Leros and WWII

Leros island has been involved in World War II because of various occupations and battles. This page explains a little about the history on the island.

Leros and World War TwoWW2

From 1940, when Italy entered on the side of Germany, Leros suffered bombing raids by the British royal air force. The island was the second most bombed island during World War Two, after Crete.

On 8 September 1943, as Italy could not continue the war on the German side, it signed an truce and came over to the Allied camp. After the Italian armistice, British reinforcements arrived on Leros and other Dodecanese islands and the island suffered continuous German aerial bombardment.

One of the largest attacks was on the Greek Navy’s flagship, the QUEEN OLGA. It was sunk by German bombers on Sunday September 26, 1943. This day is memorialized every year. The island of Leros was finally captured by German troops during the operation Taifun in the air and amphibious attacks between 12 to 16 November 1943.

The forces involved were paratroop units and a battalion from the elite brandenburg division. The ground troops were supported by bombers of the German airforce. The island remained under German occupation until the end of the war. After the Germans evacuated the island, it came under British administration, until, on 7 March 1948, together with the other Dodecanese Islands, Leros was united with Greece.

Approximately 700 years after the end of Byzantine rule, the Dodecanese was incorporated into the Greek State. During the post-war years the Greek governments used many buildings in Leros for various reasons.
In 1959, the mental hospital of Leros was founded, whose original bad conditions have been enormously improved.


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