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

438 — General Freyberg to General Wavell

General Freyberg to General Wavell

30 May 1941

I leave Crete tonight in accordance with your orders.3 I have handed over command to General Weston.4 I again urge you to do all that is possible to send ships tomorrow night to evacuate the gallant remnants of the British, Australian, and New Zealand troops who have borne the brunt of the fighting in the battle for Crete.

3 General Freyberg had received the following order from General Wavell on 29 May: ‘You yourself will return to Egypt first opportunity.’ He replied next morning that the signal had arrived too late for him to comply and that he was depending on the arrival of a Sunderland flying boat that night. He left Crete by flying boat on the night of 30–31 May.

4 Lieutenant-General E. C. Weston, CB, Royal Marines; then Major-General commanding 1st Royal Marine Group, Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisation, and Commander of Suda area.

In accordance with his orders General Weston left from Sphakia by flying boat on the night of 31 May – 1 Jun. Before leaving, he directed the senior British officer remaining behind to capitulate on the morning of 1 Jun.