Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Problems at Tolos and Navpliion on 26-27 April 1941

The Australian destroyer Stuart had been sent to Tolos to take men off the beach, if possible. Starting late in the evening of 26 April 1941, a landing craft was approaching the beach to pick up men. A sandbar was a major impediment to taking off men. The landing craft would go in and men would wade out. The landing craft carried them out to the Stuart. When the Stuart could hold no more men, the ship took them to the cruiser Orion and then returned to Tolos. They asked for help from a cruiser, so the Perth was sent. By 4am on 27 April, they had took off 2,000 men, but 1,300 men were left on the beach.

At Navplion is where the transport Ulster Prince was bombed and burnt. The burned out Ulster Prince blocked the quay so that destroyers could not use it to pick up men. The seas were too rough for small boats, so they were fortunate to embark as many as 2,600 men. They were forced to leave 1,700 men still ashore. They were too late leaving Navplion so the Slomat was bombed and sunk by German aircraft. The two destroyers present tried to rescue men, but they were eventually sunk, as well. They went ahead and sent 700 men to Tolos, in hopes of taking them off the next night. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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