TO XASTOUKI 
After the triumphal arrival of Adrias in Alexandria and a well-deserved fifteen-day shore leave, her crew was dispersed into various departments and services. The war was still raging and there was a need for crews to man the new ships that we were receiving, one after the other, from the British. I was slated to go to England as part of the Mission to man the destroyers: AVON VALE  and ASTIX.  Both ships were class Hunt II and III and newly built. I was scheduled for AVON VALE which would have been renamed "Aegean.”
Until the day of departure I was placed on the destroyer Spetsai. She was one of the four Dardo class destroyers built in Italy for the Greek Government, in the 1930s. She was recalled to active service mainly for training purposes and to be ready in case she was needed.
Toward the middle of January 1944, we departed from Egypt on an Allied troop transport. The mission consisted of the crews for both ships, a total of approximately 250-300 men. In command of the Mission, and future captain of Astix, was Lt. Commander N. Psylopoulos, whereas as Captain for the Avon Vale was designated the Lt. Commander S. Avgeris. Some other officers I remember were:
Avon Vale Astix
1. S. Avgeris, LCDR , CO S. Psylopoulos LCDR , CO
2. D. Theodorou , LCCD , Exec Th. Adraktas LT, Exec
3. A. Porsanides, LT, A’ Engr. G. Anastasopoulos LCDR, A’ Engr
4. A. Fountouklis, LTJG P. Drakaris LTJG
5. K. Skiadopoulos, LTJG A. Athanasiou LTJG
6. A. Meletopoulos, LTJG K. Notaras ENS
7. X. Papasifakis, ENS
The trip through the Mediterranean was rather uneventful although the war was still going on. After several days, we arrived in Liverpool. From there we boarded the train for Chatham; where the “Greek Training Center, England,” as it was known at the time, was the training center for the Greek crews for the ships to be commissioned into our Navy.
Both ships were ready for the transfer, scheduled for April 30, 1944. So we immediately started training, while the transfer proceedings [the paperwork?] were taking place. There were about four hundred Greek officers and men stationed at the barracks. All men were working hard, anxiously waiting for the day to see the Greek flag being officially raised on both ships. Unfortunately, that was not meant to be.
On April 3, the communist Mutiny in the Middle East broke out. The mutineers took over the ships, formed communist-type “committees” for the control and command of the ships, and refused to participate in Allied missions unless their demands were met. That is, the resignation of the Government [in exile] and the formation of a new Government that would include members of the “Mountain Government.”
Naturally, we heard the “news,” but that was then and so far away from Chatham. Nevertheless, it did not take long before a number of Greek naval officers and men presented to Captain E. Geogoulopoulos, the Mission Chief for the Commissioning of ships into the Greek Navy, a petition calling for a Greek government of National Unity. That is the same demands as those made by the mutineers in Egypt.
The ringleaders of this dastardly deed, headed by Sub Lieutenant A. Meletopoulos, were Lieutenants M. Hatzilias the former Exec of the corvette KRIEZIS, Ensign Z. Kotsianas, A. Foundouklis, A. Tsouros, and D. Theodorou followed by a few non-commissioned officers and sailors.
Finally, the clique of the six officers and some three hundred ratings gave a pro-EAM petition to the Greek Naval attaché in London, Captain I. Vlaxopoulos, to be given to the Greek ambassador in the Court of St. James. Then, one night, Meletopoulos came to the sleeping quarters I was sharing with Skiadopoulos and Notaras. He woke us up and tried to persuade us into signing the petition. All three vehemently refused and asked him to leave in a rather unpleasant manner—short of shoving him out. Actually, we wanted to beat him up, but he was superior to us in rank.
It was Saturday, April 29, 1944. Three days ago we had already moved in the ships, and the Greek flag, albeit unofficially, had already been raised on the ships ahead of tomorrow’s official commissioning into the Greek Navy. And the ships had been renamed to Aegean and Admiral Hastings. But as anyone can imagine, the “Meletopoulos and company” activities did not go unnoticed by the British. And although the Mutiny in Alexandria had been crushed, and the ships were taken back by the Greek Royal forces, the British had a big surprise for us.
At 2:00 p.m., an order came down for all the Greeks stationed at the Chatham barracks to gather, in formation, in the barracks’ Gymnasium. Our commandant, Psylopoulos, looked sad and kind of nervous, perhaps, as a result of last night’s heated discussion with Meletopoulos, in the officer’s quarters regarding the petition. Psylopoulos, in no uncertain terms, had blamed Meletopoulos for Roussen’s “murder”—and rightly so.
Finally, Admiral King, the British Commander at Chatham, arrived. He began with a tribute to the Greek armed forces and the Greek Navy, in particular. And then he dropped the bomb! He read the order from the British Admiralty which in short said that the recent “incidents” necessitate that the British Government re-evaluates the transfer of the two ships. And he concluded that the ships would not be transferred to the Greek Navy. Then he issued the order for the Greek crews to go to the ships and remove their personal belongings. He said a stern “Is that clear?” And without saluting, he turned his back to us and left.
We were at loss for words! Psylopouls barely managed to say “Yes, sir,” since he was acting as his interpreter. The "slap in the face" (to XASTOUKI)  we received was very loud and extremely painful, if you consider that just four months ago, with Adrias’ triumph, how high our Navy’s prestige was soaring. And now we were free-falling into the abyss of nothingness. From Zenith to Nadir—and that for those idiots who wanted to turn Greece into another of those Eastern Block Soviet "Paradises."
Admiral King’s order was very “clear!” With a heavy heart, we lined up to board “our” ships for the last time. In silence, we collected our personal belongings. At 15:30 the ships were emptied. And with deep sadness, we started our way back to the barracks. Turning to take a last sorrowful look at “my” ship, I saw Signalman’s mate Kambouroglou taking down the Greek flag. Tears came to my eyes. I was crying and I could not walk. I was thinking that the whole world was looking and laughing at us.
All my dreams had disappeared. This beautiful new ship with her three double gun-turrets, newly painted, was my dream. I was bored waiting. I wanted to get back to action. And now because of these idiots  everything was lost—I wished my tears be a curse on all those responsible for this humiliation, and by extension, for the humiliation Greece had suffered.
We moved back to the barracks. We were embarrassed to look in the eyes even the lowest ranking British sailor. That night we did not go to the wardroom for dinner, we wanted to stay away from all those who had signed the petition. We considered them traitors.
Soon after, there was an investigation. Most of those who had signed the petition were sent back to Egypt, as far away from London and the pending invasion of Europe as possible, to avoid creating more problems for the Allies. Meletopoulos and a couple of the other ringleaders were court-martialed, not for treason but for disfiguring the picture of King George II in the officers’ club at Chatham. He had written on the picture of the King pictured reviewing Greek naval personnel on March 25th (Greek Independence Day) the words "Traitor and Mercenaries."
Only Meletopoulos was found guilty and sent to a British prison in England. The others were sent to Egypt, most likely in an internment camp.
As for Notaras and I, we were sent to the destroyer SALAMIS which had been commissioned to the Greek Navy in the middle of March, just before the Incident at Chatham.
 The Slap in the face.
 To be renamed “Αιγαιον” (for the Aegean Sea).
 To be renamed “Admiral Hastings” in honor of the Admiral Hasting’s services during the Greek war of Independence of Greece (1821) from the Ottoman Empire
 Greek: Επιτροπατα
 LTCDR N. Roussen died leading one of the Boarding Parties during the Mutiny in Alexandria.
 Professor Mark C. Jones has kindly reviewed this part of my work. He sent me the following correction: “Vice Admiral E.L.S. King was the Principal Liaison Officer, Allied Navies (or PNLO). Chatham Naval Barracks was commanded by a British Royal Navy commodore, an officer of much lower rank. Vice Admiral King would have been present at Chatham because of the delicate nature of the situation, and because Chatham was the home barracks for the Royal Hellenic Navy in the UK. The RN used a system of three manning divisions for its warships. Each division was based at an RN barracks in the ports of Chatham (near London), Portsmouth, and Devonport (near Plymouth). Each warship had an enlisted crew provided by one of these three barracks. When the various Allied exile navies including the RHN began working with the RN, the RN adapted its system of port divisions. The RHN was assigned to Chatham which is why the ship transfers were to take place there.”
 For the last few days, before the Incident, the Greek flag had been unofficially raised on the ships.
 The slap in the face.
 Actually he used an expletive, something so out of character for Christos.
 The word Christos uses, referring to the mutineers, was Κτηνοι ( literally: animals, beasts).
 Parker, House of Commons: About 87% of the Greek Forces in the Middle East were interned by the British instead of fighting the common enemy.
 Konstantinos “Costas” Notaras was a life-long friend of Christos’. They were Academy classmates and they escaped from Greece together to join the fleet in Egypt.