Food supplies reach the Dodecanese islands

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From Herbert Dobson's diary ...

"22nd May 1945
We left CALYMNOS at 4 o'clock as we wanted to get to LEROS in good time. This island is only one hour's run to the North, and although we were watching the charts we turned into PORTO LARGO harbour much sooner than we expected."

"Here desolation was complete. The ravages of the battle fought here by the British against overwhelming German odds and air power in 1943 was evident everywhere. Sunk, completely out of sight, in this magnificent harbour, once an important Italian naval base, are two destroyers. One, 'Queen Olga' of the Greek Navy, got a bomb straight down her funnel. The other is a British ship."

"23rd May 1945
We sailed from LEROS at 1400 and headed for ASTYPALAEA, the last of our calling places. Danger of mines caused a wide detour of the satellite islands of Astypalaea but we came into Castello Bay about 1730, just as the sun was dropping, plunging the town into shadow and tinting the castle with its red rays. To our disappointment there was no quay with sufficient water to allow the ML to come close in so we dropped anchor and made the best of it."

"Soon the CAO rowed out to meet the boss and in his wake came more small boats full of youths bearing loads of hand knitted jerseys, local wine, sponges, fancy knives, in return for which they wanted one thing only - food"

"When they realised we were not a supply ship they asked for clothing, wherewith the Navy dashed below and brought up all its old whites and navy blues with which the locals returned triumphant to the shore while the navy grinned at the rows of bottles on deck."

"13th June 1945
Sea smooth and the sun gloriously hot. After much uncertainty on the skipper's part as to where the harbour lay, we entered it (SCALA, ASTYPALAEA) about 1230 hrs. There was little craft about and the town seemed strangely quiet as it lay in the burning midday sun."

"We soon found out that everyone had flocked to the store where rations were being distributed for the month."




Copyright © John Hearfield 2012 - and my thanks to Scott Kimler of randsco.com for the clever PZ3 zoom code.