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

439 — The Admiralty to the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean

The Admiralty to the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean

31 May 1941

The following is from the First Sea Lord5:

Should there be a reasonable prospect that any substantial formed body of men is capable of embarking tomorrow night, 2 June, His Majesty's Government considers that an attempt should be made to page 313 bring them off, especially in view of the unexpected success on the last two nights.1

It is presumed that the work of aircraft has contributed largely to this success, and it is assumed by His Majesty's Government that this air support will also be available for a further day operation.

If the experience tomorrow proves to be very different from that of the last two days the matter should be further considered.

Inform Mr. Fraser, General Freyberg, Commander-in-Chief, Middle East, and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Middle East.

5 Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound, GCB, OM, GCVO.

1 In his despatch on the Battle of Crete Admiral Cunningham states that he replied that General Weston had returned with the report that the 5000 troops remaining in Crete were incapable of further resistance owing to strain and lack of food and had therefore been instructed to capitulate; in the circumstances, no more ships would be sent.