The Royal Australian Navy in the evacuations of Greece and Crete in 1941

HMAS Nizam loaded with troops being withdrawn from Crete. George Silk, AWM 061018.

In January and February 2019 I was one of three Summer Scholars working at the Australian War Memorial. As part of this internship, I conducted independent research into the involvement of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in the evacuations of Greece and Crete in 1941. This research explores the role of the light cruiser HMAS Perth, and the destroyers HMAS StuartVampireVendettaVoyagerWaterhenNapier and Nizam in embarking troops from mainland Greece and Crete after German invasion in early 1941. This project considers the intricacies of the evacuations, outlining how the Royal Navy (with the help of the RAN) was able to evacuate over 60,000 British and Commonwealth troops from the mainland and nearly 15,000 from Crete under constant threat from German aircraft and Italian submarines. More than this, however, this project aims to emphasise the experiences of the RAN officers and ratings serving in the ships, and centralise their voices in the story of the RAN in WWII.

To learn more, read my report or watch my presentation below. This research can also be found in Wartime no. 89 (2020), available for order through the Australian War Memorial.