Monday, July 23, 2012

More men escape from Greece

After the last withdrawals by destroyer from Greece, there were still some large, organized groups of men left. Many were British, but some were Australian. One such group was the 2/2nd Battalion commanded by Lt-Col. Chilton. They had been cut off from the rest in the Pinios Gorge. Chilton had not been with the group, but Major Cullen, of the Headquarters Battalion, along with some New Zealanders, marched to near Kartisa on the coast, hoping to find a ship to pick them up. Eventually, the Greeks ferried them to Skiathos. They were only ten miles from Turkey, but did not want to be interned there. Several ships eventually took two groups of men to Crete, where they disembarked on 5 May 1941. Some 97 men, who could not be accommodated on the ships, were left on Chios. The group eventually grew to 133 men. They eventually sailed to Chesme in Turkey. The Turks were friendly to the Allies, even though they were neutral. There were men who had experience in Turkey, who helped arrange transportation. Meanwhile, Lt-Col. Chilton and a few men marched to the southwest. The group grew in size over time. They eventually reached Skyros by boat. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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