Evacuation of Crete continues

An overview of British naval operations during the battle for Crete.

For a timeline of the operation see New Zealand History Online.

Charles Bowman was serving on the troop carrying assault ship HMS Glengyle:

Finally, it was decided we should evacuate Crete, and the Glengyle returned to Sphakia and performed the almost incredible feat of taking away 8,000 troops in one lift to Alexandria. You can imagine how we were packed-out, there was no sleep for any of the crew, and we went several days without any.

With these numbers on board, the state of the ship can well be imagined. All craft on the davits were manned by those troops fit enough to do so, who assisted with small arms to beat off air attacks, which were almost non-stop.

Many casualties were received amoungst these men but we did not receive any damage, and soon became known throughout the East Mediterranean as a ‘lucky ship’. On this trip especially the medical and supply branches of the ship worked night and day to look after this huge number of men.

Read more of this story on BBC People’s War.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

adrian bancroft December 14, 2012 at 10:40 am

dear editor. thank you so much. i had in fact given up but will resume the want to search for what dad did. he like many others would not talk about the war. all brave men that our generation want to thank.adrian

Editor July 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Hi Adrian

Gordon Smith’s superbly comprehensive Naval-History Net is the best place to start for researching any Royal Navy ship see http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-06CL-Orion.htm

regards

Martin

adrian bancroft July 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm

‘Ginger’ or Victor John Bancroft was on HMS Orion at the time. I want to try and trace his ships movements and the actions they were involved in. Dad said little but I have been to Crete to understand what he and his ship mates went through.

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