Apollo Cokkinis worked to exhaustion as a Lt-Colonel in World War Two to organise British Military Hospitals in North Africa and Italy and perform hundreds of operations on wounded men. This was the supreme test of his skill as a surgeon, ability to get things done and get on with people, his several languages, his resilience and courage. His two homelands – Odessa in Ukraine and Smyrna – were smashed in 1919 and 1922. His parents lost everything in these disasters. Touring as opera singers, they had previously taken him as a child around the opera houses and concert halls of Europe, Asia Minor and North Africa. He retained their love of music and regaled British troops, his friends and medical colleagues with his repertoire. He was a mason in several lodges for over 50 years, founding the Hellenic Lodge in London.
While retaining contact and supporting his family in Greece, Apollo became British in 1920 and loved the country, right down to cricket and the old British songs. He founded a family in Britain whose grandchildren remember him as a warm, positive, fun and colourful man who enriched their lives, including those born of a daughter outside his marriage. He lived life to the full, and what a life it was!