Photo sources:

  • All colour photos - Chris and Peter White

  • All April 1944 photos with 'Copyright - WSM' have been published in a variety of books concerned with Crete and the kidnap or in the Patrick Leigh Fermor blog. (See 'Contact and Links' for further reading and details.)

  • All other black and white photos are to be found in the PLF Archive in the National Library of Scotland.

Monastery of the Holy Apostles - Kastelliana - 3rd April 1944

 

PLF, John Stanley and Sandy Rendel stay in the Monastery of the Holy Apostles several miles inland from the landing beach at Dermati for the three nights before Billy Moss, Manoli Paterakis and George Tyrakis are landed.

 

In Report 7 Paddy records:

  • ‘The Abbot of this Monastery deserves great credit. This morning SANDY, JOHN and I, and our guides, were sitting in the one guest room of this small and primitive monastery, when a party of seven Germans arrived. They were one minute’s distance from the front door before they were spotted.'

 

In 'Abducting A General' Paddy records it as follows:

  • ‘The Archimandrite Theophylaktos just had time to smuggle us into the cellar before they stamped in and insisted on a large meal.  We crouched below listening to them among the Arabian Nights Oil-jars until, heavily plied with wine by the Archimandrite, they reeled off singing. ‘

 

Report 7 continues:

  • 'We could see them through the chinks in the floor boards. They finally left, convinced that their host was a law-abiding germanophile, and we emerged from our priest’s hole. It was a very near thing for all of us, and the situation was only saved by the Abbot’s presence of mind and pluck. He is Archimandrite THEOPHYLOS…‘

 

The PLF archive contains a photo given to PLF at the time by the Archimandrite - and which PLF must have carried with him for the following 6 weeks until he safely arrived back in North Africa on May 15th.

 

'With the most sincere love for my endearing friend Michael   (Mihali was PLF's pseudonym on Crete)

+ Archimandrite Theofylax of Sina + March 1944'

 Kastamonitsa - Sifoiannis sheepfold         35°11'37.59"N    25°24'24.78"E

The kidnap team gather in the Lasithi Mountains in the week leading up to Easter - 16th April 1944. Leigh Fermor returns from a reconnaissance trip to Heraklion and brings with him a camera and several rolls of film which Moss has requested Leigh Fermor purchase for him. 

 

What then follows is a remarkable sequence of 72 photographs, several of which are reproduced here.

 

On the 21st April 1944 the team - augmented by Bourtzalis and his andartes - leave Kastamonitsa down the Agios Antonios gorge and head towards Heraklion. 

Skalani  35°16'18.76"N  25°18'42.99"E

 

After 2 days walk, with a nights rest in Charasso, the team arrive in Skalani.

 

PLF and WSM base themselves for a few days in the Zographistos farmhouse and the valley behind it. Bourtzalis and his andartes meanwhile stay a kilometre away in a cave used for making wine.

Kidnap!     35°15'50.48"N  25°10'59.11"E

 

The General is kidnapped on the night of 26th April at 21.30 on the way to his personal lodgings at the Villa Ariadne from his HQ in Archanes. 

PLF recreated the kidnap moment after the war - date unknown.

A gorge just north of Anogia. 35°18'36.20"N     24°52'23.02"E

The General - with Billy Moss, Manoli Paterakis and Strati Saviolakis - leaves the car just after the village of Yeni Gave. They walk a few miles to this gorge to rest and wait for George Tyrakis and Leigh Fermor to rejoin them.

Xylouris' hideout at Petrodolakkia.

The kidnap team arrive with the General at Petradolakkia near the entrance to the Nidha plateau in the early hours of the 28th April 1944. They are met by three SOE staff - W/T Operator Reg Everson, and BLO's John Lewis and John Houseman as well as members of Xylouris' band of andartes. 

Photo Copyright: 1944 - Estate of W S Moss; others - Chris and Peter White

Meeting with Petrakogeorgios at Roti's mitato and climbing over the side of Mt Ida:

The team leave Xylouris' hideout at midday on the 29th April 1944 and cross the Nidha plateau, planning to traverse the side of Mt Ida and climb down into the Amari valley. They meet up with Kapetan Petrakogeorgios, whose territory they are now entering - and whose men will be protecting them as they climb over Mt Ida. They take five photos - two of them on the move on the mountain side and three at Roti's mitato.

Photo Copyright: 1944 -Estate of W S Moss; others - Chris and Peter White

The Traverse of Mount Ida

In the late afternoon of Saturday 29th April the party leave the Nidha Plateau and head up a narrow gulley to the pass of Akolyta. They climb up into snow fields remaining from the winter. The pass leads to a relatively flat area of summer pasture. They continue over the flank of Ida following old tracks to the ‘Gate of Ekdhora’, leading down to the Amari valley.

They take two photographs.

Photo Copyright: 1944 -Estate of W S Moss; others - Chris and Peter White

 

 

Agios Fanourios/Petrodolakkia to the Amari.

Cave: ‘Vorini Trypa’ 35°10'38.12"N     24°45'32.05"E

 

The party arrive in the Amari valley in the early hours of Sunday 30/4/44 exhausted and cold after a difficult climb and descent over Psiloritis. They stay in the cave of Vorini Trypa for the day and light fires in order to dry their clothes.

This marvellous cave, with its small entrance, gloomy interior with tunnels going off, is well described in ‘IMBM’. (The cave then features in “The Cretan Runner’ (TCR) when used by Tom Dunbabin and George Psychoundakis in August 1944.)

They leave the following night, heading towards Agia Paraskevi.

 

We found the cave on our first research trip to Crete in 2010 - and have visited it several times since then.

The General is photographed reading in the cave entrance. Local shepherds have now added a wall to the entrance - but the main features remain.

Inside the cave is enormous!

2010 - Chris and Peter White

The Olive Grove of Scholari, Photeinou:  35°16'12.22"N      24°28'1.01"E

9th May 1944. The whole party walk from Patsos to Photeinou.  They are now walking through less mountainous and more cultivated terrain. As they close Photeinou Stavros Peros and his sons arrive to greet and escort them. Whilst at the olive grove Andoni and Despina Peros feed them – they are the newly weds described in both 'Abducting a General' and 'Ill Met by Moonlight'. In 1951 Michael Powell visited Photeinou and met the Peros family. Copyright: 1951 photos - Michael Powell; 2013 - Chris and Peter White

Kato Poros Gorge/Vilandredo.

Lat/Long:  35°16'12.63"N  24°20'23.81"E  and 35°16'8.56"N  24°20'33.17"E

 

After staying in Photeinou the party move through the night of Wednesday 10th May 1944 to Vilandredo.

They stay in three locations – starting with a cave high up above the side of the gorge, where they meet up with SOE colleague Dennis Ciclitera. They then move to a cave in the gorge below them and finally to a ‘rocky and wooded fissure, an hour to the South’. The General falls whilst climbing to this third hideout.

In 1951 the film director Michael Powell - scouting locations for 'Ill Met by Moonlight' - was taken to the gorge by two local shepherds. His account of his journey - with photos - is in the PLF Archive in the National Library of Scotland. In 2015 we were able to find the locations.

Copyright: 1951 photos - Michael Powell; 2015 - Chris and Peter White

Below: the final location used by the party before they travel over Mt Krioneritis: 35°14'47.59"N   24°19'53.70"E

Peristeres Beach:  35°10'57.63"N   24°17'57.75"E

The party seperates - with PLF, the General and Manoli Paterakis travelling more slowly and using a more westward route to the departure beach. They are eventually picked up on the evening of the 14th May 1944.

Athens - May 1st 1971

The abduction team are reunited in an Athens TV Studio. PLF is interviewed at length by Nikos Mastorakis and then reunited with Manoli Paterakis, George Tyrakis, Miki Akoumianakis and other members of the team. Finally General Kreipe is brought to the stage and he is warmly greeted by all.

After the programme they move to a local taverna for a meal.