Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Escapes from Crete from July to September 1941

An Australian, Captain Embrey from the 2/1st Battalion estimated in early July 1941 that there were as many as 600 Australians and 400 New Zealanders living with the people of Crete in the western part of the island. He was one of three Australians who walked away from the Maleme prisoner of war camp on 3 July 1941. The way things were, there were several "English" soldiers living in the villages. Private Hoskins, who had escaped with Captain Embrey wrote of meeting what he thought was a Greek. When he said "Kalimera", the reply was "Hello George". Eventually, Captain Embrey met Lieutenant-Commander Vernacos, a Greek who was serving in the RNVR. They, along with two others, aailed in a Greek caique and eventually arrived in Turkey by 4 September 1941. Other groups escaped, as well. Three soldiers, one Australian and two New Zealanders, stole a boat and in the night of 15/16 July. They sailed south and landed at Sidi Barrani during the night of 19 July. A Greek navy captain, Captain Adonis, brought out a group of men in September on board a fishing board. The destroyer Kimberley found them about 40 miles from Bardia. This was on 20 September. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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