The propaganda plea that didn’t work

Cretan propaganda

Cretan propaganda leaflet 1897.

The leaflet was distributed to British sailors in Canea; it didn’t appear to have any effect, they still fired.

On 26th March 1897, after Cretan Christians had opened fire on Fort Izzedin, the fortress guarding the southern side of the anchorage in Suda bay, H. M. S. Camperdown was one of the ships that drove the insurgents off. A sailor on board the Camperdown, Fred Blomley [? the writing is unclear so the name might be mis-spelled] wrote to his grandmother describing the events:

‘The battle started about 7 p.m. as soon as the Greeks started firing the small ships fired shell at them it was a splendid sight to see at 8.30 we got orders to fire we fired at a distance of 4 miles the battle finished at 10 p.m. for the night but started in the morning again at 9 a.m. we received orders to fire our heavy guns at them as well as the others our heavy guns weigh 67 tons each & throw a shell weighing 1250 lbs which bursts at any distance you like from ½ mile to 15 miles we fired 4 rounds from these guns at them & a lot from the others.’


H. M. S. Camperdown bombarding Cretan Insurgents

Graphic 24 April 1897 Camperdown firing main armament

H. M. S. Camperdown bombarding Cretan Insurgents.

Meanwhile, making the most of the opportunity to advance medical science, in May 1897, Staff-Surgeon Biden, a Doctor on HMS Scout, one of the warships present at Selino-Kastelli during the Candanos evacuation, published an article detailing the effects on the human body produced by a 5-inch Shrapnel Shell Mark III fired at a range of 2,500 yards; the victim being one of Cretan fighters who had attacked the international force. The Doctor regretted that his ship had been ordered to sea before he was able to visit the other Cretan injured and thus he was denied the opportunity to make further observations on the effects of British shrapnel shells.

E. J. Biden. ‘The Fighting in Crete.’ British Medical Journal. 8 May 1897. 1184.


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