Military History Tours On Tour - Greece and Crete Tour 7 May 2013
Our opening photos show the sun attempting to rise over Souda Bay as we alighted from our ferry.
We had breakfast at a wonderful hotel in Chania when we went ashore in Crete, After breakfast we headed to Maleme to visit the German War Graves on Hill 107 and to hear how the ineptitude of the senior New Zealand Commanders, Brigadier and above, had ensured that this campaign was lost. The fighting soldiers could have won this campaign if they were commanded by more appropriate senior officers. It is quite sad to discuss this failure when it need not have been.
Following our time at the cemetery we adjourned to a local café in Galatas for morning tea. The freshly squeezed oranges were welcomed by the group. We discussed the action at Galatas where the individual bravery and tenacity that was shown by the by Kiwi soldiers when released from the deadening hand of his commanders resulted in a small victory but was overshadowed by the failure to hold the vital ground, Hill 107.They only made the Germans pay a bigger price for their victory.
Continuing on our programme we visited Suda Bay Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery where we supported Russell Hutchison's grandchildren's request to place a Remembrance Cross on the graves of 3 Australian soldiers. Russell said a prayer after placing the crosses on the graves and this was followed by the Ode and one minutes silence as respect for those lost. A similar small service was conducted at the grave of the Company Commander of Delta Company 2/1st Battalion, the company where Boyd Trevithick's uncle had served.
A wreath laying service was then conducted at the Cross of Remembrance in honour of all those lost in the campaign. The 5 members of our group who had their fathers serve here laid the wreath on our behalf.
We visited the grave of JDS Pendlebury a very noted archaeologist who had been responsible for many works before the war. He was killed on an SOE mission where his knowledge of Greece and Crete was invaluable to the unit and for future forays into occupied Greece and Crete.
Lunch on the shores of Suda Bay followed before we headed to Rethymon and our hotel.
Tomorrow we follow the evacuation route to Sfakia.