was full of refugees. The American relief officer likewise protested against bombarding the school, thus imperilling 1150 orphans in his care . . . the sight of the dying refugees, mostly children, with dreadful wounds, was heart-rending." The num- ber killed was 20, of whom 16 were children and 32 were wounded. All   the killed and wounded were "refugees or orphans from the British Orphanage and were housed in the old fortress."

On September 4 Mussolini informed thc Italian Cabinet that "he will not admit that the League of Nations can intervene in the dispute between Italy and Greece. If the League insists, Italy will withdraw. The Cabinet approved of

this attitude."

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