Seaforth Highlanders – Akrotiri

On April 19th 1897, under command of Captain Egerton,  75 men of 1/Seaforth Highlanders were sent to join the existing  international detachment of 75 Austrians, 75 French, 90 Italians and 2 Italian guns, guarding the neck of Akrotiri peninsula, outside Canea. The force was placed there to prevent Christian insurgents from attacking the town form the north east, and remained there until June.

1/Seaforth Highlanders

1/Seaforth Highlanders. Location unknown.

Italian Gun, Suda Bay April 1897

Italian Gun, Suda Bay April 1897

According to Egerton:

“The orders given by the Council of Admirals …were to guard the neck of the Akrotiri peninsula and prevent a large body of insurgents encamped therein from breaking out, and equally to prevent any body of Turks or Bashi Bazouks from the mainland from breaking in and attacking the insurgents. The two chiefs of the insurgent bands on Akrotiri were Messers Fourmis [sic] & Venezelos [sic], both Athens’ educated natives of Crete, who spoke and wrote excellent French.”

Activity at this post was apparently limited and Egerton clearly had no great opinion of his allies, continuing his narrative in the first person he stated:

“Nothing serious ever happened, but for the two months that I was in command at Akrotiri Lt. Campion and myself, took it in turn every night to visit the sentries and patrol the neighbourhood, after 12 midnight.

I did not trust the Italians a yard, and had no great confidence in the French, but my Austrian detachment Officers and men, were reliable to the last degree. The Italians were very fond of the English and were ready to black our boots, and they have never forgotten how much we assisted towards a united Italy. The Austrians were on very friendly terms always, their Officers were nearly all gentlemen, which was not certainly the case with most of the other foreign Officers.

The Russians we saw little of, they were mainly kept outside of Canea, on account of their rowdy habits. Their Colonel was an ex-Guardsman exiled for St. Petersburg for his numerous crimes. He was often seen drunk.”

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