Monthly Archives: January 2015

Naval Patrol

The first British personnel arriving in Canea.

British sailors from H. M. S. Anson.

The first British troops to land in Crete were Royal Marines landed from H. M. S. Revenge at 3.15 p.m. on 15th February 1897; followed shortly afterwards that afternoon by parties from H.M.S Barflour and H. M. S. Rodney. The duties of the sailors and marines¬† centred on patrolling both Canea and the surrounding countryside in order to keep Cretan Christian¬† and Cretan Muslims apart. The illustration above shows ‘Bluejackets’ from H. M. S. Anson and appeared in the Illustrated London News on 1 May 1897.


Camp Coffee anyone?

International and Ottoman troops encamped at Fort Butsunaria

International and Ottoman troops encamped at Fort Butsunaria

Coffee 2

German Coffee advertising card.

I’ve used this illustration before. Then I discovered I wasn’t the only one interested in it.

In spite of there being relatively few German troops on the island, and then only for a short time, one German Coffee company took advantage of their presence to produce an advertising card featuring them. The practice of using pictures of troops in exotic foreign climes to advertise commercial goods, coffee in particular, was not unknown in Britain at the time.

Camp Coffee Advert...possibly from the Sudan Campaigns c. 1885 - 1898

Camp Coffee Advert…possibly from the Sudan Campaigns c. 1885 – 1898


Camp Coffee Adverts. Colour version is currently in use.

Camp Coffee Adverts. Colour version is currently in use.



Insurrectionists or Plagiarists ?

On arrival in Crete in March 1897, the ‘enemy’ the British troops faced were the invading Greek forces and Cretan Christian insurrectionists.

The photograph below, ‘A contingent of Cretan insurrectionists’ appeared in the Illustrated London News on 6 March 1897. The attribution is to ‘A Naval Officer On Board one of the Ships off Crete.’

ILN Heads of insurrection March 1897 Black and white RG Kruger

Cretan Christian Insurrgents March 1897

“The Heads of the Insurrection.”

The photograph above, ‘The Heads of the Insurrection’, appeared in the Supplement to ‘Black and White’ Magazine, 20 March 1897, and is attributed to R. G. Kruger. The text on the magazine page suggests the photograph was taken near Canea.

Other than an apparent case of plagiarism, there are several things in particular to note about the photograph.

Third from the left in the back row is a figure dressed in what appears to be a regular military uniform. This is possibly one of the Greek officers or artilleryman who are known to have traveled with a number of the insurgent bands.

The two figures on the extreme left of the front row are both dressed in western European clothes, complete with kepis, as is the figure fifth from the left, but without a hat. These are possibly western journalists, several of whom accompanied insurgent groups. These included The Times Journalist R.A.H. Bickford-Smith who was present at the relief of Kandanos ,

Post script. Within 12 hours of posting I received the following via facebook:

The second from right in the middle row with the white beard and black clothes, is the Cydonia chieftain Dimitris Gelasakis (1853-1912), uncle of my grandfather, and a close friend and associate of Eleftherios Venizelos!

All the nice girls love a (Marine)

Troops of the Powers

Troops of the Powers

The publication date is 20 March 1897 which means the British troops shown, top left hand corner, are Royal Marines since the British Army didn’t land until 24th March that year. The other troops are German, Russian, French, Italian and Austro-Hungarian, and the location is most probably Canea.