HC Deb 01 November 1944 vol 404 cc793-4
50. Mr. Astor

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he can give any information regarding recent operations conducted by the Royal Navy in Greek waters.

Mr. Alexander

Naval operations have been greatly intensified in the Aegean in the last six weeks. Surface units, submarines and naval aircraft have played a large part in harassing the German withdrawal from Southern Greece and the islands, in the liberation of Greek soil, and in the carriage of relief supplies. In the course of these operations our naval forces have sunk 31 enemy warships and transports of various sizes, and 40 small craft, such as caiques, lighters, etc. Many of these vessels were carrying German troops. In addition 16 warships and merchant ships and at least 15 small craft have been severely damaged. Naval aircraft also attacked enemy installations, road and rail transport and radio stations in the Islands and on the mainland. In support of the land forces many bombardments have been carried out, troops have landed and three islands surrendered to His Majesty's ships. The forces concerned are under the general command of Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Rawlings, K.C.B., O.B.E., and include cruisers, aircraft carriers, destroyers, submarines and flotillas of minesweeping and coastal craft. They include a contingent of the Greek Navy as well as French and Polish vessels.

Sir Percy Harris

Could not the Admiralty give more publicity to this splendid work by the Navy? Why are they so shy and modest?

Mr. Alexander

I am not aware that we have been unduly reserved in the matter. The separate actions involved in the statement that the hon. Member has asked for have all been published.