Military History Tours On Tour - Greece and Crete Tour 7 May 2014
The first photo shows the dawn over the Navy base as we arrived in Chania, Crete. After finding our coach and our new driver, John, we proceeded to breakfast in a wonderful hotel west of Chania right on the waterfront.
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 we found that famous street, 42nd street, where there was one of the famous charges of the campaign that for a moment turned the German advance around. We then we visited Suda Bay Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery where we conducted a small wreath laying service at the Cross of Remembrance in honour of all those lost in the campaign. Deidre Wilmot and Rod Quartermain laid the wreath as both their fathers had served on Crete during the campaign. Deidre's father was in 2/5 Australian General Hospital and Rod's father was a Military Policeman.
Lunch on the shores of Suda Bay followed before we headed to Rethymon and our hotel.
Tomorrow we follow the evacuation route to Sfakia.