Wednesday, February 01, 2006
The losses from the Heraklion evacuation gave the commanders pause
After taking the losses from the Heraklion evacuation (800 troops killed and the destroyers Imperial and Hereward sunk, with Orion, Dido, and Decoy damages), the commanders hesistated to attempt the evacuation from Sphakia. Factors that helped make the Sphakia evacuation go more smoothly were that fighter protection became increasingly effective and the Germans became more tentative in their efforts. Successful fighting by the 5th New Zealand Brigade and 19th Australian Brigade and other rearguard actions relieved pressure on the evacuation. Considering that the battle for Crete went badly, the Official History points out that credit must be given to the troops for toughness and bravery under desperate conditions. Two VC's were given to New Zealanders, Lt. C. H. Upham (20th NZ Battalion) and Sergeant A. C. Hulme (23rd NZ Battalion). This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.