6th February 1911 – 21st May 1941
Herbert Pilsbury is commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/937003/PILSBURY,%20HERBERT), the Roll of Honour at Wootton, Beds (http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Bedfordshire/WoottonRollofHonour.html) and the Roll of Honour of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (http://www.cccbr.org.uk/rolls/ )
The following details have been obtained from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and other sources:
Date of Death:
21st May 1941
Royal Engineers, 121 Road Construction Company.
Suda Bay War Cemetery - Plot 7. Row A. Grave 8
Date and place of birth: 6th February 1911 at Stafford.
Son of William and Caroline Charlotte Mable Pilsbury.
Husband of Rose Ellen Pilsbury (née Beard)
Married at St.Leonard’s Church, Bedford on 1st July 1934
Father of Rosanne Pilsbury and William G Pilsbury
In May 1941, the Commonwealth
force in Crete was organised in five widely separated defence areas along the
north coast - around the three airfields at Iraklion, Rethymnon and Maleme, and
at Suda Bay and the port of Chania. The Germans launched their attack on 20 May
with airborne troops. The airfield at Maleme was quickly captured and used for
landing German reinforcements. On 23 May, the remainder of the Maleme position
had to be given up and its defenders fell back to Chania. On 26 May, the Allied
line west of Chania was broken. Suda Bay became indefensible and the troops from
these two positions, with the remainder of the Maleme garrison, withdrew across
the island to Sfakion, where many of them were evacuated by sea on the nights of
the 28 - 31 May. The airborne attacks on the Iraklion and Rethymnon positions on
20 May were repulsed. Iraklion was successfully defended until the night of
29/29 May when the garrison was evacuated by sea. Orders for the Rethymnon
garrison to fight its way southward for evacuation did not arrive, and it was
overwhelmed on 31 May. Of the total Commonwealth land force of 32,000 men,
18,000 were evacuated, 12,000 were taken prisoner and 2,000 were killed. The
site of Suda Bay War Cemetery was chosen after the war and graves were moved
there by 21st and 22nd Australian War Graves Units from the four burial grounds
that had been established by the German occupying forces at Chania, Iraklion,
Rethymnon and Galata, and from isolated sites and civilian cemeteries.