Peter Wildey describes repelling German attack, Crete

Second Lieutenant Peter Wildey served with 7th (NZ) Field Company on Crete. Here he describes repelling a German attack during the retreat to Sfakia.


As we were coming down, just overlooking Sfakia, there was a great commotion. There were troops to the side of the road, a lot of them were Aussies, they were discussing—there was somebody coming through a deep ravine, straight below. Well, I still had my field glasses, and had a look, and it was Germans. This is serious—for them to get through there. So we opened up on them with the tommy gun. It was a bit out of range to be very effective, but you could shoot down on them alright.

I knew that Headquarters was down a bit further somewhere, so I went down, found this cave, all walled up in the front. I went in, and it was Brigadier Hargest was in there, looking absolutely haggard and exhausted... I told him the situation, he said, "You go back up there and make sure everybody keeps them pinned down there, and leave it to me. I'll do something about it." Which he did, because later on I could see a platoon of troops moving on the other side of the ravine, getting right round, encircling where these Germans were.

That later turned out that the man who was leading them was Charlie Upham, VC. That was one of the parts of his earning the VC in Crete. They got down there and it was so difficult for them, they had Bren guns, and they had to hold a chap by the ankles, holding over the brow of the thing, to fire the Bren gun...

Later on they counted 39 dead there, but I think we got some from our side at the start because they were very exposed... It was very dangerous-had they got up through there it would have upset the whole evacuation.

Peter Wildey

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