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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 24 March 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 24 MARCH 2018 7 HISTORY The Kriepe kidnap team pose before the action: (Rear) Stratis Saviolakis, Manoli Paterakis, Andoni Papleo- nidas, Giorgios Tyrakis, Nikos Komis. (Front) Grigori Chnarakis, Patrick Leigh Fermor, William Stanley Moss. PHOTO: ESTATE OF WILLIAM STANLEY MOSS This map was handdrawn by Paddy, probably whilst on operations in Crete 1943-44, including a self-portrait. The map is from Paddy’s SOE file. PHOTO: PATRICK LEIGH FERMOR SOCIETY 2011 The SOE agents and resistance make their way from Kastamonitsa on 20 April 1944. PHOTO: ARCHIVAL PHOTOGRAPH William Stanley Moss, Patrick Leigh Fermor, and Manoli Paterakis pose before the kindap of General Kreipe. PHOTO: PATRICK LEIGH FERMOR SOCIETY in January 1943 as they waited and planned the Kreipe kidnapping. SOE agents took photographs of this mountain location on their missions, and Chris has been able to locate this site – over 1,100 metres above sea level – and it looks almost identical to the photographs from WWII. Chris travelled to The Bee- hive with the son of the late SOE agent Arthur Reade, who had been photographed there in 1941. Chris' presentation was replete with the names of the brave Resistance fighters of Crete. Local Resistance leaders such as the fearsomely named ‘Captain Satan of the mountains’ and ‘Captain Boreas of the Sea’. Others named were Manoli Paterakis, Giorgios Tyrakis, Stratis Saviolakis, Andoni Papleonidas, Nikos Komis, Grigori Chnarakis, Nikos Souris, and the Perros family. And of course ‘the Cretan runner’, George Psychoundakis. Some are only known by their surnames: Papastrati, Philapakis, and Kyriakou. Some who helped were from far-off Cyprus. And of course, the brave Abbot and monks of the Monastery of Preveli who helped the Allies – and whose monastery was almost destroyed by the Germans. It was obvious from Chris' presentation that the Allied effort on Crete – supporting the Resistance and harassing the Germans – would not have been possible without the aid and support of these brave individuals. A major part of his presentation dealt with the Kreipe kidnapping. Chris took us on the jour- ney with the arrival of the SOE agents on southern Crete in late 1943. He described the process as they joined forces with the local Resistance, detailing their hideouts in the mountains and as they planned the kidnapping, the location of the kidnapping itself in April 1944, the daring journey through German-occupied Heraklion in the General's own car, then south across the mountains of Crete, climbing Mount Ida, and their evacuation to Allied headquarters in Cairo on 17 May 1944. The entire description of the journey was illustrated by archival photographs taken by SOE agents in 1943– 44 as well as Chris' contemporary photographs. A highlight of the presentation was a viewing of an excerpt from a Greek television program from May 1971. This program brought together Fermor, his Cretan Resistance comrades and the former General Kreipe himself, who returned to Greece especially for the program. The comradeship of this former SOE agent and his Resistance veterans was evident – and they all wel- comed their former prisoner! Most of the audience had never seen this interview. One of those attending the presentation was Melbourne's Arch Bergiannis told Chris of his role in locating the likely burial place of Australia's sole Hellenic Anzac killed in the Greece and Crete campaigns of WWII – Private James Zampelis. Assisted by Paul Sougleris and myself, he was able to do so by combining archival and modern GPS maps. Another of the attendees was Melbourne author Shane Maloney. Shane has visited Crete on a number of occasions, even writing one of his bestselling novels in John Rerakis' village of Episkopi. Shane spoke of his friendship with Anzac Crete campaign veteran Charles Jager who wrote his memoir about his time on the run in Crete under the title Escape from Crete. It was a pleasure for Chris to also meet Bruce Mildenhall, former MP and son of a WWII Anzac veteran, who has spent many months on Crete, acquainting himself with the walking trails and remote villages connected to the Crete campaign. Former MP John Pandazopoulos mentioned how important the work of researchers like Chris is in gathering the story of Crete in WWII from memoirs, photographs, and especially the local stories of the Cretans themselves, before they are lost to posterity. Chris and his partner Patricia were later hosted by Melbourne's Pan Messinian community at their annual dinner dance. As a token of appreciation of all who were able to attend Chris' presentation, I gave Chris a copy of Peter Pedersen's beautiful commemorative publication Anzac Treasurers: The Gallipoli Collection of the Australian War Memorial. For all who were unable to attend the presentation, we are hopefully scheduling another presentation when Chris returns to Australia in the future. Chris' guide to the abduction route can be found in the recently published book by Patrick Leigh Fermor, ‘Abducting A General: The Kreipe Operation and SOE in Crete’. Chris is keen to hear from anyone in Australia's Cretan community, and any Allied veterans’ descendants, who wish to share their stories of the Resistance on Crete in WWII. He can be contacted via email at email@example.com Jim Claven is a published author, trained historian and freelance writer who has been researching the Anzac trail in Greece across both World Wars. He is a member of the Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Council.
17 March 2018
31 March 2018