Battlefield History Tours

Battlefield History Tours
Incorporating History and Heritage tours


 
On Tour - Greece and Crete Tour 19 April 2016

  

This was not a long day as we stayed around Rethymon to firstly view the area of the battle and then we conducted a small Service at the Memorial to the Rethymon Defenders, 2/1 and 2/11 Battalions and 2/2 Field Regiment. Lt Col Campbell had assumed command of the Battalions from 16 Brigade and with the support of the 4th and 5th Greek Battalions he had conducted a very vigorous defence and did not allow the Germans to settle on any ground that they had taken.

Each time the Germans seemed to take a position, a counter attack was launched to retrieve the situation. On one of these attacks, Charles cousin, Captain Moriarty MC, was killed while reconnoitring the route for the new attack.

By the 27 May most of the Germans were either killed or prisoners and Col Campbell, when writing Capt Moriarty's Citation said that the German soldiers were of the highest quality, the cream of the German Army and he said he knew them well as he had spoken to many of the 500 that his force had captured.

The excellent work by the Rethymon force was to no avail as the battle had been lost at Maleme in the West. Col Campbell after being told that the evacuation was happening at Sfarkia deduced that it was a 3 day march to Sfarkia and his men were just about out of rations and would have been put in a dangerous position trying to make it so he decided to surrender his men, 2/1 Bn as a group where Lt Col Sandover, the citizen soldier, advised his men to scatter and try to escape. As a result of that decision, 13 officers and 39 men of his Bn reached Egypt.

Following our small Service we headed into the hills and visited the Army Museum above Rethymon. An excellent Museum located in a renovated Venetian noblemen's home. In the Museum is the story of the Military History of Crete from the Revolution against the Ottoman Empire to the Second World War. The young soldier showing us through was very good and doing his 9 months training in the Army, but in his civilian life he is an archaeologist.

We said goodbye to the Commander and our guide and returned to Rethymon for a visit to the Memorial before Elena showed us through the old city. Free time followed for lunch, site seeing and shopping if you wished.

Tomorrow we head back to Chania where we will discuss the campaign there and conduct a Service at Souda Bay with the ANZAC Youth Ambassadors Tour in attendance.






  

Battlefield History Tours ABN 74107857705, PO Box 201, Northmead NSW 2152, AUSTRALIA, Phone: 1300 450 436 or +61 412 399 693 Fax: +612 4733 3951 Click to contact
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