Author(s): Lynn McConnell
This is the story of ordinary New Zealander's achieving extraordinary things: first, in defending the town of Galatas in Crete against overwhelming German military might; and secondly, once the town was lost, fighting to reclaim it in what has been described as the first time that any foe stood up to Germany during the Second World War and turned the attack back on them. Many Germans died at the end of New Zealand bayonets in this desperate struggle that is still celebrated annually in the small Grecean town. The battle for Crete was fought by combined forces of the Commonwealth, but Galatas was New Zealand's own trial by fire. The voices of those who survived relate their personal stories - honest, modest and unsentimental - and, along with many historic and contemporary photographs, tell the story of what it is really like to be in this situation of face-to-face combat, and to live, or die, with the realities and frustrations of war. The legacy of sacrifice at Crete - and Galatas in particular - created national heroes out of mere mortals and serves to remind us of the futility of war and the resilience of the New Zealand spirit.