Between February 1907 and February 1908, the 1/Inniskilling Fusiliers were stationed in Crete. A series of postcards, annotated in the same hand and apparently written by a member of the Battalion who signed himself ‘Sid’ have recently appeared. Most are commercially produced, but at least one appears to be privately taken photograph which was then turned into a postcard.
Some of these images are shown below with as much of the annotations as are possible to transcribe, with the spelling and punctuation as the original.
Front text: Taken on the arrival of the of A Coy. (advance party) Feb.24th 07 We came us here later on. As
Text on reverse of postcard: This is a view of the ramparts you can see how we overlook the town, the Canea Gate is closed every evening at Sunset and Sentries are posted outside the gate and inside along with a Quick Firing gun.
Front text: our look out station, we have a full view from this point.
Front text: Where the priests pray to the Sun & Stars [???}
(This would tend to suggest the writer possessed a rather limited knowledge of the Muslim religion.)
Front text: another portion of the Cemetery (Greek) + (Armenian)
Reverse text: our Cemetery is railed off from the Greek and Armenian portion. Sid.
The time in Crete was not all spent sight seeing – the instability of the political situation on the island was still apparent and the British soldiers’ views of the Cretan insurrectionists were not necessarily complimentary.
Reverse text: Lionis is a gentleman we should like to meet. he causes more trouble than 20 other chiefs. He is said to be worth £24,000.000. (from plunder. I suppose.)
Reverse text: Another group of insurgents who were caught on the hills – many of them lived by Brigandage.
X Mousthopher Khapussain a noted Brigand chief who also stirred up the people to revolt, he was shot about a month or so
The above was a professionally produced post-card which apparently dates to around 1897 when Cretan Christian Insurgents attacked the Ottoman outpost at Malaxa, above Canea. This was 10 years prior to the arrival of the Inniskillings on Crete.
As well as the main garrison in Candia, British troops also manned smaller outposts throughout the British Secteur. While the privately produced photograph below doesn’t specify where it was taken, one of the commercial postcards refers to Pediada, one of the main outposts, and it is possible that it was taken at the outpost there.
Front text -Vertically on left hand side: [Water] Tank
Front text on top: No.1 Section, ‘D’ Company” INNISKILLING.S. (OUTPOST) (After a good mornings work)
Quite what had constituted a ‘good mornings work’ in this case is anyone’s guess. However the soldier on the extreme left is holding what appears to be an air-gun or small rifle, certainly not the standard infantry rifle in use at the time, while others are armed with planks of wood, pick-axes and pick-axe handles; this might suggest they’ve been on a rat-hunt.
Front text on top: A portion of our camp. Note the tanned faces of the troops
Front text on bottom: North end of the Camp
While sport was obviously a means of keeping the soldiers occupied, culture was not ignored, as this souvenir of a trip to Knossos testifies. (It’s not clear if the Battalion photographed was the Inniskillings, but the postcard was part of ‘Sid’s’ collection.)
Front text: One of our Signalling Stations This was Taken outside the city walls
Front text: Note the primitive ploughs
Reverse text: The women do almost all the work here, while the “men?” go in for drinking + fighting or Brigandage
Front text on top: A rare sight here, is to see a Turk working they generally give the women that pleasure. Front text on bottom front: No such thing as a horse here (PTO)