A forum dedicated to War memorials, historical sites, battlefield tours, etc.
Good one Sean, awaiting the next instalment
The N W of Crete is hilly, with many steep valleys cutting there way down to the sea, it is also well cultivated with Olive groves, orange orchards, & vineyards. Bearing this in mine, Jacks ability to keep direction at times became very difficult, so it meant him coming down to the coast to get his bearings. He came out close to a hospital, & again bumped into another lost sole, this time a member of his unit who he had not seen since the Greece campaign. After a brief talk Jack moved on without this man, again the situation seemed to have left this person in a state of shock, so Jack had no choice to leave him to his fate. Now back on the coast & out in the open he soon became the target for the German air force, & escaped death on more than 1 or 2 occasions. Jack talks about luck being on his side, & feels that he somehow survived when people around him did not. He came across a German flag with the swastika symbol on it, these were used as DZ markers for resupply. He was tempted to pick it up, but thought better of it, not wanting to be picked up by the Germans with it in his possession. At long last he came to Hania, having only been to the RAF HQ once before when he escorted a resupply truck from Maleme. He was sent to a holding area & then loaded onto a truck for evacuation over the mountains. He was one of the lucky ones as many had to walk, they made there way at night along the narrow mountain Rd's, a terrifying experiences he recalls.He is not sure where exactly but the truck ran out of fuel, so they all got out & pushed it over the edge into one of the many gorges that run all over Crete. He clearly remembers lying up on the cliffs above Sfakia, where they were dived bombed. Many down on the beach suffered terribly as anti-personnel bombs exploded all around them. Eventually his turn came & he was rowed out to the waiting RN ships, sorry I cannot remember the name of the ship Jack got away on & will add it when I next talk to Jack. Once safe back in Alexandria they were sent on what was termed survivors leave, after this 30 Sqn re grouped, but just before the battle of El Alamine the Sqn was called away from the desert & kitted out with tropical kit. They where put on the aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable & told there destination was Singapore, but before they got there it fell to the Japanese. They diverted to Ceylon, & Jack ended his war in the far East after 4 years service with no home leave. I would be happy to take any Q's that might arise from this story,
cheers for now