Perkins and Pendlebury in Crete, and a hunt for Xan Fielding’s grave

It’s holiday time and some of your fellow readers have been setting off in the footsteps fairly early this year. We had the excellent report from Paddy’s Italian Fans; the report from Kardamyli by our on the spot reporter John Chapman, and now a postcard from Julian Aburrow who visited Crete with his wife back in May; he sent us some pictures of the graves of Perkins and Pendlebury.

Julian was quite anxious to know whether Xan Fielding was buried on Crete, and as time ran out and his departure from the island loomed we asked Artemis Cooper if she had any better idea.

Dear Tom,
As you say, Xan died Paris and was cremated there. At some point after that Magouche, Paddy and Joan took his ashes into the White Mountains, and scattered them to the winds. Among Paddy’s photos now in the National Library of Scotland there is a photo which I think must have been taken at the time: in the foreground are a few beautiful red flowers (cut flowers that is, but not in a bouquet), a branch gnarled and bleached by the weather, and a great sweep of mountains beyond. If I go and see Magouche again, I will ask her to tell me in more detail. [Edit – of course Magouche passed away on 2 June 2013 just after Artemis wrote this note: see this article]

Artemis

In the meantime a regular correspondent to the blog, Paul George (who is one of those unfortunate souls who is an ex-pat and lives in Crete – you have our sympathies Paul 🙂 ), got in touch with some pictures of his recent walk into the White Mountains to the area where Xan’s ashes were scattered. It is a harsh and bleak landscape; it makes you think of the toughness of men who lived and fought here during the war.

The mountain hut is Kallergi at @ 1700 mtrs….this is the location that Xan Fielding’s ashes were scattered… The photograph taken in the mountain is of me trekking up Melindaou…… Xan Fielding, PLF et al…..would have know and walked in this area.

Trekking up Melindaou

Trekking up Melindaou

Kallergi hut near the location that Xan's ashes were scattered

Kallergi hut near the location that Xan’s ashes were scattered

Kallergi hut @ 1700 m

Kallergi hut @ 1700 m

Staff Serjeant Dudley Churchill Perkins

Left behind on Crete after the evacuation and subsequently captured. He then escaped and lived on his wits, with help from the locals, until 1942. When he was finally evacuated and rejoined his group, he found that he no longer fitted in and transferred to a different group. He returned to Crete where he was met by Xan Fielding.
More info here: http://www.my-crete-site.co.uk/vasili.htm. Vasili, The Lion of Crete by Murray Elliott is a very good read.

Captain John Devitt Stringfellow Pendlebury

Instrumental in organising early resistance, mentioning his name was a key to getting help from the Cretans, who thought very highly indeed of him. He is still known on Crete today: when we went to Knossos a few years ago, someone tried to sell us a guide book. When
I showed him my copy of ‘The Palace of Minos, Knossos’ by JDSP, he said ‘Blebbery, still the best’. Blebbery being the closest pronunciation that they can manage.
Imogen Grundon’s book The Rash Adventurer is a great read. Also, he knew Dilys Powell, Humfrey Payne et al and was highly influential in both Egyptian and Greek archaeology. I admire him very much.
Hope this is of interest and look forward to yet more posts on the blog.
Best wishes

Julian Aburrow

Related article:

Read more about John Pendlebury here: The magnetic John Pendlebury

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2 thoughts on “Perkins and Pendlebury in Crete, and a hunt for Xan Fielding’s grave

  1. AndrewvScott Pendlebury

    Just great full there is such interest in Paddy,Pendlebury,Feilding,in this day and age.Am A huge admirer of Paddy,..have a letter written by him in 2008 ,letting me know how good it was to hear the name Pendlebury,as I wrote to him,telling him my father was a war artist in New Guinea in ww2 .

    Reply

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