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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume I

432 — General Freyberg to General Wavell

General Freyberg to General Wavell

28 May 1941

Creforce Headquarters is now at Sphakia. We have been unable to disengage our front and it is most unlikely that we shall be able to hold out here until the night of 31 May–1 June. Please do all you can to expedite our embarkation. We have only the New Zealand divisional infantry and the Australians who are formed military bodies fit to fight. I think that an optimistic view of our numbers of fighting troops would be under 2000 strong, with three guns and 140 rounds all told, and three light tanks. I am certain that tomorrow night will be the last on which we can hope to get our people away. There is a very large number of unarmed stragglers. I intend to concentrate on the evacuation of fighting troops tomorrow and, if any are left over, tell them to go west to Port Lutro and Franco Kastelli for the next night for stragglers.2

2 There are two copies of this telegram on the GOC's files. The first reads: ‘… to go west to Ag Rumeli for next night.’ A correction substituting Port Lutro for Ag Rumeli followed and then a second cable, as above, was sent. Ag Rumeli is approximately 10 miles west of Sphakia; Port Lutro, 4 miles west; and Franco Kastelli, 6 miles east.