Patrick Leigh Fermor dies
Jeremy Guest: May 2011
Travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor dies.
One of the best travel writers on Greece and the Greek Islands, Patrick Leigh Fermor, has died aged 96. His accounts of travels across Europe, Greece and the Caribbean are widely regarded as classics of travel literature. In World War Two he lived, disguised as a shepherd, in the mountains of Crete.
He helped organise the resistance movement and he was one of those who led the team that, in 1944, kidnapped General Heinrich Kreipe, the island's German commander.
The kidnap provoked brutal reprisals by the Germans and the the episode was later turned into a 1957 English film 'Ill Met by Moonlight', starring Dirk Bogarde.
Two autobiographical works, 'A Time of Gifts' (1977) and 'Between the Woods and the Water' (1986), detailing his walks across Europe as a penniless teenager, brought him international fame.
Described once on the BBC as 'a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene', he was as renowned for his feats of wartime bravery and for his erudite articles, essays and books.
It was his fluency in modern Greek led him to be parachuted into Nazi-occupied Crete in the war. He later built a home in The Mani, in the Peloponnese region of Greece, and he and his photographer wife, Joan Eyres Monsell, divided their time between Greece and Britain.
His books about life in Greece -- 'Mani' (1958) and 'Roumeli' (1966) confirmed his reputation as one of the greatest travel writers.