Saturday, January 28, 2006

At sea on 22 and 23 May 1941 near Crete

Admirals King and Rawlings were headed southwest from Crete in the afternoon. At one point, the battleship Valiant was hit. Lord Louis Mountbatten, with the 5th Destroyer Flotilla, arrived at 4pm on 22 May 1941. They were sent to the southwest side of Crete. Kelly and Kashmir attacked a caique laden with troops, and then bombarded the airfield at Maleme. Captain Mack and four destroyers were sent to patrol on the north side of the island. On the south coast, two destroyers embarked the King of Greece, "the British Minister and other important persons". Admiral Cunningham ordered the ships at sea to replenish during the night to be ready for another day of activity. By mistake, the commanders thought that Warspite and Valiant were low on light AA ammunition, although this was not the case. They were ordered to withdraw, leaving Lord Mountbatten unsupported. In the morning, about 8am, 24 divebombers attacked Lord Mountbatten in the Kelly with the Kashmir and sank them. The Kipling was able to rescue Lord Mountbatten and 278 other men. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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