Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Loading troops from Greece on 26-27 April 1941

 The Stuart was a British-built flotilla leader serving in thr Australian navy. The Stuart had sailed to Tolos to load soldiers from the beach. Loading started at 11:15pm. The men walked in the water out to a landing craft. There was a sand bar some thirty yards from the beach. The "naval beachmaster" had recommended the army "area commander" not to use Tolos, but it was too late to change. 

The Stuart filled up and transported the soldiers to the cruiser Orion. They sailed back to Tolos with the Australian cruiser Perth. By 4am about two thousand men had been taken from the beach. That left about 1,300 soldiers on the beach at Tolos.  They had loaded four Australian "embarkation staff", which meant that there just four officers left. 

The operation at Navplion had gone badly. The transport Ulster Prince had been bombed and burnt. That blocked the harbour at Navplion. At 4:30am, the ships had left Navplion carrying 2,600 men. That meant that there 1,700 men still on the beach. One of the ships that left Navplios was bombed and sunk with few survivors rescued.

Two destroyers had rescued survivors, but they ere sunk eventually. Some from Navplion were loaded on a laning craft and were transported "down the coast". Some 700 men went to Tolos and went into hiding. The German aircraft did not see the hidden men.

This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria" by Gavin Long.

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