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Battle Of Crete 70th Anniversary 2011


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#1 Ian D.

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 02:35 AM

Hi there, this is my first posting so by way of introduction I'm a 50 year old unfit ne'r-do-well from Ashton-in-Makerfield near Wigan, Lancashire, England. A colleague and myself will be visiting Crete in May for the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete and I would be grateful if anyone could tell me about any memorial services or other events taking place. We intend walking from Souda Bay to Sfakia around the 28th of May, "in the footsteps of the Allied forces", to raise money for 'Help for Heroes' as part of our holiday, and will be on the island from the 17th to the 31st.
Ian D.

#2 Ros21

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 03:12 PM

There are services every year to celebrate the Battle of Crete. Tim who is one of the moderators on this site usually posts the details nearer the time.
Good luck with your walk & fundraising.

Ros.

#3 arthur roper

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 01:00 PM

Ian

The programme for the Battle of Crete commemorations is invariable available at the last minute! However, it tends to follow the same pattern as previous years. It being the 70th Anniversary, there are likely to be more events and a greater number of people attending. If possible, I would suggest you and your colleague visit Mike`s Hotel in Maleme from 17/18th May as it is the main focus of the UK Crete Vetertans & Friends Society. The hotel is on the main road in Maleme, on the right hand side as you leave the village to travel to Tavronitis. The main commemoration will at CWGC Suda Bay on Saturday 21 May. If you can make it to Mike`s you will be very welcome and will meet some very interesting people. I am sure you could also secure some sponsorship for the great cause of Help for Heroes.

Cheers

Arthur Roper

PS A contributor to this forum and Battle of Crete expert, Mr Tim Todd, made the trek about 5(?) years ago - I am sure he could give you some advice as long as you don`t want him to join you! I think Tim will be in Crete in May.

#4 Tim

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 02:08 PM

I am afraid my old friend Arthur gives me too much credit. I was due to assist some colleagues on a repeat of the "In the Footsteps of Heroes" Expedition, which is the route followed by the group that abducted Kreipe, but was prevented by illness at the last minute . (See wwww.illmetbymoonlight.info for details).
Otherwise, the main point of the dates for the anniversary is as others have said, details to follow. I will be in Crete, hopefully from 9th to 31st so may not be able to get them on as normal but I am sure someone will. I too look forward to catching up with a few old friend at Mikes, and meeting some new folk.
I am at a meeting of the Bristol and West Crete Veterans tomorrow and will check with Maureen as to any updated info and report back here. I will be taking two vets to our meeting who did the Souda Sfakia walk-and back.

#5 Pam

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 11:29 AM

Tim, as you may remember we're now living a few miles east of Chania and would be happy to meet up with you when you have the full details and post them on here. You'd also be very welcome to come and stay with us for a couple of nights. Our village (Neo Chorio) is actually on the route that Ian will be taking to Sfakia.

Ian, do let us know what sort of time you expect to be walking through the village - it's just a couple of kilometres past Stylos, and we'll make sure we're waiting in the square (at one of the kafenions) to see you pass.

Pam

#6 Tim

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 01:04 PM

Pam
Thank you for both of your kind offers. Perhaps nearer the time we can swap mobile numbers and I can get program details to you. If I don't get them beforehand, I will get program details from the Veterans meeting that will likely take place at Mikes on Wednesday 18th May.
As to your generous offer of a couple of nights accommodation, many thanks but an old friend who is coming over from Athens is arranging things for us all. Thanks anyway for the kind offer.
At the meeting of the Bristol and West Crete vets on Thursday, it was confirmed that the only firm date so far is the Suda Bay ceremony on Saturday 21st - though I haven't got the time yet. We are hopeful that around ten veterans from around the country will be in the Crete Veterans and Friends party, I think there may also be a small number traveling independently.
I am sure we can catch up whilst we are around the West area during the commemoration events.
I chatted to my two veterans, Cliff and Stafford about their walk from the north to the south. The points that came across were that nothing resembling the road that now exists was present at the time, and that the track deteriorated even further on the south side of the Askifou plateau. Many went down the Imbros Gorge but were held back above the beaches and never actually made it to the beaches or Hora Sfakion because of the queues. People mainly made their way south at their own pace taking three to four days typically. I got the impression that walking time, as opposed to start to finish time, was about 36 hours for many. The main concern for all was the scarcity of water and food. I remember one veteran telling me that his life was probably saved by a tin of carnation milk that he had.
The return journey was much like the outward for my two friends, no real hassle from Jerry, just an acceptance that one had to make one's way back to the north. No food provided, no beatings for lack of pace, must have been unbearable though.
I was loaned a copy of Davin's Official History in the Second World War Crete on Thursday. It is very detailed and amongst it's 500 odd pages I may learn more about the retreat and evacuation. I don't think it is one of those books you cannot put down so it may be a while before I can post further on that ;-)

#7 Ian D.

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 09:10 PM

Thank you all for the info. The more I can learn about the original walk the more accurate I can make ours.
Pam, look forward to passing through your village and seeing you, perhaps we could exchange mobile numbers nearer the time so I can let you know when we're near. Still have lots of planning to do on the route and such.
Arthur, thanks for the heads up on where the veterans meet. We look forward to meeting them when we're over there if they'll let us. We're staying in Chania from the 17th of May.

Tim, any info you or your veteran friends can give me on their route would be great, we want to be as accurate as possible. We intend on going down the Imbros Pass if it's open when we get there, but other parts of the route are vague. The best map I could get was the 1:100,000 Tourist road map but we don't want to do the whole walk by the main road, especially if it wasn't the route taken 70 years ago. Also could you advise me if it is alright to put a link to the charity sponsorship site on this forum so that anyone that might want to could give a donation on line. Not sure if this is against the rules. I already have a link to explorecrete on our charity page.

Thanks again for the info, look forward to more if members have it, Best wishes Ian D.

#8 Tim

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 01:53 PM

Ian
Re maps. These are slowly improving. I've always used the Harms Verlag 1:100.000 (East and West) but there are some better ones at higher resolution for some walking/climbing areas of Crete. Have a look at what is on offer at Stanfords or the Hellenic Bookservice.
I'm afraid my vets won't be able to help much more with detail, age and memory, but if I can pick up anything more than 'the new road pretty much follows the route we took", I'll write it here. If I remember correctly, on another site a chap called Wolfgang took some present day photos of the road to Sfakia and put them alongside ones from 1941. They would give you a very good idea of the terrain that has been replaced by tarmac. Drop me a PM and I'll give you some pointers as to where you might find that info.
As to links, I think you'll need to check with Yannis the webmaster. I think any links with a financial, (which usually means commercial), element are banned. He is pretty busy elsewhere these days so don't expect an immediate answer.

#9 Ian D.

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 02:58 PM

Thanks Tim, will check with Yannis and also send you a PM as soon as I figure out how - this is the first forum I've gone on to but have to say I am well impressed, up to date and relevant local info at your finger tips!
Thanks, Ian D.

#10 Tim

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 03:13 PM

Click on the poster's button top left for options including PM. You have a PM waiting for you.

#11 ROYMISKELLY

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 05:44 PM

Hi,
I also will be in Crete for the 70th Commemoration of the Battle of Crete and will once permission has been obtained be representing the Royal Air Force Regiment and the Royal Air Force Regiment Association. I will be staying in Malame and would like to visit 'Mike's' Hotel to find out more about the commemoration. I am aware of the one at the CWGC but wondered if anyone new of any activity at the RAF Memorial just north of the airfield at Malame.

#12 Tim

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 12:24 AM

Hi, the RAF memorial is just up the road from mikes. Travel west and just past the present base the road bears left and then right over the Tavronitis bridge. On the approach to the bridge is a large area like a car park, pull over on to this and do a 180 and you should see it in front of you. It sorts of backs on to the west side of the Greek base. If you go over the bridge you have gone too far. Incidentally, I undetstand that what happened at the airfield 70 years ago led to the formation of the RAF regiment, (aka rock apes?).
I have missed the last few years but have previously been aware of the crete vets and friendd placing a wreath, time decided at mikes meeting i expect, and there has often been a seperate wreath from either 30 or 33 sqd, csn't remember which but they are the Herc crew vrom Lyneham, suggest you check with them if they are doing it this year with all the cuts.
Tim

#13 mike. Vellacott

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 07:00 PM

I will be in Crete for the celibrations. If nobody is laying a wreath at 30 sq mimorial will do. Contact Tony Maine 30 sq Assocation for more info

#14 Tim

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 10:13 PM

Hi MIke,
Just wishing you welcome to this website. I think I may know who you are and have met you in Crete with your late father once or twice. Look forward to catching up at Mikes or elsewhere.
Tim

#15 arthur roper

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 05:44 PM

Hi Tim, Mike & Roy

In 2009 RAF personnel from RAF Benson and RAF Lyneham attended the services at the RAF Memorial, The Welch & Suda Bay. As Tim mentions, the cuts may have an impact on this year`s attendance by serving RAF members. It is always a very dignified and personal service at the RAF Memorial and last year we were all moved by the spreading of the ashes of Mike`s late father.

The number of "new" people attending seems to be building up and I think we can look forward to a memorable and moving week.

Best wishes everybody see you in May!


Arthur Roper

#16 Tim

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 12:57 PM

Thanks for the last Arthur. Yes there does seem to be an even greater interest growing to that of previous years- and that is no bad thing.
As a consequence I have started a new thread in the more appropriate General section so would contributors please use that for anniversary related posts from now on. I'll see if I can transfer what has been written above to that thread (don't hold your breath!)

#17 mike. Vellacott

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 11:42 PM

Dad will be on sky channel 252 on saterday 26/feb at 23.00 on globe trecker he was interviewed at suda bay if this is of interest to you

#18 Tim

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 01:32 PM

Wasn't available to me as a non sky viewer, remember him very well though.

#19 nesta

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 12:31 PM

Hi, newbie here.

I was delighted to find your forum through Google (what did we ever do without Google!)

My Dad was with the Royal Marines MNBDO, I think he was at Suda Bay. During the evacuation he was sent back to fight a rear guard. He was taken prisoner on 1st June and sent to Stalag 8b, plus some other camps which I can't remember. I wish I had listened more when he was alive! He did have some amazing stories to tell.

I was holidaying Crete in 1993, stayed in Platanias, when the penny dropped and I realised I could have been treading in his footsteps. I made an attempt to do some research, but the internet wasn't what it was today and I had to rely on books and info from the Royal Marines Museum. When I saw that it was the 70th anniversary this year it rekindled my interest, and here we are!

I have booked a 7 days stay at Mike's Apartment in Maleme from 17th May. I have taken a look at the programme of events and will definitely attend a couple of those, other than that I have no real plans on what I am going to to do whilst I am there.

It would be great to meet some of you guys and exchange stories and information.

Nesta :rolleyes:

#20 Tim

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 05:50 PM

Nesta,

I think there may be one or more RM NMBDO veterans in the party from UK. (If you are reading this Stafford, wasn't that your outfit or am I confused ?)

Tim