SOCIETY

Battle of Crete: The 70th anniversary

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Andrew Robathan and British Ambassador to Athens David Landsman are among the notables who will attend a series of events to commemorate the Battle of Crete from May 20 to 22.

Events will take place mainly in Hania and Rethymno and include an impressive show by the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team — better known as the Red Arrows — at the old port of Hania on Sunday, May 22, at 11.30 a.m., as well as a tribute from the Royal Navy?s HMS Sutherland, which will dock at Souda Bay in southern Crete.

Veterans of the battle — which began on the morning of May 20 in 1941 when Hitler?s elite paratroopers invaded Crete overnight and were thwarted by allied forces and Cretan civilians — will also be attending the ceremonies.

For the occasion, a number of museum in Hania (Naval, War, Historical Archives and National Resistance) will waive their admission fees over the weekend, and memorial services will be held at the Galatas Memorial for New Zealanders (Friday, May 20, 7.30 p.m.), at the Allied Word War ll Cemetery in Souda (Saturday, May 21, 6 p.m.) and at the German Cemetery (Sunday, May 22, 1 p.m.).

Events will culminate at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 22, at Maleme Airport, where there will be a wreath-laying service, a march by veterans and the armed forces and a re-enactment of the battle.