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Thread: The Battle For Crete

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    Default The Battle For Crete

    Hello, All,
    I have just been given sight of an ex-PoW questionnaire for 753715 LAC J O Weston, RAFVR (Met Section).
    Crete was occupied by Allied forces in Oct 1940. It was surrendered to the German parachute assault (Op MERCURY) in May 1941. Our Weston was taken PoW at Sternes (on 29 May 1941) which I think is on the Akrotiri Peninsular in the NW of the island. This may have been fairly near Maleme airfield. I think most military historians agree that the defence of Crete was not very good.
    I am trying to discover which RAF Formations/Units/Sqns, etc, were involved in the defence - and when they arrived and subsequently flew out.
    I would be most grateful for any information anyone may have.
    Rgds
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Peter

    From Operation Mercury (MG Comeau) ISBN 1-85260-389-5

    Disposition and Strength of RAF Crete 20 May 1941

    Creforce
    HQ RAF & Signals 20 officers 75 airmen

    Heraklion
    250 AMES 1 Officer 50 airmen
    112 Squadron & airfield detachment 16 officers 125 airmen

    Rethymnon
    Airfield detachment 10 airmen

    Maleme
    252 AMES 2 officers 54 airmen
    30 & 33 Squadrons 19 officers 210 airmen

    Casualties 71 killed 9 wounded 226 wounded/pow

    You should be able to get a s/h copy of this book without difficulty.

    regards
    DaveW

    (Remembering my cousin Corporal Frank Williams, 30 Squadron, killed in the defence of Maleme)
    Last edited by davew; 12th November 2008 at 12:43.

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    Dave, Hi,
    Very many thanks for that rapid and detailed reply - brilliant! Some of the Units and names are beginning to emerge from the "smoke/fog"!!! Some fairly detailed "fossicking" into the depths of the internet looks like coming my way!!
    Tks again
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default 30 Sqn on Crete

    Hi Peter,

    I can supply you with quite a bit of information regarding 30 Sqn's time on Crete including details of them leaving. The withdrawal from Crete was a protracted one for 30. I have many logbooks from 30 Sqn crews showing varied withdrawal dates from Crete.

    Let me know if you want any further info.

    Regards,
    Simon

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    Simon, Hi,
    Mni tks yr offer. I've sent you an email
    Rgds
    Peter
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default Crete narrative

    A very detailed account of V.C. Woodward's time in Crete is published in "Woody: A Fighter Pilot's Album" (CANAV Books, 1987, ISBN 0-9690703-8-1) if you can track it down in a library or second-hand book store.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Resmoroh View Post
    Hello, All,
    I think most military historians agree that the defence of Crete was not very good.
    IRgds
    Peter Davies
    I don't think that is true. I understand that the Allied forces on the island fought hard and the battle was, as they say, a close-run thing. It hinged on the capture of Maleme, but had they been able to use some of the information available from code-breaking then the airfield would have been better defended. With no air support for the defenders, and thus complete air superiority for the other, the eventual result was probably inevitable however good the defence.

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    Default Thanks - and German POW Camp locations.

    Hi All,
    Thanks for all the 'heads ups' and for the comments - much appreciated.
    Ross has interrogated his PoW lists for 753*** numbers. Tks Ross, but it put us no further forward!
    Simon I've emailed.
    Hugh, tks that book link.
    Graham, I didn't mean to cast nasturtiums on the forces doing the bizz on Crete but - as you have alluded - to the not very clever use of "Special Intelligence". As is often the case, I suspect, the blokes on the ground flogged their guts out but were not well served by those above Freyberg.
    Now I have to expose my ignorance (and there's quite a lot of it!!!). Ive just transcribed my man Weston's ex-POW form. Apart from Crete, he was in 6 POW camps:-
    Dulag Luft, Stalag Luft VIII B, Stalag Luft III, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag Luft IV, and to Stalag 357 (on the road!). I've tried to locate these on Google Earth using Ross' camp location names from his PoW List. But Google doesn't seem to want to play - probably because the names have changed. Can someone give me an Idiot's Guide to where these camps were in relation to reasonably large towns in Germany (I'm hoping to map my man's travels!).
    And (possibly one for the POW Camp Experts) does that list of camps (above), and the order, indicate any particular specific events? It might be pointed out that my man Weston had more 'postings' at the hands of the German PoW organisation than he had had at the hands of the RAF, and the Met Office - who actually controlled the movements of Met personnel through the Military Commanders
    I throw myself upon your combined mercys - and, belatedly in the Forum birthday celebrations. I think my aspects on Crete are going to be a tough nut to crack, but let's give it a go!!
    Regards to All
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 14th November 2008 at 16:31.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default

    It must always have been a hard decision to withhold information, to risk trouble today for the sake of the greater good later.

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    Graham,
    That's what Senior and/or Higher Command is all about. Some Senior Commanders had/have it. Many don't. It shows. But in this particular (Crete) case it might be that there was no Signals/Comms Officer of a high enough clearance on the island to (a) receive Enigma decrypts, and (b) to pass 'sanitized' versions of those on to the operational commanders. Interesting research problem!!!
    Tks yr interest
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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