At the end of April 1941, LCpl Henderson and a party of 200 led by Major Harrison and afterwards by Major Clements of the 4th Hussars, were making their way down to KALAMATA.

They turned off the main road down the valley and climbed up the hills to the east. They realised the Germans would soon be in KALAMATA and went S.E. on the land and hiding in the hills.

At GYTHION Maj Clements obtained a small boat and said he was going to CRETE to arrange for more boats to get them away. (They were all unaware of the attack on CRETE).

He did not return and the number of Germans was increasing so they split into small parties.

On 5.6.41 LCpl Henderson and some others got a boat and rowed across to CRETE. As they reached a point just west of KASTELLI KISSAMOS Germans opened fire on them. Some put their hands up at once, other, LCpl Henderson included, got out of the boat, swam ashore and hid among the rocks.

Those who surrendered betrayed their hiding place and they were all rounded up and put in a house on KASTELLI KISSAMOS.

They were set to work filling in holes in the roads, making a gun emplacement and moving RAF petrol drums that had been left behind.

In July they were moved and then shipped to SALONIKA, where they were imprisoned in the centre of the town.

LCpl Henderson is short and dark and might easily be taken for a Greek. He made use of this to escape.

He got hold of a workman’s clothing and worked out with a party of labourers on 1st August. He was sheltered in SALONIKA until the beginning of September, when he was told there was a better chance of escape if he went to KALLIKRATEIA.

He walked there and stayed with a fisherman where he was joined by an RAF Corporal. Together they took the responsibility, and worked hard at making arrangements, for evacuating a large party of British on a Greek caique. It was unfortunately perused by Germans, however, they were forced to land and many were captured.

LCpl Henderson escaped and returned, spending the winter with his fisherman friend. He tried hard throughout this period to obtain a passage and with the RAF pilot accosted every single caique captain who came into the bay north of the village, but none would take them to TURKEY.

Eventually they sailed on 4.5.42 with a number of others, and arrived 6.5.42.

LCpl Henderson showed spirit and initiative throughout. However, he not only made numerous attempts to leave GREECE, but was also instrumental in trying to evacuate a large number of British.

Middle East Representative

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 4th Hussars
  2. Middle East (Greece and Crete) timeline