Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More men escape from Greece

Some of the men who escaped from Greece joined together on the island of Skyros. On 10 May 1941, Lt-Col. Chilton joined up with the men already on the island. The Greek people rendered great aid to the men. There were now Germans on the islands of Chios and Mytilene, so there were low-flying aircraft to avoid. They eventually arrived in Turkey near Smyrna. There were already a group of 18 men there being cared for by Colonel Hughes, an Australian who knew his way around in Turkey. The men dressed in civilian clothes and were told to say that they were "English civilian engineers". They took the train to Alexandretta. From there, they sailed for Port Said on a Norwegian tanker. The tanker, the Alcides, also had another 250 passengers. They included 66 Norwegians who had crossed into Russia to escape the Germans. More soldiers from Greece had managed to reach safety. Some Australians and New Zealanders were going to walk to Turkey, but were taken by friendly Greeks to Skiathos and then to Skopelos. They eventually were able to sail to Cesme in Turkey, arriving in early August 1941. From there, after being quarantined, they were sent to Syria. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.

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