After much searching I can bring you what I believe to be the only on-line obituary to Xan Fielding which I have retyped from the Daily Telegraph Second Book of Obituaries: Heroes and Adventurers. This includes a special tribute from Paddy to one of his closest friends.
First published in the Daily Telegraph 20 August 1991
Xan Fielding, the author, translator, journalist and adventurous traveller, who has died in Paris aged 72, lived a charmed life as a Special Operations Executive agent in Crete, France and the Far East during the Second World War.
Short, dark, athletic and a brilliant linguist, he was God’s gift to operations in rugged mountainous regions and wherever his languages were needed.
Major Fielding was awarded the DSO in September 1942, “for going into a town”, as he said later with a typical modesty.
He had a boyish, slightly rebellious spirit which he shared with many of his contemporaries in SOE. His self-confessed, or self-proclaimed, amateurishness certainly belied a tough professionalism, great resourcefulness and bravery in action. Fielding was the sort of man one would be happy to go into the jungle with.
While still in his early twenties he was responsible for clandestine and subversive activities in large areas of enemy-occupied Crete. He survived numerous encounters with German forces, only to be rumbled by the Gestapo in France towards the end of hostilities in Europe.
Even then his luck held. Locked in a death cell at Digne in 1944, he was “sprung” in an audacious move by Christine Granville (nee Krystyna Skarbeck) whose SOE exploits matched his.
Alexander Wallace Fielding was born at Ootacamund, India, on November 26 1918. His family had long links with the Raj and his father was a major in the 50th Sikhs.
Xan’s mother died at his birth and he was largely brought up at Nice, where his grandmother’s family had considerable property. Fluent in French, he subsequently became a proficient classicist at Charterhouse and then studied briefly at Bonn, Munich and Freiberg Universities in Germany. He saw what was happening in that country and was so shocked at the attitude of the Chamberlain government that he came close to joining the Communist party.
At the end of the 1930s Fielding – who had recently been sacked as a sub-editor on the Cyprus Times and was by now unsuccessfully running a bar – found himself a misfit in the Mediterranean colony. Colonial officials abhorred his refusal to adopt their disdainful description of Cypriots as “Cyps”. That he was also reasonably fluent in Greek rendered him suspect to district commissioners, who could not speak the language of the people they administered.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, haunted by the thought that he might find himself trapped in Cyprus for the duration, he fled to Greece and found asylum on St Nicholas, an island owned by the anthropologist, Francis Turville Petre. Fielding dreaded not so much the battlefield as joining the conventional officers’ mess. But eventually news of the fall of France, the Dunkirk evacuation and the Battle of Britain induced a “stab of guilt”.
He returned to the colony and was commissioned into the Cyprus Regiment, which appealed to him on account of its perverse refusal to have any regimental pride.
On hearing in Cairo that Cretans had taken up arms against the Germans, he yearned, as he wrote later, to help lead “this concerted uprising of the technically non-combatant”.
When Crete fell, Fielding was interviewed in Egypt by SOE. He was asked: “Have you any personal objection to committing murder?” His response being deemed acceptable, Fielding was put ashore in Crete with a load of weapons and explosives by Cdr “Crap” Miers, VC, skipper of the submarine Torbay.
Fielding, who had adopted the style and dress of a Greek highland peasant, was accompanied by a First World War veteran, who was inseparable from his solar topee and unrecognisable as the village schoolmaster he was supposed to impersonate.
Fortunately it was not long before he teamed up with the far more kindred spirit of Patrick Leigh Fermor. Sporting a royal blue waistcoat, lined with scarlet shot silk and embroidered with black arabesques – and singing folk songs in several languages – “Paddy” Leigh Fermor enlivened their meetings in desolate mountain hideouts.
Fielding understood the need for reliable intelligence and communications, and he daringly set up his headquarters near Crete’s northern coastal road in the proximity of German units. He experienced, as he put it, a childish excitement in “brushing shoulders with the Wehrmacht” in the corridors of the town hall when calling on the mayor of Crete’s capital, Canea. And he found it entertaining to attend parties given for the Germans by Cretan associates feigning fraternisation.
Operationally, Crete had become a massive transit camp to reinforce the Afrika Korps. Among his intelligence successes Fielding signalled the timetable of transports taking off from the airfield at Maleme, enabling the RAF to intercept them.
After six months he was picked up by a Greek submarine and given a breather in Cairo. This gave him a chance to niggle about the inaccuracy of RAF air drops.
As a result Fielding was invited to observe, from the front turret of a Wellington, a drop arranged for Leigh Fermor high up in the White Mountains. Considerably shaken by the experience – not least the anti-aircraft fire- he returned to the island by Greek submarine at the end of 1942 and never complained again.
Following the Crete mission, he parachuted into the south of France in the summer of 1944. Bearing papers announcing him as Armand Pont-Leve, a young clerk in the Electric Company of Nimes – but codenamed “Cathedrale” – Fielding was received by Francis Cammaerts (alias “Roger”) and also by Christine Granville.
Fielding found them an “imposing pair”. Still in uniform, he felt “rather like a novice in the presence of a prior and prioress”. The canister containing his civilian clothes, with poison pill sewn into the jacket, was missing and he felt something of a freak in the baggy Charlie Chaplin trouserings produced by “Roger”.
Shortly afterwards he was in the Cammaert’s car when it was stopped at a road block near Digne. Questions revealed that SOE staff in Algiers had failed to stamp a current date on his otherwise impeccable papers. Worse Fielding had split a large sum of French money between “Roger” and himself, and the enemy twigged that the notes were all in the same series.
Christine Granville was not with them and news of their arrests reached her on the Italian border. Earlier she had been arrested, but had managed to convince her German interrogators that she was a local peasant girl.
She arrived at Digne prison and passed herself off as “Roger’s” wife – and, for good measure, as a niece of Gen Montgomery. She persuaded an Alsatian named Albert Schenck, a liaison officer between the French prefecture and the German Siercherheitsdienst, to co-operate by reminding him that the Allies had already landed on the Riviera.
Schenck put Christine on to a Belgian, Max Waem, who agreed to help, though his price was two million francs. SOE in Algiers dropped the money in. As a result Fielding and “Roger” were led out of prison. Believing themselves on the way to be shot, they were astonished to be welcomed by Christine who was waiting with a car.
Fielding was awarded the Croix de Guerre in France in 1944. Before the war in Europe ended, he returned to Crete; he was one of the first into liberated Athens.
During the war Fielding would often pass through Cairo, which became a sort of SOE headquarters for the Mediterranean and Middle East, and meet up with kindred spirits such as David Smiley, “Billy” McLean (qv), Peter Kemp (qv) and Alan Hare. In 1945 they decided the place to be was the Far East. As Fielding put it: “I was at a loose end and wanted to see what was going on out there.”
He spent some months in Cambodia, with a Japanese driver fighting the Vietminh. Then came as six-month stint with the Special Intelligence Service in Germany, and an appointment as United Nations observer in the Balkans.
Peacetime, though, brought disillusionment and a disturbing sense of misgiving. But in 1948 an encounter with the Marchioness of Bath at what she described as an “hilarious lunch” predestined the course of much of the rest of his life. She had recently taken up photography in place of painting; he was planning a book on Crete. The upshot was that Daphne Bath accompanied his return to the White Mountains to illustrate the book. They married in 1953.
Soon there was another and more welcome distraction. Michael Powell was filming Ill Met by Moonlight – the story of Paddy Leigh Fermor’s wartime abduction of Gen Kreipe, the German commander in Crete – and Fielding was hired as technical adviser. Dirk Bogarde played Leigh Fermor and Fielding lent him his Cretan guerrilla’s cloak and coached him in the part.
Patrick Leigh Fermor writes: After an early essay at painting, Xan Fielding wandered to Greece and the islands, added Greek to his list of languages and acquired a lasting attachment to the Greeks.
His life took on an adventurous and peripatetic turn. Early in 1942 he was landed in plain clothes and by submarine in German-occupied Crete. Germany was in full advance on all fronts and Crete was a strongly galvanised Luftwaffe base for the Desert War. The mountains were full of stray British and Commonwealth soldiers who had broken out of PoW camps or been left behind after the Battle, a mortal danger to the Cretans who hid and fed them.
Gathering and evacuating them from remote caves was among Xan’s first tasks. Establishing a network of agents and signalling information back to Cairo came next followed by parachute drops to the growing guerrilla bands and the e organisation of sabotage, and propaganda while maintaining liaison with the island Resistance leaders.
Light and fine-boned when suitably cloaked and daggered, Xan could be taken for a Cretan. With his determination, humour and intuitive sympathy and his quick mastery of dialect and songs, he made countless friends, and worked there precariously for two years.
In 1944, the war moving west, he was dropped in the Vercors region to the French maquis. He returned to Crete for a final two months before the liberation, then headed for Cambodia on further SOE missions and spent some time on the Tibet border before returning to the West Bank in Greece.
Xan commanded a mixed Allied unit supervising the 1946 elections, and during prolonged leave in Rhodes, his friend Lawrence Durrell – who was press officer there – insisted on printing a set of Fielding’s poems, which make one wish he had written many more. Chafing at Oxford life as a demobilised undergraduate, he worked for a spell with the Beaverbrook Press and found it even less congenial.
These years were perplexed by tangled Dickensian lawsuits in Nice: family property had been unrecoverably misappropriated in the occupation. During that harassing time he wrote Hide and Seek, an exciting account of his experiences in Crete.
Soon after he married Daphne Bath, and they travelled all over the island (of Crete) for his long book The Stronghold, a combination of travel and history.
They first settled in Portugal. Then a long sojourn in the Kasbah of Tangier – perhaps inspired by the film Pepe le Moko – gave rise to his book Corsair Country, the history of the pirates of the Barbary Coast.
Near Uzez in Languedoc, their next long halt, his excellent French suggested translation as a profession and he put more than 30 books into English, including many by Larteguy and Chevalier, and Malrauz’s Les Noyers d’Altenborg [Ed: and perhaps better known Planet of the Apes and Bridge on the River Kwai]
After a friendly separation from Daphne he married Agnes (“Magouche”) Phillips, daughter of Adml John II Magruder, of the United States Navy. They were extremely happy.
Xan and Magouche took root in the Serriana de Ronda, which looks across Adalusian ilex-woods to the Atlas. There he edited the correspondence of his friend and neighbour, Gerald Brennan, with Ralph Partridge, and continued his translations.
Xan’s own book, The Money Spinner, about the Monaco casino – the hazards of gambling had always fascinated him – came out in 1977. Later, Winds of the World gave free rein to his interest in atmospheric commotions and their mythology.
In the winter of 1990 One Man and his Time appeared; it described the life, and the Asian, Ethiopian and Arabian travels, of his old friend “Billy” McLean (qv), the wartime commander of the SOE mission in Albania.
At almost the same time Xan was smitten by cancer and he and Magouche moved to Paris for therapy. Though fatally stricken for the last eight months, he was suddenly, three months ago, granted a reprise which exactly coincided with the ceremonies for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Crete and the Resistance.
At a special parade of the Greek navy at Souda, he and six Allied officers were decorated with the commemorative medal of the Resistance, and for 10 days he visited scores of mountain friends from 50 years before. His return was everywhere greeted with feasting and songs.
Xan Fielding was a gifted, many-sided, courageous and romantic figure, deeply committed to this friends, civilised and bohemian at the same time, with a thoughtful style leavened by spontaneous gaiety and a dash of recklessness. He was altogether outstanding.
August 20 1991
I have just come across Xan Fielding’s contribution, ‘Queluz’, to Sacheverell Sitwell’s book ‘Great Houses of Europe’, a fine coffee table book I originally bought in 1966 with money won from the Townsend Warner History Prize. It is a nice and nuanced travel-writer’s description, probably quite bold for its time, and I was re-reading after over 50 years because I am shortly going to visit it for the first time (and hear Bach’s Brandenburg concertos performed in the Hall of Ambassadors).
Xan Fielding and Paddy Leigh Fermor were wonderful “Giants of Old”. It is a pity that their Brexit successors are cast in such a “Pygmy Mould”.
My small contribution to your very interesting blog about Xan Fieldind and P.L.F.
This is the online version of an article of the local newspaper Haniotika Nea of 08.06.2018.
It marks the place where Xan Fielding’s ash was burried by P.L.F. in 1995. I also have a photo of the article in paper in case of someone interested.
Thank you for a most detailed and fascinating ‘mini-biography’ of Fielding. I had heard
of him only in conjunction with Christine Granville. There is one small error however, an
error that has been repeated by many others. Christine did in fact obtain 2 million francs
to secure the release of Cammaerts, Fielding and Sorensen. The money however was
handed over to the bent gendarme Schenck, as his ‘fee’ for introducing her to Waem. Shortly after Cammaerts and the group left the prison Schenck was found murdered in a nearby wood. His murderer was never found. After the war Schenck’s widow tried to exchange the
money for new French francs. She was arrested but released when she told the police how
she had come to have such a large sum. She was able to exchange the old francs for the
new but realised only a few thousand francs.
BTW – Christine did not bribe the prison commandant. She bribed a dodgy
gendarme named Schenck who had demanded the money from her and promised
to introduce her to Waem for payment. Schenck was murdered by a person or person
unknown after Cammaerts, Fielding and co had left the prison. His widow kept the
2 million until after the war and tried to buy New French francs but the money was
confiscate and she received only a few thousand francs.
Very interesting points Christine. Thank you. You clearly know a lot about this. Can I ask how you have this understanding?
I’ve been researching Christine’s life for about 10 years, on and off. In
Poland as well as archives in the UK. I’m producing an eBook which
should be available on Kindle and IPad, probably late June or early
July. I’ll be making an announcement when the time comes. There
will be a lot of debunking of the Christine legend as well as photos
Well please keep us informed and I will do my best to add an article on here to help your sales 🙂
The 3 SOE agents were stopped at a German roadblock, not only because each
was carrying banknotes that were sequential (they had said that they were hitch
hikers unknown to one another) but also because they weren’t banded together as
was the custom in French banks. Also, Xan was not terribly fluent in French but he
was the first to be questioned at the roadblock. When he seemed unsure of himself,
the German officer in charged sensed that something was wrong and arrested all
3 of the agents.
Christine Granville was not a countess. Her older brother would have inherited the
title after the death of their father. His wife would have been entitled to be called
‘countess’ in polite society. Ditto Christine. To her credit, she rarely used the title
but didn’t object whenever she was introduced as ‘countess.’ Interested parties
should have a look at a Polish genealogy chart.
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A couple of things: in the letters to Debo, PMLF notes that he wanted the paper to take out the word “adventurer” because it made XF sound like a bounder and a cad. Old school definition of adventurer there. XL’s original translation of Boulle’s La planete des singes was called Monkey Planet. I’m always struck that those two quintessentially American (Planet of the Apes) and British (Bridge on the River Kwai) films were were originally French novels.
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It was a couple of years back and she was eighty five, but seemed in good health. Certainly very clear headed and smart. An impressive lady.
Thank you very much for your in email. I have contacted Magouche Fielding’s Gorky family, in the Summer but they were away on holiday. I am hoping that they will contact me so I can gain some more information.
Thank you for the book reference, I shall obtain a copy and read!
My mother is very pleased to know more about her half brother.
I wonder is Margouche in good health?
Two years ago I interviewed Magouche Fielding, Xan’s second wife for the biography I was writing (American Ikaros- the Search for Kevin Andrews). I found her a very powerful, lively woman busy was planning to visit PLF the following day. Magouche was previously married to the artist Ashile Gorky and led a fascinating life. I asked if anyone was writing her biography and she put me carefully in my place
“No, I appear in other peoples.”
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Forgot to say my mother’s name is Xanne (nee Wallace) and their father was also ALEXANDER (XAN) WALLACE. XAN WAS BORN IN INDIA, MY MOTHER SAID HE WAS BROUGHT UP IN FRANCE BY HIS GRANDPARENTS WHO WERE ‘FIELDING.’ AFTER HIS MOTHERS DEATH HIS FATHER TOOK HIM (age 7) TO FRANCE AND ACCORDING TO MY MOTHER HE NEVER SAW HIS SON AGAIN! MAD!!
Katrina – that is really fascinating. The pity of it is that Xan had no children so the link is now completely broken. There is no doubt he was a very brave and resourceful man. You will be aware that he was probably Paddy’s closest friend. Not only did they fight together (and God knows what else together in Cairo!). they spent many holidays together after the war and met quite often. Paddy also started his most famous books with a letter to Xan. If you have gaps in your knowledge of him it is probably worth reading In Tearing Haste, or consulting it as it is indexed. Xan is mentioned quite often.
It sounds like your family reunions could be very interesting!
I HAVE JUST FOUND YOUR WEBSITE!
a FEW YEARS AGO I TRIED TO FIND INFORMATION ABOUT XAN.
HE WAS MY MOTHER’S HALF BROTHER.SADLY THEY NEVER MET ,.I AM SURE HE DIDN’T KNOW OF HER, BUT MY MOTHER OFTEN SPEAKS ABOUT THEIR FATHER WHO WAS ALSO A VERY INTERESTING MAN!
I HAVE 3 BROTHERS AND A SISTER AND SOME SHARE THE INTERESTING NATURE OF OUR UNCLE!
I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO HAVE MET HIM, BUT MY MOTHER DID NOT TELL US OF HIS EXISTANCE FOR YEARS AND THEN IT WAS TOO LATE.
I CONTACTED THE MAQUIS OF BATH, ALEXANDER THYNNE , A FEW YEARS AGO AND HE SENT ME INFORMATION ABOUT XAN’S INTERSTING LIFE POST WAR WHEN HE VISITED LONGLEAT. HE MARRIED HIS MOTHER LATER AFTER HIS PARENTS DIVORCE. HE ALSO WRITES ABOUT HIM IN HIS OWN BOOKS,WITH SOME PHOTOS.)
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Thank you for this! I’ve been trying to dig up information on Xan Fielding for a few years now. FYI: I found another (less-informative) obituary for Xan Fielding from The Times. See below.
The Times (London, England) (August 21, 1991)
Xan Fielding, DSO, wartime secret agent and author, died in Paris on August 19 aged 72. He was born in India on November 26, 1918.
IN HIS temperament, talents and physical courage Xan Fielding was well equipped to have made a mark in many spheres of life. Crete in the aftermath of the German invasion in May 1941 provided a theatre in which his individuality was able to blossom. Guerrilla warfare was particularly congenial to one of his character. He cherished the amateur’s view of war which saw it as a clash between the prowess of individuals and not as a contest between technologies backed by armaments industries and reserves of manpower. In addition to an innate romanticism, he possessed in abundance the classical Greek quality of arete (that excellence in thought and performance so often imperfectly translated as “virtue” in school texts) and revelled to the point of exultation in the exercise of his own initiative. Yet at the same time, through his mastery of the language and his psychological insight, he extended a discerning admiration to the often contrary and ferocious Cretan andarte groups which his efforts were designed, at least in part, to serve.
Regimental soldiering was anathema to him and the sharpest barbs of his wit were always reserved for the staff. But his exploits went far beyond being of mere nuisance value to the allied cause. In two remarkable years following the fall of Crete the efforts of Fielding and that other like-minded spirit, Patrick Leigh Fermor, built up a guerrilla network in the occupied island, facilitated the escape of many Australian and New Zealand soldiers who had remained in hiding and, most important, built up an intelligence network which provided invaluable information to the allies in North Africa on the movement of Axis materiel through this most important staging post.
Alas for the hopes of these romantics, who would have loved to have fulfilled the dream of the guerrillas and to have led an avenging descent out of the mountains to drive the German invader into the sea, such a moment was never to come. After the allied decision to invade Sicily and pursue the Italian option Crete was left to wither on the vine as a fruit to be plucked when a convenient moment should arrive. Guerrilla operations there were relegated to a sideshow and Fielding felt there was nothing more he could usefully do. More drama awaited him. Transferred to the Western European theatre, he was parachuted into France, captured by the Gestapo and escaped execution only thanks to the courage and resourcefulness of the ill-starred Christine Granville, to whom he later dedicated his book Hide and Seek (1954).
Alexander Wallace Fielding was born at Ootcamund, India, into a military family which had given long service in the subcontinent. His father was a major in the 50th Sikhs. After the death of his mother he was brought up in the South of France where her family had property and thus acquired fluent French. Sent to school in England at Charterhouse, he added the classics to his linguistic and cultural arsenal and acquired a profound knowledge of German through later studies at Bonn, Munich and Freiburg universities. This German sojourn gave him a thorough understanding of the nature of the Nazi threat to civilised values at a time when the British government under Chamberlain was temporising on the road to disaster. In a spirit of more than mild disillusionment Fielding wandered about Europe eventually gravitating to Cyprus. There after a short and unsuccessful flirtation with journalism on the Cyprus Times he ran a bar with not appreciably greater success. He simply could not comprehend the inability and unwillingness of his colonial compatriots to understand the island they administered while the automatic disdain which was extended to the governed populace was utterly odious to him. None of these attitudes endeared him to his British contemporaries and consequently made him a less than popular mine host in a colonial ethos. His determination to master Greek also made him an object of suspicion to the authorities, most of whom had neither the wit nor inclination to come to terms with the language. When war broke out Fielding went briefly to Greece, dreading the thought of being drafted into the forces in Cyprus and being forced to live by the dictates of the mess and the parade ground. But after Dunkirk, when Britain stood alone, this course came to seem a somewhat dishonourable one and he returned to Cyprus where he found a not totally uncongenial berth in army intelligence. Even this provided a somewhat circumscribed field for the exercise of his talents and it was not until after the German invasion of Crete that he was able to come into his own when he volunteered for service with the Special Operations Executive (SOE).
Put ashore on Crete from a submarine with a load of explosives and weapons, Fielding quickly linked up with local resistance leaders and adopted the protective camouflage of a Greek peasant. Nowhere in occupied Europe was resistance organised so quickly and effectively as it was in Crete. Clandestine operations took shape almost in the very chaos of evacuation. Fielding was lucky to team up with that other great linguist, philhellene and guerrilla leader, Patrick Leigh Fermor, and the mental kinship between the two men, who complemented each other in spite of their different temperaments, was instrumental in putting Cretan resistance operations on a sane and sound footing. Fielding realised at the outset that the task must be limited to building up an intelligence network and developing his guerrilla force with an eye to its use in the future, rather than wasting it in futile heroics which would certainly have drawn down ferocious reprisals on the unprotected civilian population. With great boldness he established an HQ not far from Crete’s northern coast from which he often sortied forth with impunity in his persona as a local to the town of Canea to visit the mayor who was astonished at the audacity with which the resistance leader virtually brushed shoulders with Wehrmacht officers on these calls.
With the battle for North Africa in full swing Crete had become a major staging post for the supply of Rommel’s forces and the intelligence Fielding was able to pass to the allies was invaluable. One of his most resounding successes was to be able to signal the precise air movements at Maleme airfield, thus enabling the RAF to intercept German supply aircraft on their way to the North African littoral.
After a spell in Egypt to rest and recuperate Fielding returned to Crete in 1942. In this second period one of his most remarkable feats was to engineer, in November 1943, a pact between the two main groups of andarte, the communist-led EAM-ELAS and the EOK, the national organisation of Crete.
But as the dream of liberating Crete faded Fielding felt more and more frustrated and early in 1944 he volunteered to join the French operations of SOE. Soon after being parachuted into the south of France, however, he and a French officer and another agent were stopped at a road block at Digne where minor discrepancies in papers, which had otherwise been forged with scrupulous care, led to their arrest and imprisonment by the Gestapo. Totally resigned to being shot, they were in fact rescued by the nerve and feminine guile of the SOE courier “Pauline”, Christine Granville, formerly a Polish countess. “Pauline” who had already been arrested herself but escaped after convincing her captors that she was a French peasant girl arrived at the prison at Digne and through a mixture of bribery and by telling the agents’ captors that the Americans had already landed on the French riviera, secured their release three hours before they were due to have been shot. Indeed Fielding was convinced that he was being marched from the prison to have precisely that sentence carried out on him and was astonished when he was, instead, bundled into “Pauline’s” car and driven off.
Fielding, who had already been awarded the DSO was given the Croix de Guerre by the French later in 1944 and did subsequently return briefly to Crete. But in the meantime Leigh Fermor had carried out his legendary abduction of the German general Kreipe later filmed as Ill Met By Moonlight, starring Dirk Bogarde as Leigh Fermor and with no decisive further action in prospect the atmosphere there was something of an anti-climax for Fielding. He was sent briefly to the Far East by SOE but here, too, the war was coming to an end. After witnessing the winding down of operations in Indo-China Fielding made a journey to Tibet on his own account.
After the war he wrote a number of books. Besides his account of SOE’s Cretan operations he published The Stronghold which combined the experience of his days as a kapetan of the resistance with a scholarly knowledge and love of the island, its history and culture, all of which shone through in his account. Among his other books were Corsair Country, an account of a journey overland along the Barbary coast from Tangier to Tripoli, and The Money Spinner, an elegantly constructed history of the Monte Carlo casino. At one time Fielding’s linguistic abilities gave him a useful income as a translator and he was also a technical adviser on Ill Met By Moonlight. He had, in spite of illness, been able, recently, to attend Greek celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the battle for Crete, and was among allied officers awarded the the commemorative medal of the resistance on that occasion.
He was twice married, first, in 1953, to Daphne Bath, nee Vivian. The marriage was dissolved and he married, secondly, in 1978, Agnes (“Magouche”) Phillips, daughter of Admiral John H. Magruder of the US navy.
Yvonne – thank you so much for posting this. I have searched all round and could not find it. Even today I had another look on the Times’ website. I will make it a full post in a while so it gets properly categorised with the others.