Monday, April 07, 2014

The thrid landing craft at Sfakia from 1 June 1941

The third landing craft at Sfakia on 1 June 1941 was hidden in a cave by Private Harry Richards, who was in the 2/11th Battalion. The landing craft had 80 gallons of fuel. Private Richards thought that he could take fifty men to the African coast in the landing craft. He would stop at Gavdhos Island to get more fuel, food, and water and then head for Africa. They left Sfakia at 9:20pm on 1 June. They reached Gavdhos Island just before dawn on 2 June. At the island, there were only 55 gallon drums of fuel, which took a lot of space. Harry Richards asked for ten men to volunteer to stay on the island so that there was room for the fuel. They left the island and saw another landing craft in the distance. They ran out of fuel and Harry Richards also made a sail from blankets. They also landed at Sidi Barrani, in their case on 9 June. One of the men on the landing craft later wrote praising Harry Richards for the leadership that he provided to the group. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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