Military History Tours On Tour - ANZAC Day in Athens 8 May 2012
We 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.
In Rethymon there is this 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 then started to trace the route of the withdrawal from the Chania area to the evacuation beaches at Sfakia. The country that they travel up and over was rugged indeed.
We started to trace the route that the men followed as they climbed up and over the mountain range to the evacuation beach at Sfakia. A few shots to show the terrain and the difficulties they must have had as there were no prepared food or water dumps and they were fighting rear-guard actions as they went. The more you walk the ground where this campaign was fought, the more you realise that General Freyberg and the Brigadiers from his Division were culpable in creating this nightmare for the men. Some officers certainly get promoted beyond their ability, they were brave men but not able to cope with decision making at this senior level.
Finally arrived a Sfakia and then proceeded east along the coast towards Preveli Monastery. This Monastery helped over 5000 people during the German occupation starting with the 600 or so Australians and New Zealanders that it hid prior to them being picked up by submarines such as the HMS Thresher who came in over many nights for months to gather escapees who without that help would have been picked up by the Germans.
On the way to Preveli at our lunch stop, 3 of our bathing beauties decided to wade in the Libyan Sea. All finished with wet legs but luckily Anthony, our driver, allowed those with wet clothes back on the coach.
We viewed the Monastery, the church, museum and memorial and finally headed back to Rethymon where following Happy Hour and dinner, we danced the night away as this was the last night together in a hotel for tomorrow we catch the evening ferry back to Athens.