Wednesday, April 20, 2022

more details from 26 April 1941 at Kalamata

 By 10pm on 26 April, the men could see lights from approaching ships. The men started forward "in threes". They could see approaching destroyers. Two destroyers tied up with gangways "at bow and stern". The men walked aboard. When a destroyer was filled, the men waited for the next ship. There was only one incident where Cypriots and Palestinians tried to push forwardonto the destroyer Hero. Some soldiers from the 2/2nd Battalion pushed them back with "rifle butts".

Brigadier Savige praised the men were well-behaved and they showed "complete confidence in their officers and N.C.O.'s. Naval OOfficers who had been at Dunkirk were surprised that men were "carrying their weapons and Equipment, and spare boxes of S.A.A." One of Savige's battalions had gotten pushed back, so they were "led forward and embarked". 

They eventually found that some of Allen's "force" were still on the shore. They had managed to remove more than 8,000 men, "the most embarked from a single beach on one night". 

By 27 April, the navy was hard-pressed. Suda Bay, at this point was "packed with ships carrying soldiers. All the regular transports were filled with soldiers. They would probably haveto load soldiers onto cruisers and destroyers. All transports were sent to Alexandria with escorts. 

When there was an air raid, soldiers came on deck with weapons to fire at the aircraft. Some seven attacking aircraft were destroyed. The transport Costa Rica was damaged. Destroyerscame alongside to remove men. The Costa Rica was Dutch and the officers from the Costa Rica with twenty soldiers jumped onto the destroyer Hero. 

At this point, there were still men on beaches near Athens, at the Argos beaches, at Tripolis, at Monemvasia, "more than eight thosand men at Kalamata". This is based on the account in "Greece, Crete, and Syria", by Gavin Long. 

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