The Sabotage Diaries
from Katherine Barnes
I first wrote about this excellent book in March. Author Katherine Barnes has now produced a video which is worth a watch, even if only to view some of the extraordinary photographs showing SOE operations in mainland Greece.
The Sabotage Diaries is the thrilling story of Allied engineer Tom Barnes, who was parachuted behind enemy lines in Greece In 1942 with eleven others to sabotage the railway line taking supplies to Rommel in North Africa. The target chosen was the Gorgopotamos bridge. Tom led the demolition party to lay the explosives while fighting raged between the Italian garrison and a combined force of Greek resistance fighters and Tom’s fellow-soldiers. A great story of courage and endurance.
Buy The Sabotage Diaries
A small tribute to remember those on both sides who fought and died in Gallipoli, a bloody campaign that started 100 years ago today.
The words of the great Mustafa Kemal Atatürk resound clearly today:
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours … You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.
The video below includes an extremely moving song by Eric Bogle and is mixed with pictures from Gallipoli with past and present Canadian troops.
A broadcast on France Culture radio featuring Paddy speaking his best French, supported by Artemis Cooper and her father John Julius Norwich. Lovely to hear Paddy speaking and also to brush up some of the old French given that we all know the context. With contributions from others. Click the picture above to visit the site and then press the play icon. The player will open in a new window and can be a little slow to load so just be patient but the quality is fine and worth the wait.
Interesting that with this and the TV interview alongside the brilliant Nicolas Bouvier, the French are running neck and neck with the BBC for airtime about Paddy. Watch Paddy here (he appears around 29 minutes.)
My thanks to Nick Galousis who highlighted this You Tube video in which Elais Athanassakis, who passed away in 2002, tells the story of the build up to the kidnap and his part in it.
Paddy describes Elias in Abducting a General as “a very bright and enterprising young student working in our town organisation” and it was he who had to commit to memory all the details of the General’s car, even down to the size of the headlight slits, so as to ensure that the correct car was chosen on the busy road. He reconnoitered the route with Paddy and had the task of observing the road to signal back when the General was approaching and whether or not he was accompanied.
The video is in Greek which is great for those of us who speak Greek 🙂
You may remember in 2012 I posted a video of Owen Martell walking “the wrong way” across Europe from Istanbul to Edinburgh. It was quite an epic journey.
This last year or so Owen walked across the United States from Seattle to New Orleans pushing and sometimes dragging his load in a trolley contraption through snow and desert, encountering some very strange Americans, and just good normal people on his way. There were times when he had some close shaves, suffering from noxious gases in oil production fields, and getting caught up in “security situations” in an America that can sometimes be hostile to the wandering traveller as it fights the war against its unseen, and perhaps imagined, enemies.
I hope that you enjoy watching Owen’s journey in his wonderful You Tube video accompanied as ever by the delightful music of the very talented folk group Darlingside.
Watch Owen’s walk across Europe here.
Artemis Cooper presenting the 2014 Stavros Niarchos Foundation lecture
Artemis Cooper giving the 2014 Stavros Niarchos Foundation Lecture at Yale University.
A video is available on YouTube here or via the embed below. The blurb introduces things as follows:
Patrick Leigh Fermor’s first travels in Greece took place before the outbreak of the Second World War, and he already spoke fluent Greek by the time he was parachuted into occupied Crete in 1942 to help the Cretan Resistance, which in May 1944 resulted in the abduction of a German general. Leigh Fermor settled in Greece in the 1960s, and lived there until his death in 2011. His books Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece and Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese are two of the best travel books in the English language. The talk is about his life and friends in Greece, and how much the country meant to him.
Mark Granelli brought this video to my attention and had this to say:
It is quite fascinating, and includes a beautiful extract from ‘Mani’ where Paddy is accompanied by dolphins on a ferry trip.
It focuses a lot on Paddy’s time in Crete.
The Q&A at the end turns up some personal information about Paddy and also references Olivia Manning and Fitzroy Maclean.
Another video from the delightful series of interviews with Debo. She recalls times with Jack Kennedy and his funeral. She was at the White House during the Cuban missile crisis and could not understand all the talk of “missuls”; she thought they were some kind of thrush.
Click on the picture to play and briefly endure the annoying advertisement before the main event (sound again low gain).