Monday, May 07, 2012

The 19th Australian Brigade embarked

As the evacuation became increasingly disorganized and out of control, the 19th Australian Brigade was withdrawn from Megara. The men carried their small arms only. They were embarked on the transport Thurland Castle, the anti-aircraft cruiser Conventry, and five destroyers. Of an additional 2,000 on a nearby beach, only 1,500 were picked up. Many of those left were from Australian and British hospitals. Others were transported to Marathon, hoping to be embarked on another night. The Thurland Castle arrived at Crete, although the ship was attacked by dive-bombers en route. The stragglers tried to join Allen's battle group, as it was the largest force left in the south. Allen received orders to move to Kalamata. They arrived there on 26 April. Early on 26 April, waves of bombers attacked the Corinth bridge area and were knocking out the anti-aircraft guns. About 7:15am, German paratroops landed and captured the bridge. The engineers were able to fire the charges that had been planted and destroyed the bridge. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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