Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nigel Richardson's father: Crete 1941

There is an interesting article in the Telegraph by Nigel Richardson that talks about his father and his fellows in the battle for Crete in 1941. The German invasion had started on Friday, 20 May 1941, as we know. One of those killed on 22 May 1941, which we have been reviewing, was a British spy, John Pendlebury. He had been an archaeologist and had the personal peculiarity of having a glass eye. Nigel Richardson was a member of the Northumberland Hussars. He had been evacuated from Greece when the campaign there was being wound down and the troops withdrawn. He ended up at Suda Bay, where many other soldiers were dropped by the navy.

Nigel Richardson notes that the area of Hill 107 has been a German cemetery. Hill 107 was the place abandoned by Lt-Colonel Andrew's battalion when they were in the process of collapse after being attacked while unsupported by the 5th New Zealand Brigade. The New Zealanders are commemorated by a street at Galatas named the Neozilandon Polemiston. At one spot in an alley, there is a gate made from a piece of a British tank.

Nigel Richardson's father made his way to Sfakia, as the battle gave way to withdrawal. He was one of the about 5,000 men who were left behind to be taken prisoner by the Germans. He spent about four years as a prisoner of war in Germany. This is based on Nigel Richardson's article and what we know from Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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