Military History Tours On Tour - Greece and Crete Tour 9 May 2013
This morning we visited the site of the battle at Rethymon. The area covered by the 2/1st Battalion and the 2/11th Battalion was over many kilometres and posted to deny access to the airfield. The task of this force was completed successfully with a huge loss of men to the German Force. It was here that the German casualties were over 5 to 1 compared with the Australian Force.
We were able to locate both Battalion areas including the Reserve, D Company of the 2/1st Battalion. Here in Rethymon there is a monument to those who fell when trying to hold the town from the German invasion. It lies adjacent to Ian Campbell Street, named after the commander who had to surrender even though he had won the fight. After a full discussion on this action a couple of our budding air defence people gave us a demonstration as to how they would man the defences.
We conducted a small service at the Memorial where the plaque, Rethymnon 1941, is attached to the wall behind the Memorial Pillar. The Last Post played on the cornet did have an effect on both the surrounding neighbourhood and the local dogs. As the service came to a conclusion, we received a phone call from the Commander of the Division stationed on Crete and from that call he arranged an escort to meet us and lead us up into the hills to Chromonastiri where we were received as guests at the new Army Museum.
An excellent Museum located in a Venetian nobleman's summer residence that had been completely refurbished. Following our visit, our escort, a Lieutenant of the Airborne Division, was under instructions to phone his General so that I could speak with him about our visit. He asked if we could put the Museum on our programme for next year. I assured him we will and thanked him for his hospitality.
We returned from the hills into Rethymon and were able to spend some time in the old part of the city at Rethymon. This was an ancient city and at one time the old city was the home of pirates. The quaint little streets are filled will shops and eateries and are an easy walk from our hotel. A lovely place to spend a couple of hours.