Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Freyberg stayed on Crete with the New Zealand division

The higher commanders had ordered General Freyberg to leave Crete, but he chose to stay on the island as long as there were substantial numbers of men, including the New Zealand division. He sent a message asking for more ships to come and remove men on the night of 30 May 1941. Four destroyers would come to evacuate men, and that meant that only 2,000 could be embarked. They were also sending some flying boats (Short Sunderland). General Weston, the Royal Marine, decided that they would embark the 4th and 5th New Zealand brigades. They were forced to leave the strongest battalion, the 21xt, as rearguard. They were left under Brigadier Vasey's command. In the event, the naval officer in charge only would take 1,000 men, so the 5th Brigade was left and the 21st Battalion was put under their command. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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