Bombardment of rebels above Canea

Bombardment of Canea

Bombardment of Canea

On 21 February 1897, Cretan Christian rebels, amongst whom was Eleftherios Venizelos, a future Prime Minister of Greece, occupied the heights outside Canea and threatened to open fire on the city with artillery recently landed from Greece. On been instructed by the European Powers to take down the Greek flag that they were flying, the rebels refused and as a consequence the fleet opened fire on them.

According to the Royal Navy’s report on the incident:

‘Three common shell were fired from a 6 inch gun from Her Majesty’s ship “Revenge” at 4.700 yards, all three shells bursting in a walled farmstead which formed the base of their outposts on the ridge of the hill above the town. The gun-vessels fired sharpnel and common shell; the French and Italian ships did not fire as their guns were masked by other ships.’

The rebels withdrew without firing on Canea having suffered three dead and a number wounded.

(The illustration, which appeared in The Graphic on 13th March 1897, appears to have been reversed in printing since the rebel’s position was, in reality, to the east of Canea i.e. to the left of the city viewing it from the sea. The International bombardments to the west of the town were for the most part carried out by much smaller gunboats.)

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