The Kreipe pennants

The Kreipe pennants - Copyright Artemis Cooper 2011

The pennants from General Kreipe's car

What happened to the flags on General Kreipe’s car when Paddy abandoned it and joined the main abduction gang? Well here is the story. I am very grateful to Artemis Cooper for submitting this. I hesitate to say that this is a world exclusive, but it probably is! These have not been seen in public since the car drove through the heavily garrisoned town of Heraklion with the General in April 1944.

As I’m sure you know, just before abandoning the General’s car on the night of the abduction of Gen Kreipe, Paddy and George Tyrakis ripped off the two metal pennants that stood proudly on the bonnet. One might argue that, combined with Billy’s confident driving, it was those pennants that had let the car pass unchallenged through 22 German checkpoints! Since Billy had driven the car the pennants were given to him; and after his death, Billy’s daughters – Gabriella Bullock and Isabella Cole – felt that Paddy should have them. Paddy held onto them for many years, very much under wraps. I think the main reason he kept them hidden was because he had always felt so wretched about the death of Alfred Fenske, the General’s chauffeur.

They were kept in a tin trunk in his study, and very few people knew they were there. He showed them to me only once. The reason for that was so that I should be aware that after his death, they were to go to the Rethymnon Museum of History and Folklore. This had been arranged in the 1990s, with the encouragement of Niko Kokonas.

In August the flags were given to the Rethymnon Museum, according to Paddy’s instructions.

I have a photo of the flags. They stand about 15″ high, the triangular pennant sticking out about 12″. The first is painted red, white and black in horizontal lines, like the German flag. The other shows the gold Nazi eagle with outspread wings perched on a wreath, embroidered onto a piece of grey fabric which is then mounted onto the metal pennant.

I hope this is a real joy to all the Ill Met by Moonlight fans out there.

This article and photograph copyright Artemis Cooper 2011

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8 thoughts on “The Kreipe pennants

  1. Pingback: The Kreipe pennants – the story of their rediscovery by Billy Moss’ daughter « Patrick Leigh Fermor

  2. Pingback: William Stanley Moss « Patrick Leigh Fermor

  3. Pingback: A reconstruction of the Kreipe abduction in Crete « Patrick Leigh Fermor

  4. Annette Windgasse

    I am in contact with Alfred Fenske’s son. He has been invited 2008 to Archanes with his wife and they really enjoyed the time. It was very touching for him, to meet people who remembered his father, whom he lost in the age of eight. He told us, that his father never wanted to become a soldier. He has been a driver in a big company before, and when he should join the army, he hid himself and got a couple of days imprisonment.
    For his son it was obvious, that Hitler and the Nazi are responsible for Fenske’s death. I’ve written this to Paddy Leigh Fermor, but maybe it was too late and he was not in the situation to answer.
    The picture and Artemis Cooper’s words, which I’ve git from Tim, I’ll send to Fenske jun. and I am sure, that he will appreciate it. Of course, I’m interested in any new information about the Kreipe abduction and other matters of the katochi.

    Reply
  5. Miles Fenton

    When I visited Uncle Paddy a couple of years ago he showed me the two pennants and I took a photograph of him holding them. He does appear very frail in the photo so I am not showing it.

    His sister, Vanessa, was my mother.

    Reply
  6. Christopher Lawson

    A definite scoop,Tom, and from an impeccable source.

    Yes, Paddy always felt bad about the chauffeur. He had been so expertly coshed by Billy Moss that he would have held the party up. I guess Artemis Cooper will give us the final version.

    I understand that the Greek partisans allowed him to see pictures of his family for one last time, and then slit his throat very professionally..

    Reply

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