Military History Tours On Tour - Greece and Crete Tour 9 May 2014
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. As the service came to a conclusion, we boarded our coach and headed 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. The stories told reflected a battle by Greece to win and hold their country firstly from the Ottomans, then the Bulgarians, then Italy and finally Germany. We had now completed what we promised a year ago when the Brigadier General Commanding Crete had asked if we could put the Museum on our programme for next year. I had assured him that we will and thanked him for his hospitality. We revisited as we promised.
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.