Tag Archives: Candia

The Royal Welsh Fusiliers arrive

The first tranche of 2/Royal Welsh Fusiliers, consisting of HQ and four other companies, arrived in Candia on 8th April 1897, the remainer of the batallion arriving in August that year. They remained on Crete until August 1898, when they departed for Egypt. However, they returned again to the island the next month as part of the British reinforcements sent after the riots of 6th September; finally departing for good in December 1898.

Their arrival in 1897 was witnessed by a correspondent sent by the London newspaper, the Standard:

From our own correspondent. Candia Friday [9 April 1897]

I arrived here at dawn to-day on board the transport Malacca, conveying a company of the Seaforth Highlanders and a battalion of the Welsh Fusiliers. The disembarkation of the Highlanders was begun at once, with the assistance of the Bluejackets from the Bruiser and the launches of the Trafalgar. The work was favoured by perfectly calm weather, and all arrangements had, as far as possible, been made beforehand, even to the building of ovens and the preparation of kitchens by fatigue parties of the Highlanders already here. The Company of the Seaforths marched up to the barracks about four o’clock, but the Welsh Fusiliers will probably remain on board until to-morrow. The Malacca has brought five hundred tons of extra regimental stores, and as another canteen ship arrived simultaneously, the men need not be afraid of running short of personal comforts, although they have plenty of work before them. The Fusiliers will be camped along the ramparts to the north-west of the Highlanders, and will take over almost one-half of the ground hitherto patrolled and guarded by the latter.
Admiral Canevaro came over here this after noon, in consequence of exaggerated reports that the Turks had attempted to pillage the Catholic Church, during the fire that occurred recently close by, notwithstanding that the building was guarded by Italian sailors. It is so difficult in this part of the world to get at the truth of things, save by making exhaustive personal inquiries, that it is only with the utmost reserve that I give what are, lam told, the actual facts. It seems, then, that an Italian sailor dropped a revolver while engaged in extinguishing the flames, and that it was picked up by a Turkish soldier. The action was misconstrued, and gave rise to a short dispute, which, however, was speedily settled by the Italian and Turkish officers.
Yesterday nearly the whole of the Turkish garrison turned out, after requesting the Foreign troops to patrol the town while they engaged the Insurgents. A tremendous fusillade was kept up till sunset, resulting in the loss of a single horse on the Ottoman side. Meanwhile, Captain Grenfell landed all the Bluejackets that could be spared, and marched them round the ramparts.
The small-pox is, I am sorry to say, on the increase, and the streets are full of people in various stages of the disease. Most of the Seaforth Highlanders have been vaccinated afresh, but comparatively few of them “took.” The men are now fairly comfortable, though it is rather provoking to see the Turks fighting, or pretending to fight, every day, while they themselves are confined to barracks — not a man being allowed to go into the town except on duty, nor even the officers, unless they go in twos and threes.
Sir Alfred Biliotti arrived here about noon. Colonel Chermside, the British Commandant, has so far recovered from his recent indisposition as to be able to resume his outdoor duties.


Working party of 2/RWF entrenching camp on ‘Canea bastion’ Candia. April 1898.

RWF throwing up new earthworks on Venetian Ramparts, Candia. April 1897.


Doctor Carter’s photograph album


Lieutenant Herbert St. Maur Carter arrived on Crete on 24 February 1907.

Lt herbert St Maur Carter RAMC 1906

An Irish  Doctor in the Royal Army Medical Corps, he appears to have taken a number of photographs of his time in Crete which were eventually deposited in the RAMC archives and are now available in the Wellcome Collection. One of the images in his collection also appears on a widely available postcard featuring an photograph taken by the Canea photographer Rahmizâde Bahaeddin Bey, and in this image Carter is identified.

Arrival of 1/Royal Inniskinning Fusiliers February 1907. Carter identified with an X

Carter’s photograph of arrival of Inniskillings

He served on Crete from February 1907, being promoted to Captain in January 1908, and returning to Malta in February that year. During his time in Crete he was nominally assigned to the Military Hospital in Candia, but posted to Canea, in charge of the British medical detachment there. On one occasion he was commended by Colonel Delamain, Officer Commanding the International troops, following the successful turnout of a picket from the Inniskilling Fusiliers, the battalion to which Carter was attached.

Carter’s Commmendation

Following his service in Crete, Carter was seconded to the Red Cross during the First Balkan War. He served in the RAMC, mostly in France, throughout the First World War, reaching the rank of Lt. Colonel, before retiring in 1933.

Herbert St Maur Carter, Crete 1907

Russian 13th Regiment feast Rethymno August 1907

The ‘Dog’s Home’ Canea – probably Halepa.

The ‘Club House’ Halepa.

Gonia 1907

Medical Officers Huts, Candia

British Hospital, Candia

1907 map of Selino

The map is included in the Welcome collection but it’s unclear whether or not it belonged to Carter.

British Army Rewards for September 6th 1898.

Reports, albeit somewhat inaccurate, of the events in Candia (Iraklion) on 6th September 1898 were published in British newspapers the following day.[1] However, it took the bureaucracy of the British Army some time to catch up, particularly when it came to rewarding the troops concerned. It wasn’t until January the following year that the following despatch appeared in the London Gazette, the official journal of the British government.


War Office, January 24, 1899.[2]


THE following Despatch has been received, through the Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Malta, from. Major-General Sir H. C. Chermside, G.C.M.G., C.B., Commanding the British Troops in Crete:

Kandia,, December 16, 1898.

Sir, I have the honour to submit the following report as to the services of the Officers and others present when the British Troops in Kandia were attacked on 6th September, 1898. I was not present in Crete on that date, but in subsequently forwarding copies of the reports despatched by Colonel F. M. Reid, Highland Light Infantry, Officer Commanding Troops and Acting British Commissioner, I had no hesitation in endorsing his opinion as to the coolness, steadiness, and gallantry of all concerned, during a most difficult and dangerous crisis.

The Infantry called on to defend themselves, with the assistance of other detachments, against this sudden, general, and treacherous attack, all belonged to the 1st Battalion Highland Light Infantry, and behaved in a manner worthy of the traditions of this distinguished corps.

I recommend for favourable consideration the services of the following:

Highland Light Infantry.

Colonel F. M. Reid.

Major I. C. Conway-Gordon.

Captain A. G. Balfour.

Captain A. F. Lambton.

Captain E. R, Hill.

Captain and Adjutant J. W. A. Cowan.

Captain G. E. Begbie.

Second Lieutenant W. H. E. Segrave (wounded).

Quartermaster-Sergeant S. McNeill.

Colour Sergeant A.-Colville.

Colour-Sergeant J. B. Cameron.

Sergeant A. Gray (wounded).

Sergeant R. Murray.

Sergeant D. Christie.

Sergeant E. B. Underwood.

Corporal J. MacLean.

Corporal J. C. Harland.

Private D. Fraser (wounded).

Private W. Mason.

Private R. Jordan.

Private W. Guthrie (severely wounded).

Private Jos. Perkins (wounded).

Private W. Johnstone.

Royal Engineers,

Lieutenant M. R. Kennedy.

Sergeant G. Smith.

Royal Army Medical Corps.

Lieutenant L. Addams-Williams.

Lieutenant T. H. M. Clarke (wounded).

Private D. Philemon.

Private G. H. Lowden.

Private G. Leggatt.

Private G. Biddiscombe (wounded).

Army Service Corps.

Sergeant G. Gordon.

I have, &c.,



Wounded from Crete in the Highland Light infantry at the Valletta Military Hospital, Malta. (Navy and Army Illustrated Vol VII No 101 page 399, 7 January 1899.)

War Office, March 7, 1899.[3]

The Queen has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following appointments to the Distinguished Service Order, and promotions in the Army, in recognition of the services of the undermentioned Officers during the outbreak in Kandia on the 6th September 1898. The promotions to bear date 8th March, 1899.

To be Companions of the Distinguished Service Order: —

Captain James William Alston Cowan, the Highland Light Infantry.

Lieutenant Macdougall Ralston Kennedy, Royal Engineers.

Lieutenant Thomas Henry Matthews Clarke, Royal Army Medical Corps.

Second Lieutenant William Henry-Erik Segrave, the Highland Light Infantry.


To be Lieutenant-Colonel: –

Major I. C. Conway-Gordon, the Highland Light Infantry.

To be Majors: –

Captain A.- G. Balfour, the Highland Light Infantry.

Captain G. E. Begbie, the Highland Light Infantry.

The Queen has further been pleased to approve the grant of the medal for Distinguished Conduct in the Field to the undermentioned: –

Royal Engineers.

Sergeant G. Smith.

The Highland Light Infantry.

Colour-Sergeant A. Colville.

Sergeant A. Gray.

Private W. Guthrie.

Army Service Corps.

Sergeant G. Gordon.

Royal Army Medical Corps.

Private G. Biddiscombe.

The Queen has also been graciously pleased to approve of the following promotions in the Army, in recognition of the services of the undermentioned Officers during the occupation of Crete, dated 8th March, 1899: –


To be Colonel: –

Lieutenant-Colonel R. B. Mainwaring, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

To be Major: –

Captain Sir H. W. McMahon, Bart., D.S.O., the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.


Lieutenant C. M. Dobell, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, is noted for consideration for the

Brevet rank of Major, on promotion to the rank of Captain.


An analysis of the distribution of ‘mentions in despatches’, medals and promotions awarded after the events of 6th September illustrates the social hierarchy of the late Victorian Army. In 1898 1/Highland Light Infantry while based in Malta prior to and after, its deployment in Crete consisted of a strength of approximately 700 Officers and men,[5] the overwhelming number of whom would be enlisted men and N.C.O.s. In spite of this, one third of those mentioned in the despatch, 11 out of 32, were offices, and of those given some recognition for their bravery that day, seven were officers and six were other ranks. (The brevet promotions for the Royal Welsh Fusiliers were unconnected with the events of 6 September, the RWF returning to Crete, having served there from April 18907 to August 1898, as part of the reinforcements sent following the riots.) The inclusion of so many members of the Royal Army Medical Corps in the official  Despatch reflects the fact that one of the significant locations for fighting on the 6th Sepember was around the British military hospital.

The Distinguished Conduct Medal, post-nominal letters DCM, was established in 1854 by Queen Victoria as a decoration for gallantry in the field by other ranks of the British Army. It is the oldest British award for gallantry and was a second level military decoration, ranking below the Victoria Cross, until its discontinuation in 1993. Coming with a gratuity paid on the recipients discharge from the army, all medals awarded bore the recipient’s number, rank, name and unit on the rim.

Distinguished Conduct Medal, Victorian version.

Distinguished Conduct Medal, Victorian version. (Later versions had the Monarch’s head on the reverse)

The Distinguished Conduct Medal awarded to Private William Guthrie, 1/ Highland Light Infantry, came up for sale in 2016.

Distingushed Conduct Medal awarded to Private William Guthrie, 1/Highland Light Infantry.

The following biographical details of Guthrie were recorded at the time of sale:

William Guthrie was born in Ayr, and attested for the Highland Light Infantry at Hamilton, in January 1897. He was discharged, 17 October 1899, as a consequence of the gunshot wound that he received at Kandia. The latter was ‘received in action at Crete 6.9.98… defending the military hospital when wounded… Bullet appears to have entered one sternal end of 1st rib passed outwards under the clavicle (right-side) making its exit on the outer side of arm 2 inches below point of shoulder.’ (Medical Report refers)

Guthrie had only served for 2 years and 239 days with the Colours, with the D.C.M. being his only medallic entitlement.[6]

The Royal Navy also rewarded their personnel for their bravery that day. The highest British award for bravery in the armed services, the Victoria Cross, was given to Royal Naval Surgeon William Maillard.


[1] Cf The Morning Post, London, 7 September 1898, p.4.

[2] London Gazette 24 January 1899. p458

[3] London Gazette 7 March 1899. p.1586.

[4] A Brevet promotion was an honorary, and temporary, promotion for bravery or distinguished conduct. It did not confer any seniority within the recipient’s regiment.

[5] https://www.maltaramc.com/regmltgar/71st.html

[6] https://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/auction-catalogues/dixnoonanwebb/catalogue-id-dix-no10028/lot-e5ab651d-9d76-4f03-bfa8-a6c501127b41


Keeping Candia Clean, 1897 to 1909.

On arrival in Crete in 1897, British troops were faced problems in addition to those of keeping the peace between two rival, and antagonistic, groups of the population, and preventing a ‘foreign’ takeover of the island. Located for the most part in Candia (Iraklion) with small detachments in villages close to the town and a token force in Canea, the troops were quartered on the ramparts of the Venetian walls surrounding the town.

Location of British Troops in Candia 1898.

The town itself was overburdened with an influx of Muslim refugees fleeing from the Cretan Christian insurrectionists, bringing the population up from an estimated 20,000 to an estimated 40,000. Surrounded by the Christian fighters and initially threatened with attack from Greek forces landed on Crete early that year, the already primitive sanitary arrangements within Candia which had suffered from centuries of Ottoman neglect, came close to collapse, and in doing so added another danger not only to the inhabitants, but to the British troops. From the point of view of the British Army, over the period of their presence in Crete, 1897 to 1909, the greatest danger they faced came not from the threat of Cretan or Greek violence, but from disease, much of it the result of the unsanitary condition within Candia town. The situation in Canea, though similar, was not as extreme as far as the British were concerned. Not only were there fewer refugees in the town, but by the end of June 1897, the small number of British troops in Canea were relocated from inside the town to a tented encampment in Halepa, some 3 Km outside the town.[i]

Layout of Seaforth Highlanders’ camp, Halepa. 1897.

Drawing on the annual Army Medical Reports presented to the British Parliament each year, and the ‘Report on Sanitary Work in Candia, Crete’ produced in February 1899 by Lieutenant T. H. M. Clarke, R. A. M. C., the Sanitary Officer for Candia, it is possible to construct a picture of the sanitary conditions under which the population, and the British garrison, co-existed. On arrival in Candia, the British were faced with a scene in which:

“Kandia (…) was found in a deplorable sanitary condition. An epidemic of smallpox was raging and decaying offal littered the streets in great heaps as practically no attempt at conservancy was made. The town is partially drained, but the only adequate sewers are the main ones built by the Venetians, the subsidiary ones, of more recent origin, being square in section and built of rough unhewn stone without mortar in many instances. They consequently permit the escape of the fluid portion of the sewage, and quickly become blocked. Some houses are supplied with water closets of ancient and inefficient pattern, but in those of the poor, a cesspit is dug under the boundary wall, partly in the house or its courtyard and partly in the street. These pits are mere holes in the ground and unlined in any way, and so, permitting the absorption of their fluid contents, do not require to be emptied often. They are covered with a few sticks and old mats, on which earth, frequently the dried contents of the pit at its last emptying, is heaped. The ventilation of the drains and those pits is naturally free into the streets and houses. The subsoil is everywhere saturated with the filth of age, and it is rare to see clean soil turned up anywhere in the town. Every street corner is used as a urinal and the streets themselves as latrines by the juvenile population at all times, and by their seniors under the cover of night. The principle streets of the town which alone are fit for vehicular traffic are paved with large flat granite setts and are broad and airy; all the others are narrow and tortuous and paved with rough cobble stones…

The immediate neighbourhood of the town outside the walls, which apparently had always been used for the deposit of refuse and dead animals, was polluted to such an extent that an excursion outside the gates was a most unpleasant experience. Much of the ground was immediately below, and partly to windward, of our camp on the ramparts. On the beach to the west, but outside the town, the municipal abattoir is situated, and the carcases are brought into the town, uncovered, on donkey back, often through clouds of putrescent dust from the polluted area just mentioned. The condition of this building was so bad that it was necessary to erect a private slaughterhouse for the use of the troops and, to avoid the dust, to provide a covered cart for the conveyance of the meat to camp.”[ii]

While lack of money played a major factor in the state of the town, ‘[t]he expenditure of the Municipal authorities…amounted to exactly £18 yearly; the expense of keeping a ramshackle cart in use which was more often on the sick list than off,’ added to which ‘the Public Health Officer of the port of Candia, whose duty it was to give the vessels arriving […] pratique [the authority to enter the port on the ship being declared free of infectious disease], had been a leper for eighteen years;’[iii] a more novel explanation was provided by ‘a leading Christian doctor in Candia, an able and cultured medical practitioner.’ According to this account, while overcrowding brought about by Muslims fleeing from the rebellion in the countryside and from the Sitia massacres clearly played its part in the deterioration of conditions within the town, there was another, less obvious, contributor.

‘The orthodox Moslem, owing to the frequent ablutions and hot baths prescribed to him by his religion, keeps his body clean, but in every other respect his habits of cleanliness, either in his indoor or his outdoor life, are very unsatisfactory. On the other hand, Moslem country people, being for the most part affiliated to the sect of “Becktasheeys,” [Baktashi] which dispenses with the precept of prayer, and consequently with ablutions, are still less apt to feel horror of filth and dirt. Therefore soon after the arrival in town of the country people, it was reduced to a vast cloaca and centre of infection.’[iv]

Before accepting this explanation, relying as it does on the alleged uncleanliness of the Muslim Cretans, it is worth bearing in mind the description of Cretan Christian refugees, provided by  a possibly less biased observer than ‘a leading Christian Doctor.’ Some of these Christian refugees, returning from Greece where they had fled during the revolution, arriving in Candia at a rate of over 600 per day and forced to  and forced to live in overcrowded conditions in the Greek Cathedral, were described as ‘villagers with habits and customs not much superior to animals.’[v] It would appear that the gap between the sanitary habits and practices of the townspeople and those from the countryside was more significant than between Christian and Muslim.

The existence and continuation of such insanitary conditions were clearly of great concern to the British Army given both their proximity to the British encampment on the walls of the town, and the need for British troops to pass through to town when carrying out their peace-keeping duties. The response, initiated in August 1897 ‘in anticipation of partial autumnal rains likely to be followed by hot still weather,’ was to engage twelve native scavengers under the control of a British N. C. O., to remove, bury, or burn the refuse heaps outside the walls. In September, a grant of £150 per month from the British Government was sanctioned ‘to take over the conservancy of the town.’[vi] However, given the political situation on the island, security implications – European troops were at this time ordered never to go into the towns alone or unarmed – and presumably the necessity for British troops not to be seen doing menial tasks which might imply their subservience to the local population, it was decided that British personnel could not be employed on such duties within Candia town; only outside the town walls. As a consequence, under the supervision and direction of the Army’s Chief Medical Officer, in 1897 Surgeon – Major Babtie, municipal and gendarmerie employees, headed by a gendarmerie lieutenant, were engaged to clean up the town.

The town was divided into districts and each district allocated a team consisting of an overseer, sweepers and sewermen each team with a number of mules or donkeys and their drivers. Though not carrying out any major works of a permanent nature, using these teams,

The accumulations of refuse were gradually removed, and a regular system of scavenging introduced, the drains repaired and cleaned as far as possible, streets mended where dangerous to life or limb, filthy corners, and, wherever possible, houses occupied by refugees washed with quicklime, cesspits, wherever the owners were unable to do so themselves, emptied, dead animals removed from the streets and buried, etc. The result was a ‘considerable improvement… effected in the condition of the town.’[vii]

The monthly grant was continued in 1898 and the system for cleaning the town maintained in spite of is suspension for a short period immediately following the outbreak of rioting on September 6th 1898,[viii] during which the interpreter to the British Sanitary Officer was murdered. The work recommenced in October, the British taking over full responsibility for the sanitation in the town in November with the eviction of all Ottoman forces and administrators from the island. The situation with respect to the health of British troops was exacerbated following the riots by the arrival of British reinforcements; raising the numbers camped on the ramparts from 500 to 5,000, and including three regiments ‘fresh from the short but arduous campaign on the Nile, where the seeds of enteric and dysentery were widely sown’[ix]

No reference is made to the monthly sanitary grant in the report for 1899, with the arrival of the High Commissioner Prince George in December 1898 and the provision of British and European loans to the new authority, the grant came to an end. With the ending of the International Provisional Administration on the island in July 1899 and the passing over of civilian authority to the new regime, responsibility for the sanitary condition of the town was handed over to the Cretan Autonomous State – albeit with the exception of ‘a strip of the town 50 yards deep from the ramparts where the British camp was situated, the three Venetian sewers, the ditches behind the camp and the large refuse heap outside the Canea gate.’[x] The retention of responsibility for the 50 yard strip of ground within the town walls was probably in order to maintain a degree of security given the events of the previous September, as well as to enable the British authorities to continue their campaign attempting to eradicate mosquitoes from the vicinity for the camp; malaria being one of the most significant contributors to the debility of British troops. The inclusion of the ditches behind the camp appears to be related to their previous use as a dumping ground for dead animals and their being the only place in Candia suitable as a recreation ground for the British garrison. The British clean-up of the moat does not appear to have been as successful as the Parliamentary Reports initially implied, this recreational area being not only inadequate in size but also ‘unhealthy’ in the summer and autumn. The British also retained the right to periodically inspect the rest of the town, in order to bring sanitary defects to notice of the authorities. While not specifically mentioning who is actually carrying out the cleaning work in Candia town, the report does makes reference to convict labour being to assist sanitary staff.[xi]

In 1900 the sanitary state of Candia was reported to have been ‘on the whole… satisfactory’[xii] but in October 1901, during a visit by the Principal Medical Officer, Malta Command, it was suggested that the deposit of the town refuse be moved further from the camp. At the time it wasn’t found possible to find a site to the east of the town so arrangements were put in hand for the old site to be abandoned and the soil pits and refuse heaps moved away to the west.[xiii] However, by the following year, 1902, with the town still being kept ‘superficially clean, and some of the main thoroughfares…remade so it [was] possible for them to be used by wheeled traffic,’ the refuse from the town was now being disposed of at a site ‘beyond the Christian cemetery to the east of the town and camp.’[xiv]

Little mention is made of the sanitary condition in the Reports of 1903 and 1904, though reference is made to the continuing mosquito eradication campaign in the vicinity of the British encampment. By 1905, the conditions in Candia were described as ‘very bad.’ While the barracks were considered to be mosquito free, admissions to hospital from malarial diseases totalled more than a third of the average strength of troops. The cause was put down to them being infected while on prison guard within Candia or on outpost duty outside the town. In the former case the sanitary conditions of the prisons was described as ‘particularly bad’ and a recommendation made that troops on guard duty be issued with suitable mosquito nets.[xv] By 1906 however, it could be reported that mosquito nets had finally been issued to the guards in the town[xvi] and subsequent reports make no further reference to the sanitary conditions in the town.

Inspired not by any humanitarian impulse aimed at improving the lives of the Cretan population, but rather by self-interest, the need to preserve the lives of British troops, the British ‘clean up’ in Candia undoubtedly saved lives; both British and Cretan. However, in spite of their efforts at improving the surrounding sanitation, the British involvement in the Cretan Intervention still came at a high price. While 14 soldiers and seamen were killed and 27 wounded by enemy action during the thirteen years spent on the island, the army alone lost a further 90 men dead to disease and other injuries, with over 11,000 men hospitalised. No comparable record is available of the number of Cretans who lost their lives during this period.


Army Medical Department Extract of Annual Parliamentary Return

Crete 1897 – 1909


Report Number Year Reported On Average Strength Hospital Admissions Deaths Command Paper No.
XXXIX 1897 1152 1683 24 C 8936
XL 1898 1701 2424 51 C 9453
XLI 1899 1184 1110 12* Cd 521
XLII 1900 592 622 6 Cd 980
XLIII 1901 564 1827 7 Cd 1422
XLIV 1902 460 1338 4 Cd 1906
XLV 1903 410 510 1 Cd 2434
XLVI 1904 439 454 6 Cd 2700
XLVII 1905 720 593 3 Cd 3212
XLVIII 1906 843 262 4** Cd 3797
XLVIX 1907 750 459 3 Cd 4057
L 1908 640 368 Cd 4933
LI 1909 339 198 2 Cd 5477

*Includes one murder; excludes the execution of the murder.

**Plus 1 suicide.



[i] National Army Museum. 6807-171. Diary of the detachment 1st BN. Seaforth Highlanders at Canea, Crete, during the early days of the International Occupation, 1897.

[ii] House of Commons Command Paper (HCCP) 1898 [C. 8936.] Army Medical Department Report for 1897. Vol. XXXIX Section IV. On the Health of troops serving in the Malta Command. Sanitary Conditions, Section II Crete. p. 87. Based on the notes of by Surgeon – Major W. Babtie, the Senior Medical Officer.

[iii] HCCP 1899 [C9233] Turkey No. 1. Inclosure in No. 234. Report on Sanitary Work in Candia, Crete. Lieutenant H. C. M. Clarke R.A. M. C. to Captain J. C. Shaw, Governor of Candia City. 15 February 1899. p. 147, p. 149.

[iv] Ibid. Dr. A. Ittar to Lieutenant H. C. M. Clarke 6 February 1899. p. 152.

[v] Ibid. Clarke to Shaw. p.150

[vi] HCCP 1898 [C. 8936.] Army Medical Department Report for 1897 Vol. XXXIX. .p. 89

[vii] Ibid. p. 89

[viii] HCCP 1899 [C. 9453.] Army Medical Department Report for 1898 Vol. XL Section IV. On the Health of troops serving in the Malta Command. Sanitary Conditions, Section II Crete. p. 92

[ix] [ix] HCCP 1899 [C9233] Turkey No. 1. Inclosure in No. 234. Report on Sanitary Work in Candia, Crete. Lieutenant H. C. M. Clarke R.A. M. C. to Captain J. C. Shaw, Governor of Candia City. 15 February 1899 p. 149.

[x] HCCP 1901 [Cd. 521.] Army Medical Department Report for 1899 Vol. XLI Section IV. On the Health of troops serving in the Malta Command. Sanitary Conditions, Section II Crete. p. 83

[xi] Ibid.

[xii] HCCP 1902 [Cd. 980.] Army Medical Department Report for 1900 Vol. XLII Section IV. On the Health of troops serving in the Malta Command. Sanitary Conditions, Section II Crete. p. 83

[xiii] HCCP 1901 [Cd. 1422.] Army Medical Department Report for 1901 Vol. XLIII Section IV. On the Health of troops serving in the Malta Command. Sanitary Conditions, Section II Crete. p. 81.

[xiv] HCCP 1904 [Cd. 1906.] Army Medical Department Report for 1902 Vol. XLIV Section IV. On the Health of troops serving in the Malta Command. Sanitary Conditions, Section II Crete. p. 80.

[xv] HCCP 1906 [Cd. 3212.] Army Medical Department Report for 1905 Vol. XLVII Section V. On the Health of troops serving in Crete. p. 106. The question must be raised as to why it took so long for such prophylactics to be issued and why it was felt necessary to include in a formal report to Parliament the fact that mosquito nets were apparently not issued to these guards.

[xvi]HCCP 1908 [Cd. 3797.] Army Medical Department Report for 1906 Vol. XLVIII Section V. On the Health of troops serving at stations in the Mediterranean Area. Crete. p. 69.


The British depart.

On 26th July 1909, the 2nd battalion, the Devonshire Regiment departed Candia en-route to Malta on board S.S. Rameses; the last of the British garrison on Crete until 1941. (British sailors and marines did revisit the island on 18th August 1909 in connection with the removal of the Greek flag, and the flagpole, from the Firka in Canea.)

The 2nd. Devonshires leaving Candia.

‘The regiment marching out of Kandia. (Photograph by an old soldier from Exeter.) Devon and Exeter Gazette, Friday 20th August 1909.

Devonshire’s leaving Candia harbour.

‘British troops leaving Crete. A batch of 200 British troops left Crete for Malta at the end of last month and received a very cordial send-off. The quay was lined with Cretan militia and there was erected an arch with portraits of the King and Queen.’  The Graphic, 15th August 1909.

A Creto-British Entente.

‘Each man was presented with a sprig of olive and (myrtle), tied with a ribbon on which was an inscription in Greek and Englishas shown above.’ The Graphic, 15th August 1909.

British officers’ quarters and mess; Candia 1909.

‘The officers’ quarters and mess of the British garrison in Crete, showing the Union Jack flying for the last time. The protecting Powers are to withdraw all of the International troops before the end of July.’  The Graphic, 17th July 1909.

The Devonshire’s had arrived on Crete on 18th January 1909 and, while on the island, had suffered two deaths from amongst their number, one from liver failure, the other from a ‘digestive disease’.  Little appears to have been recorded of their stay, but they were, clearly, involved in to some extent in the training of the Cretan Militia; the training of the Cretan Gendarmerie being, by this time, the responsibility of Greek offices and instructors.

2/Devonshires’ with Cretan militia and Greek officers. 1909

The Graphic 14th August 1909.

Meanwhile, in Canea, other International troops were pulling out of the island. The majority of the troops shown below would have been Italians since the Canea Secteur of the island was their responsibility.

Canea, departure of International troops, July 1909.

International troops depart, Canea 1909

Canea harbour, International troops depart. July 1909.

International Flags, Suda Bay. July 1909

The Graphic, 17th July 1909.

Lowering the British flag for the last time. 26th July 1909.

British sport on Crete.

As if  things weren’t difficult enough for British troops on Crete, it would appear that they made things worse for themselves by indulging in ‘football’ in spite of the fact that there appears to have been little, or any, compulsion for them to do so.

2/Rifle Brigade football match, Candia, May/June 1899. Illustrated London News, 3 June 1899.

The text reads: The players belong to two Companies of the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade. Their playground is the unturfed barracks square where they enjoy their game in spite of a thermometer at 82 degrees in the shade.

Things hadn’t improved much by 1907.

A Co. 1/Inniskilling’s football team, Crete 1907.
The Inniskillings’ players are listed as:
Winners of Regimental Football Challenge Shield 1906-7
Lieut. D. McK Hartigan, Sgt. F. Daly, L/C. J. Ballie, Colr Sgt. S. H. Miller, L/C. E. Page, Capt. G. W. Kenny.
L/C. W. Galbraith, Pte. R. McNeill, Pte. D. McGlurg, Pte. J. Thompson, Pte. J. Breadon.
Pte. A. Woodward, Pte. R .Scott, Pte N. Sherman.

Fortunately, other sports were available to the men, as can be seen by the photographs below of the celebrations laid on for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in June 1897.

Tug of War in the ditch below the ramparts of Candia. Royal Welsh Fusiliers (left) -v- Seaforth Highlanders (right). The Fusiliers won.

The officers had their own recreations.

Officers of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers playing Italian Officers at Hockey. Candia, 1897 or 1898.





British Maps of Candia (Iraklion)

From their arrival in Crete in February 1897 until their departure in July 1909, British forces, of necessity, produced a number of formal, and informal, maps of Candia (Iraklion), the headquarters of the British Secteur of the island and main British base.

Royal Navy Survey. Candia, 1898.  Megalo Kastron or Candia.

From a Survey by Mr. W. T. Chapman, 2nd Master, R.N. under the direction of Captain T. Graves, R.N., H.M. Survey Ship ‘Beacon’ 1843, with additions from a survey by Commander T.A.B Spratt, R.N., H.M. Surveying Ship ‘Spitfire’ 1852. Additions and corrections to 1897. (Map issue dated 28th December 1897.)

Candia September 1898  General Plan of town of Kandia.

Produced by Sub. Lt. [G?] Nicholson R.N. as part of the report into the events of 6th September. 1898.


Candia Harbour. September 1898.

Plan showing positions occupied by landing party H.M.S. Hazard and HLI (Highland Light Infantry) at Kandia Sept 6th1898. Produced by Sub. Lt. [G?] Nicholson R.N. as part of the report into the riot of 6th September 1898

Fields of fire, Candia 1898.

1898 map showing parts of eastern side of Candia which could be covered by fire from European ships and infantry. Drawn by Lt. F.E. Rickman 2nd Batt. Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Dated 19th September 1898, the map was produced as part of the contingency planning for the bombardment of Ottoman forces in Candia should they have refused to obey the Powers ultimatum to evacuate Crete. In the event, the Ottoman troops left without the necessity of force being used.

Location of British troops. Candia September 1898

Map showing the location of British reinforcements sent to Candia after the riots of 6th September 1897.

British Military map. Candia 1905/1910.

Map of Candia 1903 showing location of British troops. (Wellcome Collection.)

Venetian walls of Candia/Iraklion.

Modern map of Venetian walls of Iraklion/Candia/Khandia.