Australians in Crete in World War II

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This paper argues that the Australian involvement in wartime Crete took place in three main phases. In the first phase Australian forces participated in the defence of Crete against German invasion over twelve days in May/June 1941. The second phase began with the surrender of the Allied forces and the stranding on the island of perhaps a thousand Allied soldiers, including Australians. These men “on the run” were forced to rely on the assistance of Cretans for their very survival, and they found the local population remarkably receptive to their needs. The third and final phase grew out of the previous two phases and comprised Australian participation in resistance activities in collaboration with local resistance elements and British forces. The key figure in this regard was Tom Dunbabin, an Australian who became a senior officer with the British Special Operations Executive and who did much to shape the conduct of “irregular” warfare in Crete.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-162
Number of pages20
JournalModern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand)
Volumespecial issue
Issue number 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Reproduced with permission from the publisher.


  • Crete, World War II
  • World War II
  • Australians


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