George Garratt

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George Garratt
Garratt George 1.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 13 Feb 1904
Place of Birth Hanslope, Buckinghamshire, England
Death 17 Jan 1991, aged 86
Place of Death Nedlands, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 35 years, 8 months
Description 5'10" (1.78m) tall ; ; dark complexion ; grey blue eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Market gardener
Religion Church of England
Address Bedfordale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr George Garratt
Military Information
Reg Number WX414
Date of Enlistment 7 Nov 1939
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 20 Apr 1940 ‒ 19 May 1940
Transport Details HMT Y3 Nevasa Fremantle to El Kantana, Egypt
Journey Dates 10 Apr 1941 ‒ 12 Apr 1941
Transport Details SS Pennland Alexandria, Egypt to Piraeus, Greece
Journey Dates 25 Apr 1941 ‒ 26 Apr 1941
Transport Details SS Thurland Castle Megarda, Greece to Suda Bay, Crete
Journey Dates 13 May 1945
Transport Details plane Germany to England
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 30 May 1945 ‒ 7 Jul 1945
Transport Details J10 Liverpool to Sydney
Post War Details
Fate POW Crete 6 Jun 1941
Returned to Australia
External Monument(s) The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial Ballarat, Victoria
Medals 1939-45 Star
Africa Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

On 17 Jan 1926 21 year old farmhand George arrived in Fremantle aboard the SS Largs Bay from London which they left on 18 Dec 1925.

Electoral Roll entries: 1931 c/o GV Cross, Kelmscott, market gardener; 1936 - 1943 at Bedfordale, market gardener.

War Service

Enlisted at Subiaco and taken on strength by the 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion on 8 Nov 1939. On 30 Nov 1939 along with the unit he embarked in Fremantle for the eastern states to join the rest of the 6th Division, returning to Claremont camp on 2 Apr 1940. George embarked on the HMT Y3 Nevasa on 20 Apr 1940 for Kantana in Egypt.

After arriving in the Middle East, the 2/11th trained in Palestine and Egypt. A decision to reorganise Australian infantry brigades along British lines, with three battalions instead of four, meant the 2/11th was now part of the 19th Brigade, but it remained part of the 6th Division. The battalion went into action for the first time at Bardia on 5 Jan 1941 and, as part of the Allied advance into Italian-occupied Libya, subsequently fought at Tobruk on 21-22 Jan 1941, and helped to secure Derna airfield on 25 Jan 1941. It was advancing to the south of Benghazi when the Italians surrendered on 7 Feb 1941.

On 10 Apr 1941 they embarked on SS Pennland in Alexandria harbour for Greece. The Allied forces, however, were unable to hold back the attacking Germans. The 2/11th withdrew from its initial positions at Kalabaka and remained on the move until it occupied rearguard positions at Brallos Pass a week later. It fought and slowed the Germans there on 24 April and then continued its withdrawal to Megara, where it was evacuated by sea on the night of 25 Apr 1941 aboard SS Thurland Castle. The battalion landed on Crete the next day. It was subsequently deployed with the 2/1st Battalion to defend Retimo airfield, which was held tenaciously for ten days following the landing of German paratroops on 20 May. German successes elsewhere on Crete, however, made surrender inevitable. Many 2/11th soldiers attempted to escape from Crete but only a relatively small number ultimately succeeded; most were taken prisoner. On 4 Jun 1941 George was listed as Missing, believed to be a prisoner of war, captured in Crete. This was confirmed on 30 Oct 1941, and it was said that he was interred in Stalag XIIIC with his POW Number being 09985.

On 10 May 1945 he deplaned in the UK from Germany as a recovered POW (8 May 1945) and was sent to the 1st AIF Transit Camp. Here on 10 May 1945 he was granted proficiency pay. He made a statement to the authorities on 11 May 1945 on the circumstances of his capture on 6 Jun 1941 - capitulation of the Island. Ptes Phillips, Horace and E Martin were with him when captured. He was placed in Stalag XIIIC from 7 Aug 1941 until 2 Sep 1941, after which he was moved to AK 7014 until 1 Apr 1945. He described living conditions as indifferent, with straw sack blankets, fair rations, no other clothing until a Red Cross issue was received, and poor sanitary conditions. No recreation facilities were on offer. He was used to do farm work, 12 hours per day for 15 German pfennigs per day. He received regular Red Cross parcels, and had received medical treatment from Stalag XIIIC on 19 Feb 1941 for dysentery.

Along with others he embarked in Liverpool on 30 May 1945 for Sydney where they disembarked on 7 Jul 1945. Returned to Western Australia, on 7 Aug 1945 he was admitted to the 109th Australian Convalescent Depot at Point Walter for medical rehabilitation. On 12 Sep 1945 he was discharged from hospital and was discharged from the Army the following day, 13 Sep 1945.

Post War

In Feb 1982 George's wife Mrs Joan Olive Garratt of 26 Robin Hood avenue, Armadale had written to the authorities seeking information about a medal issued by Greece to which he might be entitled. Daughters born 21 Aug 1948 (Melody Ann) and 7 Aug 1950 (Ruth April). Wife Joan died 30 Sep 2000 aged 81 in Armadale.

Electoral Roll entries: 1949 - 1958 at Carradine road, Bedfordale, farmer 1968 - 1980 at 26 Robinhood avenue, Armadale;


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