Thursday, April 19, 2012

The ships Calcutta and Glengyle at the Porto Rafti embarkation

The two ships that embarked troops from Porto Rafti in Greece were the cruiser Calcutta and the fast transport Glengyle. The Calcutta was near the end of her service life, while the Glengyle was a relatively new ship.

The British cruiser Calcutta was a World War I veteran that had been converted into an anti-aircraft cruiser in 1939. The Calcutta was one of the C-class cruisers that had been built with a "trawler bow" to improve sea keeping during North Sea operations. Prior to embarking troops from the beach at Porto Rafti, the Calcutta had been assigned convoying duties to provide some protection against air attack at a time when there was inadequate fighter strength in the Mediterranean Sea. The Calcutta became a victim of the increasing German air presence in the Mediterranean Sea and was sunk on 1 June 1941 by Ju-88 dive bombers at the end of the battle for the island of Crete. The picture is at least of one of the converted cruisers of the same class (Cairo, Carlisle, Calcutta).

The Glengyle was one of a group of four fast cargo ships (18 knots) that quickly became favorites of Winston Churchill. The Glengyle was fitted to be able to carry early British landing craft and had been involved in a raid on Bardia a few days before the embarkation of Australian and New Zealand troops from Porto Rafti in Greece.

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