Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor
Leigh Fermor in 1966
|Born||Patrick Michael Leigh Fermor|
11 February 1915
|Died||10 June 2011 96) (aged|
|Occupation||Author, scholar and soldier|
|Notable works||A Time of Gifts, Abducting a General|
|Notable awards||Knight Bachelor; Distinguished Service Order; Officer of the Order of the British Empire|
|Spouse||Joan Leigh Fermor, née Hon. Joan Eyres-Monsell|
|Years of service||1940–1946|
|Battles/wars||Second World War|
|Awards|| Distinguished Service Order |
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Sir Patrick Michael Leigh Fermor, DSO, OBE (11 February 1915 – 10 June 2011), also known as Paddy Fermor, was a British author, scholar, soldier and polyglotwho played a prominent role behind the lines in the Cretan resistance during the Second World War. He was widely regarded as Britain's greatest living travel writer during his lifetime, based on books such as A Time of Gifts (1977). A BBC journalist once described him as "a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene." The Patrick Leigh Fermor Society was formed in 2014.
The Distinguished Service Order (DSO) is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the Commonwealth, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat. Since 1993 all ranks have been eligible.
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.
Polyglotism or polyglottism is knowledge of several languages, consisting of the ability to understand, speak, read, or write these languages. The word is a synonym of multilingualism, but in recent usage polyglot is sometimes used to refer to a person who learns multiple languages as an avocation. The term "hyperpolyglot" was coined in 2008 by linguist Richard Hudson to describe individuals who speak—to some degree—dozens of languages.
Fermor was born in London, the son of Sir Lewis Leigh Fermor, a distinguished geologist, and Muriel Aeyleen, daughter of Charles Taafe Ambler.Shortly after his birth, his mother and sister left to join his father in India, leaving the infant Patrick in England with a family in Northamptonshire: first in the village of Weedon, and later in nearby Dodford. He did not meet his parents or his sister again until he was four years old. As a child Leigh Fermor had problems with academic structure and limitations, and was sent to a school for "difficult" children. He was later expelled from The King's School, Canterbury after he was caught holding hands with a greengrocer's daughter.
Sir Lewis Leigh Fermor, OBE, FRS, was a British chemist and geologist and the first president of the Indian National Science Academy and a director of the Geological Survey of India (1930-1935). His son was the writer and traveller, Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor.
Northamptonshire, archaically known as the County of Northampton, is a county in the East Midlands of England. In 2015 it had a population of 723,000. The county is administered by Northamptonshire County Council and by seven non-metropolitan district councils. It is known as "The Rose of the Shires".
Weedon Bec, usually just Weedon, is a large village and parish in the district of Daventry, Northamptonshire, England. It lies close to the source of the River Nene. The population of the civil parish as of the 2011 census is 2,706.
His last report from The King's School noted that the young Leigh Fermor was "a dangerous mixture of sophistication and recklessness".He continued learning by reading texts on Greek, Latin, Shakespeare and History, with the intention of entering the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. Gradually he changed his mind, deciding to become an author instead, and in the summer of 1933 relocated to Shepherd Market in London, living with a few friends. Soon, faced with the challenges of an author's life in London and rapidly draining finances, he set upon leaving for Europe.
The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by medieval Greek.
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets, and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.
The Royal Military College (RMC), founded in 1801 and established in 1802 at Great Marlow and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, England, but moved in October 1812 to Sandhurst, Berkshire, was a British Army military academy for training infantry and cavalry officers of the British and Indian Armies.
At the age of 18 Leigh Fermor decided to walk the length of Europe, from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople (Istanbul).He set off on 8 December 1933 with a few clothes, several letters of introduction, the Oxford Book of English Verse and a Loeb volume of Horace's Odes . He slept in barns and shepherds' huts, but also was invited by landed gentry and aristocracy into the country houses of Central Europe. He experienced hospitality in many monasteries along the way. Two of his later travel books, A Time of Gifts (1977) and Between the Woods and the Water (1986), were about this journey. A book on the final part of his journey was unfinished at the time of Leigh Fermor's death, but was published as The Broken Road: Travels from Bulgaria to Mount Athos in September 2013 by John Murray. The book draws on Leigh Fermor's diary at the time and on an early draft he wrote in the 1960s.
The Hook of Holland is a town in the southwestern corner of Holland, at the mouth of the New Waterway shipping canal into the North Sea. The town is administered by the municipality of Rotterdam as a district of that city. Its district covers an area of 16.7 km2, of which 13.92 km2 is land. On 1 January 1999 it had an estimated population of 9,400.
Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Byzantine Empire, and also of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261), until finally falling to the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). It was reinaugurated in 324 from ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, and dedicated on 11 May 330. The city was located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul.
Istanbul, historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the most populous city in Turkey and the country's economic, cultural and historic center. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosporus strait between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Its commercial and historical center lies on the European side and about a third of its population lives on the Asian side. With a total population of around 15 million residents, Istanbul is one of the world's most populous cities, ranking as the world's fourth-largest city proper and the largest European city. The city is the administrative center of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Istanbul is viewed as a bridge between the East and West.
Leigh Fermor arrived in Istanbul on 1 January 1935, then continued to travel around Greece. In March he was involved in the campaign of royalist forces in Macedonia against an attempted Republican revolt. In Athens he met Balasha Cantacuzène (Bălaşa Cantacuzino), a Romanian Phanariote noblewoman, with whom he fell in love. They shared an old watermill outside the city looking out towards Poros, where she painted and he wrote. They moved on to Băleni, Galați, the Cantacuzène house in Moldavia, Romania, where he remained until the autumn of 1939.On learning that Britain had declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939 Leigh Fermor immediately left Romania to return home and enlist in the army.
Macedonia is a geographic and former administrative region of Greece, in the southern Balkans. Macedonia is the largest and second-most-populous Greek region, with a population of 2.38 million in 2017. The region is highly mountainous, with most major urban centres such as Thessaloniki and Kavala being concentrated on its southern coastline. Together with Thrace, and sometimes also Thessaly and Epirus, it is part of Northern Greece. It also contains Mount Athos, an autonomous monastic region of Greece. Macedonia forms part of Greece's national frontier with three countries: Bulgaria to the north-east, the Republic of North Macedonia to the north, and Albania to the north-west.
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.
Poros is a small Greek island-pair in the southern part of the Saronic Gulf, about 58 km (36 mi) south from Piraeus and separated from the Peloponnese by a 200 m (656 ft) wide sea channel, with the town of Galatas on the mainland across the strait. Its surface area is about 31 square kilometres (12 sq mi) and it has 3,780 inhabitants. The ancient name of Poros was Pogon. Like other ports in the Saronic, it is a popular weekend destination for Athenian travellers.
As an officer cadet, Leigh Fermor trained alongside Derek Bondand Iain Moncreiffe, and later joined the Irish Guards. Due to his knowledge of modern Greek, he was commissioned in the General List in August 1940 and became a liaison officer in Albania. He fought in Crete and mainland Greece. During the German occupation, he returned to Crete three times, once by parachute. He was one of a small number of Special Operations Executive (SOE) officers posted to organise the island's resistance to the occupation. Disguised as a shepherd and nicknamed Michalis or Filedem, he lived for over two years in the mountains. With Captain Bill Stanley Moss as his second in command, Leigh Fermor led the party that in 1944 captured and evacuated the German commander, General Heinrich Kreipe. There is a memorial commemorating Kreipe's abduction near Archanes in Crete.
Derek William Douglas Bond, MC was a British actor.
Sir Rupert Iain Kay Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 11th Baronet, CVO, QC, Chief of Clan Moncreiffe, was a British Officer of Arms and genealogist.
The Irish Guards (IG), part of the Guards Division, is one of the Foot Guards regiments of the British Army and, together with the Royal Irish Regiment, it is one of the two Irish infantry regiments in the British Army.
Moss featured the events of the Cretan capture in his book Ill Met by Moonlight .(The 2014 edition contains an Afterword written by Leigh Fermor in 2001, setting the context of the operation.) It was later adapted in a film by the same name. It was directed/produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and released in 1957. In the film, Leigh Fermor was portrayed by Dirk Bogarde. Leigh Fermor's own account Abducting A General – The Kreipe Operation and SOE in Crete was published in October 2014.
The National Archives in London holds copies of Leigh Fermor's wartime dispatches from occupied Crete in file number HS 5/728.
In 1950 Leigh Fermor published his first book, The Traveller's Tree, about his post-war travels in the Caribbean. The book won the Heinemann Foundation Prize for Literature and established his career. The reviewer in The Times Literary Supplement wrote: "Mr Leigh Fermor never loses sight of the fact, not always grasped by superficial visitors, that most of the problems of the West Indies are the direct legacy of the slave trade."It was quoted extensively in Live and Let Die, by Ian Fleming. He went on to write several further books of his journeys, including Mani and Roumeli, of his travels on mule and foot around remote parts of Greece.
Leigh Fermor translated the manuscript The Cretan Runner written by George Psychoundakis, a dispatch runner on Crete during the war, and helped Psychoundakis get his work published. Leigh Fermor also wrote a novel, The Violins of Saint-Jacques , which was adapted as an opera by Malcolm Williamson. His friend Lawrence Durrell recounts in his book Bitter Lemons (1957) how, during the Cypriot insurgency against continued British rule in 1955, Leigh Fermor visited Durrell's villa in Bellapais, Cyprus:
After a splendid dinner by the fire he starts singing, songs of Crete, Athens, Macedonia. When I go out to refill the ouzo bottle...I find the street completely filled with people listening in utter silence and darkness. Everyone seems struck dumb. 'What is it?' I say, catching sight of Frangos. 'Never have I heard of Englishmen singing Greek songs like this!' Their reverent amazement is touching; it is as if they want to embrace Paddy wherever he goes.
After living with her for many years Leigh Fermor was married in 1968 to the Honourable Joan Elizabeth Rayner (née Eyres Monsell), daughter of Bolton Eyres-Monsell, 1st Viscount Monsell. She accompanied him on many of his travels until her death in Kardamyli in June 2003, aged 91. They had no children.They lived part of the year in their house in an olive grove near Kardamyli in the Mani Peninsula, southern Peloponnese, and part of the year in Gloucestershire.
Leigh Fermor was knighted in the 2004 New Years Honours.In 2007, he said that, for the first time, he had decided to work using a typewriter, having written all his books longhand until then. The house at Kardamyli was featured in the 2013 film Before Midnight.
He opened his home in Kardamyli to the local villagers on his name day.New Zealand writer Maggie Rainey-Smith (who was staying in the area while researching for her next book) joined in with his name day celebration in November 2007, and, after his death, posted some of the photographs taken that day.
Leigh Fermor influenced a whole generation of British travel writers, including Bruce Chatwin, Colin Thubron, Philip Marsden, Nicholas Crane and Rory Stewart.
Leigh Fermor was noted for his strong physical constitution, even though he smoked 80 to 100 cigarettes a day.Although in his last years he suffered from tunnel vision and wore hearing aids, he remained physically fit up to his death and dined at table on the last evening of his life.
For the last few months of his life Leigh Fermor suffered from a cancerous tumour, and in early June 2011 he underwent a tracheotomy in Greece. As death was close, according to local Greek friends, he expressed a wish to visit England to say good-bye to his friends, and then return to die in Kardamyli, though it is also stated that he actually wished to die in England and be buried next to his wife.
Leigh Fermor died in England, aged 96, on 10 June 2011, the day after his return.His funeral took place at St Peter's Church, Dumbleton, Gloucestershire, on 16 June 2011. A Guard of Honour was provided by serving and former members of the Intelligence Corps, and a bugler from the Irish Guards sounded the Last Post and reveille. Leigh Fermor is buried next to his wife in the churchyard at Dumbleton.
Nikos Xylouris, nicknamed Psaronikos, was a Greek composer and singer. He was born in the village of Anogeia in Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. He was the older brother of two other great musicians of Cretan music, Antonis Xylouris or Psarantonis and Yiannis Xylouris or Psaroyiannis. His songs and music captured the Greek psyche and demeanor, earning Xylouris the title, Archangel of Crete.
Major Alexander Wallace Fielding DSO was a British author, translator, journalist and traveller, who served as a Special Operations Executive agent in Crete, France and the Far East during World War II.
Ill Met by Moonlight (1957), also known as Night Ambush, is a film by the British writer-director-producer team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, and the last movie they made together through their production company, "The Archers". The film, which stars Dirk Bogarde and features Marius Goring, David Oxley, and Cyril Cusack, is based on the 1950 book Ill Met by Moonlight: The Abduction of General Kreipe by W. Stanley Moss, which is an account of events during the author's service on Crete during World War II as an agent of the Special Operations Executive (SOE). The title is a quotation from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the book features the young agents' capture and evacuation of the German general Heinrich Kreipe.
Ivan William Stanley "Billy" Moss MC, was a British army officer in World War II, and later a successful writer, broadcaster, journalist and traveller. He served with the Coldstream Guards and the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and is best known for the Kidnap of General Kreipe. He was a best-selling author in the 1950s, based both on his novels and books about his wartime service. His SOE years are featured in Ill Met by Moonlight: The Abduction of General Kreipe, and A War of Shadows. Moss travelled around the world and went to Antarctica to meet the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition.
George Psychoundakis was a Greek Resistance fighter on Crete during the Second World War. He was a shepherd, a war hero and an author. He served as dispatch runner between Petro Petrakas and Papadakis behind the German lines for the Cretan resistance and later, from 1941 to 1945, for the Special Operations Executive (SOE). During the postwar years he was at first mistakenly imprisoned as a deserter. While in prison he wrote his wartime memoirs, which achieved considerable success. Later he translated key classical Greek texts into the Cretan dialect.
The Cretan resistance was a resistance movement against the occupying forces of Nazi Germany and Italy by the residents of the Greek island of Crete during World War II. Part of the larger Greek Resistance, it lasted from 20 May 1941, when the German Wehrmacht invaded the island in the Battle of Crete, until the spring of 1945 when they surrendered to the British. For the first time during World War II, attacking German forces faced in Crete a substantial resistance from the local population. Cretan civilians picked off paratroopers or attacked them with knives, axes, scythes or even bare hands. As a result, many casualties were inflicted upon the invading German paratroopers during the battle.
The 11th Day: Crete 1941 is a 2005 documentary film featuring eyewitness accounts from survivors of the Battle for Crete during World War II. The film was created by producer-director Christos Epperson and writer-producer Michael Epperson, and funded by Alex Spanos. Among the eyewitnesses are British SOE operative and famous travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor, along with George Doundoulakis, and Cretan Resistance hero George Tzitzika. The non-veterans giving historical commentary include Chase Brandon of the CIA and Professor Andre Gerolymatos of Simon Fraser University.
Karl Heinrich Georg Ferdinand Kreipe was a German career soldier who served in both World War I and World War II. While leading German forces in occupied Crete in April 1944, he was abducted by British SOE officers Patrick Leigh Fermor and William Stanley Moss, with the support of the Cretan resistance.
Alexander Andrae, whose first name is often mistakenly given as Waldemar, was a German military officer from Kösling, Upper Silesia. Initially pursuing an Army career, he then joined the security police and eventually the Luftwaffe.
Angelico (Angelo) Carta was an Italian military officer, best known for his actions during the Axis occupation of Crete in World War II.
Helias Doundoulakis was a Greek American civil engineer who patented the suspension system for the largest radio telescope in the world, and served in the United States Army and the Office of Strategic Services — the OSS — as a spy during WWII.
The kidnap of Heinrich Kreipe was a Second World War operation executed jointly by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the Cretan resistance. The operation was launched on 6 February 1944, when SOE agent Patrick Leigh Fermor landed in Crete with the intention of abducting notorious war criminal and commander of Fortress Crete, Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller. By the time of the arrival of the rest of the abduction team, led by William Stanley Moss, two months later Müller had been succeeded by Heinrich Kreipe, who was chosen as the new target.
The Holocaust of Kedros, also known as the Holocaust of Amari, refers to a reprisal operation mounted by Nazi German forces against the civilian residents of nine villages located in the Amari Valley on the Greek island of Crete during its occupation by the Axis in World War II.
Ill Met by Moonlight: The Abduction of General Kreipe is a non-fiction partly-autobiographical book written by W. Stanley Moss, a British soldier, writer and traveller. It describes an operation in Crete during the Second World War to capture German general Heinrich Kreipe. Moss kept a diary during the war years and based his book on it. The 2014 edition includes an introduction by one of Moss's children and an afterword by Patrick Leigh Fermor.
Dennis John Ciclitira was a British soldier and businessman of Greek descent.
Joan Leigh Fermor was an English photographer, and wife of author Patrick Leigh Fermor.
Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese is a travel book by English author Patrick Leigh Fermor, published in 1958. It covers his journey with wife Joan and friend Xan Fielding around the Mani peninsula in southern Greece.
The Razing of Anogeia or the Holocaust of Anogeia refers to the complete destruction of the village of Anogeia in central Crete (Greece) and the murder of about 25 of its inhabitants on 13 August 1944 by German occupying forces during World War II. This was the third time Anogeia was destroyed, as the Ottomans had destroyed it twice; first in July 1822 and again in November 1867, during the Great Cretan Revolt.
Kimonas or Kimon Zografakis, frequently referred to by his nom de guerre, Black Man, was a distinguished Greek partisan in the Cretan resistance from 1941 – 1944 against the Axis occupation forces.
George James Doundoulakis was a Greek American physicist and soldier who worked under British Intelligence during World War II with SOE agent Patrick Leigh Fermor, and then served with the OSS in Thessaly, Greece.
It was December 1933, and an 18-year-old Englishman named Patrick Leigh Fermor put on a pair of hobnail boots and a secondhand greatcoat, gathered up his rucksack and left London on a ship bound for Rotterdam, where he planned to travel 1,400 miles to Istanbul—on foot.
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