Sunday, March 23, 2014

The embarkation from Sfakia in May 1941

The hope was to embark all the troops at Sfakia onto warships and carry them to Egypt. Four destroyers were present at Sfakia on the evening of 28 May 1941. They removed 230 wounded men and some 800 British troops, including some RAF personnel. In the north on 28 May was when the force at Heraklion was loaded onto three cruisers and six destroyers. That was almost all the British and Commonwealth troops there. Since the convoy from Heraklion was heavily attacked and took losses, that influenced plans for further withdrawals. The Glengyle and three extra destroyers besides what had already been sent were at Sfakia on 29 May. By early on 30 May, Sfakia was being hard-pressed by attacking German troops. Late on 29 May, ships arrived to take more men off the beach at Sfakia. They had removed some 6,000 men, including 550 wounded by 3:20am. At that point, the ships sailed. Even thought the situation was tense, the commanders had to deal with the fact that most of the New Zealand Division was still in Crete. Were they going to abandon them? This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian OFficial History.

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