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Our Committee is raising funds to create a lasting legacy telling the story of Lemnos' link to Gallipoli and Australia's Anzac story. Our projects include the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park, the publication of a major new historical and pictorial publication and more. To make a donation you can also deposit directly by direct debit into the Committee's bank account: Account Name: Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Inc; Bank: Delphi Bank; Account No: 204299-020 BSB No: 941300; Include your surname in the reference section. For further information on our legacy projects or to make a donation please contact either Lee Tarlamis 0411553009 or Jim Claven 0409402388M

Thursday, 28 April 2016

28-29 April 1945 - Kalamata evacuations continues as the Battle of Kalamata erupts

Battle of Kalamata Waterfront, NZ Official History, Greece.
On the 28th April all was set for one final effort to shift the men from Kalamata.
7-8,000 troops remained ashore, including a battalion of New Zealanders and a mixed bunch of Australian gunner and transport drivers. Coming to their aid was a powerful convoy of ships led by Lt Commander Bowyer-Smith. A Royal Navy officer and baronet, he was the Captain of the HMAS Perth. The flotilla – known as Force B - consisted of the Australian cruiser HMAS Perth, together with another cruiser Pheobe and the destroyers Decoy and Hasty. Sailing north these ships were joined by four more destroyers (Nubian, Hero, Hereward and Defender), the whole force aiming to arrive at Kalamata by 10pm that night. For safety reasons, he sent Hero under Captain Briggs forward to reconnoitre the town at 6.30pm. Nearing the port, Hero reported 8.45pm that the “Bosch in town”. Sadly this was a misinterpretation of tracer fire lighting the night.
Kalamata Memorial
The Battle of Kalamata - Sergeant Jack Hinton wins the Victoria Cross
Two companies of the 5th Panzer Division, with two field guns, had attempted a daring coup by storming the town. It entered the town and got as far as the quay. They succeeded in capturing the naval–sea transport officer in charge of the port, Captain Clark-Hall. All was nearly lost. They were met by men of the NZ Reinforcement camp, a group originally awaiting allocation to various other units as reinforcement. These had been organised as a defence force of three rifle companies and a battalion Headquarters by Major MacDuff. Along with small groups of other New Zealand and Australian troops they counter-attacked, many not receiving orders before pitching in. Some 40 Germans were killed and 100 captured.
It was during this action that the bravery of Sergeant Jack Hinton of the 20th New Zealand Battalion earned him the Victoria Cross.
British Tankers ambushed north of Kalamata
Earlier in the day, the 300 men of the British 4th Hussars had been ordered north of the town to search for the advancing enemy. They were ambushed and either killed or captured to a man. A sorry end for these men who had fought with the Anzacs at Vevi.
Evacuations continue
Meanwhile other evacuations continued - from Rafina 800 troops evacuated by HMS Havock; from Porto Rafti 3,840 troops evacuated by HMS Ajax, Kingston and Kimberley.
At Tolos 260 Australian troops were defending the beaches at Tolos and Argos.

Australian Unit Locations - 28th April
16th Brigade HQ - At sea
17th Brigade HQ - Kalamata
19th Brigade HQ - Suda Bay
2/1st Battalion - Kalibees
2/2nd Battalion - At sea
2/3rd Battalion -At sea
2/4th Battalion - Neon Khorion
2/5th Battalion - At sea
2/6th Battalion - Kalamata
2/7th Battalion - Suda Bay
2/8th Battalion - Suda Bay
2/11th Battalion - Suda Bay
2/1st Machine Gun Battalion - Chania
Thanks to Paul Sougleris of Greek Anzacs for his information on unit locations drawn from the official unit dairies.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
& Member, Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign Commemorative Council

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