It is clear the original intention was to award Paddy a DSO, but that was struck out in favour of an OBE. Paddy was later awarded the DSO for his part in the Kreipe abduction. Interestingly they had difficulties with his surname … Fermor is crossed out and replaced by Fermer!
The commendation reads:
This officer infiltrated into Crete on 22 Jun 42. Since that date, by his courage, cheerfulness and steadfastness, he has been most valuable in maintaining morale among the civilian population in most difficult circumstances.
At different times he has been in charge of our revolutionary and espionage services in the prefectures of Canea, Rethymnon and Heraklion and has been responsible for providing much valuable information regarding enemy activity and intentions. In addition he has made a personal reconnaissance of the ports of Suda and Heraklion under most hazardous circumstances.
On his own initiative he has organised defeatist campaigns in the ranks of German troops. With complete disregard for personal safety … he has carried these enterprises through to a successful conclusion.
He is still in Crete, where his determination, devotion to duty, and steadfastness of purpose have been invaluable in helping the local population to sustain their faith in their allies.
He is consistently hunted by the occupying troops.
Signed by Head of Mission 9 Apr 43.
(requested that should the award be made there should be no publicity for security reasons.)
The source for this is the Kew public records office. This is not in Paddy’s SOE file.
Greetings from Australia,
I am fascinated by this imaginative website as a tribute to such a singular man! I have just reread “Ill Met by Moonlight” by Billy Moss reprinted by Paul Dry books in the US, and it re-fired my interest in the Keipe kidnap which had fascinated me in my teenage years after viewing the film starring Dirk Bogarde as Paddy. I also recently obtained Antony Beevor’s brilliant “Crete-The battle and the resistance” which I highly recommend to Leigh Fermor fans who want to understand the role of SOE in Crete
i noticed in Moss’ book,, that Paddy was awarded an immediate DSO for his part in the Kreipe coup,(Moss received the lesser award of an MC) but wondered what he had done to earn an OBE beforehand, so I was delighted to find the citation above which makes very interesting reading. I note at the time of the citation, that Paddy held the rather junior commissioned rank of ‘temporary Captain’., which would normally rate an award of an MBE. An OBE ( a very senior award normally for Colonels) is explained by the handwritten scrawl on the right hand side , above the signature of General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, who signed off on the award of the OBE,(having struck out the recommendation for a DSO)and appended a note “specially recommended though of junior rank”
I venture to suggest that an award of an OBE to an officer of the rank of captain, (substantive or temporary), was EXTREMELY rare! General Wilson must have been very impressed.
Great to read – how did you find it if it wasn’t in his file?
(We drank in the hotel bar after Paddy’s funeral)
Chris – it was in some other general file at Kew – sent to me by someone. Will you be at the Memorial Service on 15 Dec?
How nice to read a whole-hearted commendation, nothing grudging, just a generous acknowledgement of PLF’s achievements. “Courage, cheerfulness, and steadfastness” – how good to be remembered for these things.