Category Archives: Royal Sussex

High Commissioner Zaimis

In September 1906, following the elections which came after the Theriso Revolt, Prince George had had enough of Crete, and Crete had had enough of Prince George. His replacement, who took office shortly after George’s departure from the island on 25th September, arriving there on 30th September 1906, was Alexandros Zaimis; twice previously Prime Minister of Greece and ‘…an experienced politician not noted for superabundant energy (energy was the last thing the Powers wanted in Crete).’[1]

Alexandros Zaimis High Commissioner of Crete.

Alexandros Zaimis High Commissioner of Crete.

Zaimis arrived in Canea and was greeted with an appropriate military guard of honour, the British contingent apparently being provided by the Royal Navy, as shown on the contemporary postcard photograph below.

The arrival of High Commissioner Zaimis. Canea 30 September 1906.

The arrival of High Commissioner Zaimis. Canea 30 September 1906.

Interestingly, an almost identical photograph – note to positions of the rowing boats – was used on another postcard  This time more detail of the event is added; however, the date given is one month out.

High Commissioner Zaimis arriving Canea. Note the incorrect date.

High Commissioner Zaimis arriving Canea. Note the incorrect date.

Zaimis’s career as High Commissioner was relatively brief. Although appointed for a term of office of 3 years, on 12th October 1908 he was in Athens, by coincidence or otherwise, when  the Cretan Administration declared union with Greece. Following this Zaimis, though technically remaining High Commissioner, never returned to the island.

During his stay on Crete, on at least one occasion he made a formal visit to Iraklion. During this visit he reviewed the British troops stationed there. This parade was captured on camera and turned into a series of souvenir postcards

Parade of British Troops in honour of High Commissioner Zaimis.

Parade of British Troops in honour of High Commissioner Zaimis.

Iraklion parade for High Commissioner Zaimis.

Iraklion parade for High Commissioner Zaimis.

High Commissioner Zaimis passing British troops in review.

High Commissioner Zaimis passing British troops in review.

The exact date of the parade is, as yet, undetermined. However, if it was between his arrival in September 1906 and February 1907 it was 2/Royal Sussex, between February 1907 and February 1908, 1/Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, and after then until his departure, 3/King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

A regiment which definitely WAS NOT involved was the unidentified Highland regiment shown in the card below; the last Scottish regiment to serve on Crete, 2/Cameron Highlanders,  left the island  in March 1903.

Souvenir postcard of High Commissioner Zaimis - date unknown.

Souvenir postcard of High Commissioner Zaimis – date unknown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Holland, R. and Markides, D. The British and the Hellenes. Struggles for Mastery in the Eastern Mediterranean 1850 – 1960 (Oxford, 2006). 128.

 

2 Royal Sussex get the goat.

Drummers 2/Royal Sussex

Drummers 2/Royal Sussex.  (Assuming that’s an Ibex on the bottom left, the photograph dates from between August 1906 when they received the animal, and February 1907, when the battalion left the island.)

On 29th May 1905, the Head Quarters and five other companies of 2/Royal Sussex left Malta bound for Crete. Extracts from the battalion diary describe their experiences:

 
“[The battalion] under Lt Col. J. G. Panton moved to Crete in S. S. Sardinia to assist in the suppression of the insurrection of the followers of VENEZELO against the Cretan Government. The insurrection continued until the end of Nov. 1905.
Detachments of the battalion were distributed over the KANDIA secteur, (i.e. the British secteur) in fortified (posts?) and camps. Small columns were also sent out to patrol the district. A detachment of the battalion was also quartered at CANEA in the International zone.
Colonel Panton commanded the British Troops in Crete, and had under his command 400 of 1.K.R.R. [1/Kings Royal Rifles] in addition to various details of R.E. – A.S.C. etc [Royal Engineers & Army Service Corps.]
The Officers of the Bn. In addition to their military duties were employed in the administration of martial law, which was still continued after the conclusion of the 1905 insurrection. The work of the troops during the insurrection involved considerable hard work and discomfort. The armed bands of insurgents avoided coming into contact with the troops, and on three occasions only was there actual fighting between British troops and the insurgents viz. at SKYLOS, CORPHAIS and at BUTZENARIO.
The insurgents were armed with Gras rifles (chiefly) – very badly kept. Their shooting was bad.
Two cruisers, the “VENUS” & “MINERVA” and afterwards the “DIANA” were stationed at Crete and frequently co-operated by moving detachments of the Battn. by sea, to various parts of the Island. The signallers of the Battn did excellent work in in keeping up communication between all posts in the district & with Head Quarters in KANDIA………
On April 28th May 1st 1906 ‘C’ E’ and ‘H’ Companies under command of Bt. Lieut. Colonel H.R. Lloyd arrived at Crete from Malta on the “MALACCA”, disembarkation took place under considerable difficulties owing to the rough state of the sea at the time and the absence of any labour at KANDIA.
The Battalion was split up into many Detachments during the elections in the British secteur in May, and underwent a considerable amount of arduous work…….
During September trouble was expected in the island of Crete owing to the resignation of Prince George of Greece from the position of High Commissioner of Crete. Nothing of any account occurred in the KANDIA secteur, but at CANEA on the day of his departure as party of Insurgents fired at the International Troops, killing a Russian cavasse [official interpreter] and wounding a Russian soldier- a Detachment under Lieutenant R. (Pinker?) of the battalion was at Canea at the time but took but little part in the affair…….
Prince George of Greece presented the Battalion with two Ibex as Regimental pets in August 1906. The male Ibex died before the Battalion left Crete….

 

On 11th January 1907 a monument erected by the 2nd Bn in memory of their Comrades, who died in Crete during 1905-1907, was unveiled by Bn Colonel J.G. Panton C.M.G. in British Cemetery at Crete.”20150630_110026

2 Royal Sussex Memorial Iraklion.

2 Royal Sussex Memorial Iraklion.

 

Revolutionary soldiers

Participants in the Theriso Rebellion. 1905

Participants in the Theriso Rebellion. 1905

The battalion left Crete, en-route for Belfast, on 25th  February 1907.

Suda Bay Golf Course

While the quality of the text below may leave something to be desired, the story it tells may strike a chord with those who have been following the seemingly everlasting debates as to whether or not to expend land, resources and water on building golf courses on Crete.1899 golf course (2)
Taken from the Navy and Army Illustrated of 20th (?) February 1899, the article tells the story of the golf course at Suda Bay, Canea.

Described as originally having been laid down by officers from H. M. S. Revenge “…a little over a year ago. Since then succeeding ships have expended time and labour on them, until now a nine-hole course exists that gives a very fair game. Indeed many Naval officers who have played a great deal on both courses declare that much better “gowf” can be had on the Suda Bay links than on the older course at Malta.

“The links are situated some twenty minutes’ walk from the landing place at Suda where a small river discharges its stream at the head of Suda Bay. Here, as shown in the [top] illustration is ‘Giacommenos (?) restaurant…” (Apparently known among British Naval officers as ‘The Sign of the Great Powers.’)

“Here caddies are engaged and a naval officer is, in our illustration, seen solving the difficult question, namely, which of the two caddies offering their services is likely to be the least untrustworthy.”

The Suda Bay course was not unique. While it was apparently in use in 1899 when the photographs were taken, writing in 1915 of his time stationed in Crete in 1906, Captain W. D. Downes of the 2/Sussex Regiment describes a golf course in Candia which had been built by ‘political prisoners.’

The site of the Suda Bay golf course still retains its connection with the British military. Today it is the location of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, containing not only the remains of those British and Allied troops who died on Crete during WW2, but also a small number who died on the island at other times, including during the Intervention period.

Another parade.

Parade in Candia

Parade in Candia

Could be 1/Inniskilling Fusiliers, 3/King’s Royal Rifle Corps or 2/Royal Sussex. All were in Crete at some time in 1907 or 1908.