|A few of the lads aboard the HMS Kimberley, 1st May 1941. Syd Grant Collection|
Meanwhile at Miloi, 700 troops were evacuated by HMS Hotspur and Havock.
And so ended Operation Demon and the effort to evacuate the Allied force in Greece. This has been called "the Second Dunkirk" and was a successful evacuation of the vast majority of Allied forces. Of the 58,000 Allied soldiers landed in Greece in 1941, over 50,000 were evacuated.
The evacuation mobilsed a major naval flotilla, consisting of 6 cruisers, 20 destroyers, 4 escort vessels, 9 troopships (I sunk at sea) and several smaller vessels. Further 5 ships used to ferry troops from Crete to Egypt.
On the negative side, 26 troop ships sunk during the evacuation by German air attacks. 8,000 Allied troops (including Australians, British, Cypriots, Palestinians and Yugoslavs) captured or on the run. Of the Australians, 2,030 were captured out of the 17,500 troops who served on the Greek mainland. Hundreds of Italian POW’s were released.
Yet after this time, Allied soldiers continued to make their way from the mainland to join their units.
Many Allied troops continued to escape from the Greek mainland and the Germans by individual means. Hidden and helped by local Greek villagers, both evaders and escapers, hired or were given passage in Greek fishing boats and other vessels. They made their way across the Aegean - some to Crete, others to the Asia Minor coast of Turkey and others even to Cyprus.
Australian Unit Locations - 30th April-1st May
16th Brigade HQ - Ikingi Maryut then Julius Camp (Palestine)
17th Brigade HQ - Limania then Bay of Messinia
19th Brigade HQ - Suda Bay
2/1st Battalion - Retimo
2/2nd Battalion - Ikingi Maryut
2/3rd Battalion - Kantara
2/4th Battalion - Heraklion
2/5th Battalion - Ikingi Maryut then Hill 69 (Palestine)
2/6th Battalion - Limania
2/7th Battalion - Celebes
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.
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
& Member, Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign Commemorative Council