Belated Recognition For Peter
PETER Dimopoulos, one of the original Hall of Fame inductees, has received another honour - this time from the Australian Army in recognition of his World War 11 contribution while he was a Japanese prisoner of war.
Just days before his 90th birthday on July 29, he was presented with a statue of a soldier and a certificate by special operations commander Major General Jeff Sengelman to honour his work as an interpreter.
Peter, who was born in Greece, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces in July, 1941, just before his 16th birthday as a member of the 2/4 machine gun battalion.
He was sent to Singapore early in 1942 and, within a month, it fell to Japanese forces. He was incarcerated in Changi prisoner of war camp until war's end in 1945.
He learned Japanese and acted as an interpreter between the guards and prisoners in camps in Singapore - but his role was never officially recognised by the AIF because he was still considered to be a private, which was several ranks lower than an interpreter.
The Armadale Examiner newspaper reported that the Australian army finally acknowledged Peter's role in a ceremony that was attended by his family and friends.
Major General Sengelman thanked him for his service and said that Peter was a warrior from a past battle but he would always be part of the Australian army family.
"While much time has passed, I hope this certificate fills Mr Dimopoulos with pride and a sense of closure," said the Major General. "We as an army and a grateful nation thank him for his dedicated service and the contribution he made in Australia's interest."
Peter said he was thankful for the recognition as well as the ongoing support of RSL WA president Graham Edwards, Serpentine Jarahdale RSL president Ric Giblett and his family and friends.
Meanwhile, Peter, who has spent a lifetime in football, was inducted into the Hall of Fame WA's Hall of Recognition in the first intake in 1996.
He was hailed for his efforts in raising the profile of women's football, with whom he also acted as State team coach for many years.
He was also president of the Professional Soccer League for a spell and has served on many committees through the years, including being a valued member of the Hall of Fame Committee.
Along with his wife Barbara Gibson, another great servant of the game in WA and secretary of the Hall of Fame Committee for many years, he decided to step down from his role with the Hall of Fame Committee late last year.