British Troops Back From Greece (1941) newsreel
Copyright expired - public domain
On 6 April 1941, German forces attacked both Greece and Yugoslavia. Some 58,000 allied troops, including two-thirds of the Australian 6th Division, were transported from Africa to help the Greek army face the Germans. Australians and New Zealanders ('ANZAC Corps') served in some successful delaying actions, but withdrawal was soon inevitable. Evacuation began on 24 April. The British removed more than 50,000 troops over 5 successive nights. In this newsreel footage, we see allied troops from Greece arriving in the port of Basra in May 1941. This film was shown at cinemas throughout Australia. British Pathé FILM ID: 1115.24
The aftermath of the magnificent fighting retreat from Greece. Straight from the battles of the passes, following a series of bitter rearguard actions, British troops snatch hasty refreshment during the grim evacuation of the expeditionary force to Egypt. Their safe arrival at a Mediterranean port is a glowing tribute to our three services who inflicted many more casualties than they suffered. The ex-Commander in Chief of the Yugoslavian Army, together with a number of his soldiers, are among the wounded to be brought ashore. Different assembly points for British and Anzac troops seem to indicate the dangers of reviving the [Harry] Larwood bowling argument [of 1932-33]. But judged by their happy appearance, they have just come back from manoeuvres rather than surpassing the epic battles of the Ancient Greeks. Men like these are the salt of the earth.