Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Some troops are embarked at Kalamata on 26 April 1941
The plan was for the troops to destroy their "kits" before going aboard ship. The evening of 26 April 1941, they proceeded to do that at Kalamata. By 10pm, the men could see several ships approaching. Two destroyers came alongside the quay and the troops boarded. Some Middle Eastern pioneers tried to rush the ship, but were turned back. By 2:45am on 27 April, the commanders heard that no more ships would be arriving that day. The plan was to send in more destroyers on the night of 27-28 April. Brigadiers Savige and Allen had boarded the last destroyer, thinking that all their men had been embarked, but, in fact, some were left behind. Still, an amazing 8,000 men had been embarked on the night of 26-27 April, the most up to that date. The ships loaded with troops had gone to Suda Bay, in the northwest corner of Crete. Vice-Admiral Pridham-Wippell was concerned about having so many troop-laden ships anchored in the bay, and sent a large force, escorted by cruisers, to Alexandria. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.