Tag Archives: Crete 1897

The Revolt of the Cretan Gendarmerie

On the face of it, any government seeking to control a troublesome population must first ensure the loyalty of those forces it will rely on to keep the population in check and ensuring that these forces actually get paid would probably, by most, be considered to be a priority. Unfortunately for the Ottoman authorities on Crete in March 1897, they had neither the money, nor possibly the will, to pay the ‘old’ gendarmerie, a paramilitary force of Albanians specifically recruited to serve on Crete to maintain law and order. (Lack of money may be accounted for in part by the actions of Djordje Berovich Pasha, the previous Vali, the Ottoman Governor-General of Crete, who on 14th February 1898 with the Cretan state in crisis after the landing of Greek troops, “…having paid himself and Christian followers out of the public chest the amount due to themselves as salaries, took refuge on board the Russian iron-clad “Nicholas I”, and subsequently fled to Trieste in the Austrian Lloyd’s steamer which left that evening.”[1])

Djordje Berovich Pasha, the runaway Vali.

Complaints of the inefficiency of the Albanian gendarmes had resulted in 1896, in the recruitment of a ‘new’ force of Montenegrin gendarmes, initially under the command of Major J. H. Bor, Royal Marine Artillery. With this intake  the ‘new’ gendarmerie consisted of three companies under the command of seven European officers; a total of 225 men made up of ninety six Albanians,  eighty Montenegrins, fifty Cretan Christians, forty eight of whom promptly deserted to the rebels when the insurrection broke out, and thirty Muslim Cretans.[2]

European Offices of the International Gendarmarie Commission. Major Bor  front row middle

Proposals to reform the gendarmerie in order to make it a more representative body consisting of Cretan Christians and Muslims, agreed as a part of the Halepa Pact in 1878 but never implemented, were also being discussed by 1897 and any such reform would undoubtedly have impacted particularly on the jobs of the ‘old’ gendarmerie; another possible cause of the Albanians’ discontent.

On the morning of 1st March 1897, Bor reported to the acting Vali that some forty men of the ‘old’ gendarmerie had refused to do their duty and were demanding that they receive their arrears of pay.[3]  A British reporter in Canea at that time, Ardern George Hulme–Beaman, stated in his diary that the dispute was the fault of ‘a few ruffians’ and that the arrears in question were some 18 months pay.[4] During that day Bor saw a number of the mutineers individually and tried to persuade them to return to work, promising that they would be paid. On two occasions that day he also went to the gendarmes barracks, in the company of Colonel Suleiman Bey, the Albanian commander of the gendarmes, to speak to the men en masse in an attempt to persuade them to resume their duties, but to no avail: On the latter occasion an altercation broke out between Suleiman Bey and one of the mutineers when Suleiman Bey pushed the man who was being insubordinate and talking excitedly; an altercation which came to an end when the mutineers grabbed their rifles and said ‘they would have no force used.’ [5] The mutineers also attempted to kidnap one of their own officers, Major Mehmeh Agha, who had to be rescued from the barracks by Major Craveri, an Italian officer serving in the gendarmerie.

The following morning, 2 March, Bor was summoned to meet the Admirals of the Great Powers and went to the Italian Battleship ‘Stromboli’ to do so.  In his report to the Governor-General, Bor states that the Admirals approved his suggestion that, there being rumours of the mutineers intending to commit acts of violence in furtherance of their pay dispute, the gendarmes be disarmed at bayonet point by troops from the Great Powers. Accordingly Bor returned to the gendarmes barracks accompanied by a force of Italian and Russian sailors under the command of the Italian Captain Amoretti. On reaching the barracks Bor first went inside, accompanied by  Hulme–Beaman, and attempted once more to persuade the mutineers to return to work, promising them three months pay at once if they returned to their duty. This offer was refused.

Bor and Colonel Sulieman Bey then went outside and only at this point did Bor inform Suleiman Bey of the plan to disarm his men. Having collected the International troops Bor and Suleiman Bey then re- entered the barracks, Bor going with one file of men to the refectory on the left hand side of the door, Suleiman Bey with his troops going to the one on the right. According to Bor’s account, three shots were fired at them almost immediately on their entering and the foreign sailors immediately returned fire from outside the doors. The gunfire continued for about a minute until the gendarmes retreated from the room and called out their surrender. The gendarmes, having suffered five wounded, one of whom later died, were then taken out of the barracks one by one and disarmed, this presumably being done by gendarmerie offices since Bor states that the foreign sailors did not enter the building.  One Italian seaman was wounded but probably the most significant loss was the death of Colonel Suleiman Bey who was fatally wounded during the shooting and who died half an hour after.

Supression of Gendarmes’ mutiny. Illustrated London News 20 March 1897 Mutinous gendarmes

Suppression of Gendarmes’ mutiny. Soliel du Dimanche. 4 April 1897.

Suppression of Gendarmes’ mutiny. La Tribuna Illustrata Della Domenica. 14 March 1897.

Bor concluded his report by stating that in spite of the failure of the original plan to disarm the mutineers at bayonet point, the cause of the shooting was the mutineers firing on the foreign troops and he was happy with the arrangements made by the Italian and Russian officers.[6] Hulme-Beaman’s account gives a slightly different version of events. According to him, Major Craveri, described by Hulme-Beaman as Lieutenant Craveri,[7] lead the Italian sailors into the first room and there grabbed one of the mutineers standing guard by the door. At this another mutineer fired at Craveri where upon the hence Italian sailors returned fire. Hulme-Beaman alleges that the Italians, owing to”… the natural excitability of the Italian character” were the only foreign troops to open fire, the “…more phlegmatic Russians” not doing so since their orders were to use their bayonets only. Hulme-Beaman’s disdain for the Italians’ actions is further shown when he states: “…I scarcely need to say however that we did not get the Iron Cross for Valour awarded by King Humbert to several others who, I believe, were never inside the [barracks].”[8]

The mutiny signalled the end of the Ottoman gendarmerie on Crete and within days the existing gendarmerie, both “new” and “old”, were disbanded; the British Foreign Secretary George Curzon reporting to the House of Commons: “We understand that the Gendarmerie Commission, consisting of English, French, and Italian members, paid off the new Gendarmerie on the 11th instant. There still remain in Canea the Mussulman Gendarmes of the old organisation, numbering 49 officers and 535 men.”[9]

The majority of the mutineers were exiled from Crete but not before being harangued by Major Bor!

Major Bor haranguing captured mutineers prior to their removal from Crete. Illustrated London News, 20th March 1897.

Their place was initially taken by four separate bodies, one for each of the sectors of European rule, until in 1899, Crete by now being an Autonomous State within the Ottoman Empire, the High Commissioner, Prince George, ordered a further reorganisation. The four bodies were subsequently merged into one modelled on the Italian Carabinieri and commanded by Major Craveri.

 

 

 

[1] Rear Admiral Harris to Admiralty 24 February 1897. House of Commons Papers. [C.8429] Turkey. No. 9 (1897). Reports on the situation in Crete. p.2

[2] Rodogno D. (2012) Against Massacre: Humanitarian Interventions in the Ottoman Empire, 1815-1914. Princeton University Press. F.N. 37. Chapter 9. p.331.

[3] Colonel Bor to the Governor –General of Crete 3 March 1897. In inclosure No.3 Captain Custance to Rear Admiral Harris.  House of Commons Papers. [C.8429] Turkey. No. 9 (1897). Reports on the situation in Crete. p.12.

[4] Hulme-Beaman.A.G. (1898) Twenty Years In The Near East. Metheun. London. p.258.

[5] Colonel Bor to the Governor –General of Crete 3 March 1897. In inclosure No.3 Captain Custance to Rear Admiral Harris.  House of Commons Papers. [C.8429] Turkey. No. 9 (1897). Reports on the situation in Crete. p.12.

[6] Ibid.p.13

[7] This is not the first instance of Hulm-Beaman ‘demoting’ an officer. Throughout his account, he refers to Colonel Bor as Major Bor; the latter being his substantive British rank, the former his rank within the gendarmerie.

[8] Hulme-Beaman.A.G. (1898) Twenty Years In The Near East. Metheun. London. pp.260-262.

[9] House of Commons Debate. Hansard 16 March 1897 vol 47 cc764-8

 

Advertisements

Kastelli Kissamos

While European forces concentrated on the major towns on the northern coast of Crete, in the early stages of the Intervention the smaller town of Kastelli Kissamos, on the north western coast of Crete, was occupied by Ottoman forces. Partially because of the presence of smallpox in the town[1], the European role appears to have consisted of providing naval support for the Ottoman garrison.

In March 1897 H.M.S. Rodney, under Austro-Hungarian command, the Austro-Hungarians still being part of the concert at this stage and responsible for naval activity around the western side of the island, became involved in discouraging Cretan Christians attacking the Ottoman garrison of the town. On 29th March 1897, the Captain of H.M.S. Rodney, W. Hewitt, reported to Admiral Harris that on the 28th after firing two rounds blank from her 6 pounder, the Rodney opened fire on Cretan Christian insurgents attempting to mine the walls of Kastelli Kissamos. In total some 13 rounds were fired at a distance of 2100 yards, with Rodney’s steam pinnace contributing a further four rounds from her 2 pounder gun.

Over the following day two days, landing parties consisting of 200 British sailors and marines and 130 Austro-Hungarians went ashore to pull down the house near the Ottoman fortifications.[2] The accompanying text to the illustration below, taken from the Graphic of 24 April 1897, states that three houses were demolished to prevent their use by the insurgents.

Demolition of houses in Kastelli Kissamos.

A month later, on 9th April, the Royal navy was again in action off Kissamos. In company with, and under the command of S.M.S. Sebenico, H.M.S. Fearless, a Scout Class Torpedo Cruiser captained by Commander Charles E. Gladstone, was involved in evacuating women and children from the Ottoman fort when their boats were fired on by insurgents. Both the Austro-Hungarian and the British ships opened fire to cover the embarkation. Over the next few days two Ottoman blockhouses were evacuated and one set on fire to destroy it, the other apparently had nothing flammable in it.  It was then decided to destroy the blockhouses by naval gunfire.

“All ships present opened fire on the east block-house, distant 3,800 yards, and expended a considerable amount of ammunition. The result was that the walls were knocked down to a certain extent, but the ruins remain just as effective as a protection for riflemen as they were before, and it would be an impossible task to level the building to the ground by gunfire.” [3]

H.M.S. Fearless.

[1] National Archive. ADM 116/88. Enclosure 142. Rear Admiral Harris to Admiralty. 6th April 1897.

[2] National Archive. ADM 116/92. Enclosure 146.6. Captain W. Hewitt to Rear Admiral Harris. 29th March 1897.

[3] National Archive. ADM 116/92. Enclosure 185. Commander Gladstone to Rear Admiral Harris. 14th April 1897.

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.

 

 

 

 

Mapping Canea, Sitia and Retimo

Although the principal location for British troops was Candia (Iraklion), there was also a small detachment kept in Canea to be part of the Four Powers Occupation force of the city, then the capital of Crete. Shown below are British military produced maps of Canea, Sitia and Retimo (Rethymno).

Admiralty map of Canea and surround showing locations of Cretan Christian insurgents. March 1897.

Seaforth Highlanders’ camp, Halepa. Map drawn by Lt & Q.M. G.W. Anderson 1 Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, 8th September 1897.

War Office map of Canea. 1905.

Admiralty map of Canea. 1897 survey

Admiralty map of Canea, 1897 survey – detail.

War Office map Sitia, 1910.

War Office map of Retimo. 1905 survey updated 1909.

 

Montenegrin Gendarmes on Crete.

As a part of the August Agreements of 1896, designed to bring an end to the outbreak of fighting on the island, it was agreed by the Porte that the Cretan gendarmerie required to be re-organised. “The native Cretan [Muslim] gendarmerie had such a want of discipline, such partiality and had given such unsatisfactory results, that the Turkish War Minister was in favour of all gendarmes being non-Cretan. The Turkish views in this direction had indeed been previously illustrated by the importation of a large Albanian contingent, undisciplined, and recruited without care as to character and antecedents, and subsequently left without pay or training.”[1]

To this end a European Commission was set up consisting of Commissioners from Britain, France, Italy and Russia; the British delegate being Colonel Herbert Chermside. Under the terms of the August Agreements, a condition of its organisation was that two thirds of the force had to be Christian, and the Commission accepted as a starting point that the gendarmerie was to be an armed body. Given that no Ottoman Christians had undergone military training, in January 1897 the Commission proposed recruiting of a number of trained men as gendarmes from neighbouring states and countries such as Montenegro, Bosnia, Greek speaking areas of Bulgaria and Cyprus. While there appears to have been some disagreement, or at least debate, over the proportion of the force that could or should be composed of aliens to Crete, it was recognised that: “… ‘[t]he desire to utilize, as far as possible, and to discipline the Cretan element [of the gendarmerie] met with little favour as a practical measure…” Consequently, while “…admit[ting] the eventual contingency of a purely Cretan force, […] for the actual inception of the organization, the full proportion of aliens was adopted.. “[2]

Command of the new gendarmerie was eventually given to the British officer Major Bor, RMA, although not without opposition from both the Porte and the Russian government, and recruiting commenced.

International Officers of ‘New’ Gendarmerie. Montenegrin Officers marked in red.

The initial intake to the ‘new’ gendarmerie consisted of three companies under the command of seven European officers; a total of 225 men made up of 96 Albanians, 80 Montenegrins and 30 Muslim Cretans. Also recruited were some 50 Cretan Christians – 48 of whom promptly deserted to the Cretan Christian rebels when the insurrection broke out in late February.[3]

The usefulness of the Montenegrin contingent was also open to question. On February 13th, with Canea rapidly being surrounded by Cretan Christian insurgents and a Greek flotilla under Prince George having arrived off Canea the previous day, the Vali (Governor) Berovic Pasa, fled to the safety of the Russian Ironclad. He remained on board the Russian ship for 24 hours before taking the Austro-Hungarian Lloyds steamer to Trieste on 15th February; along with the treasury. However, the Vali was not alone in boarding the Russian ship. On February 19th 1897, The Times reported:

“Among the many strange occurrences of the last few days is the sudden disappearance of the Montenegrin company of gendarmes. The conduct of the late Vali in transferring them on board the Russian warships seems inexplicable, unless it is to be assumed that a previous understanding existed between him and the Russian Government. His Excellency had appropriated the Montenegrin corps – a remarkably fine set of men – as his bodyguard immediately on their arrival, apparently distrusting both the Turkish troops and the Cretan gendarmes. Up to the moment of his departure they were employed exclusively in guarding his residence at Halepa, which he rarely quitted after the outbreak of the disturbances. In reply to Colonel Bor’s demand that the men should be sent ashore, the Russian Admiral stated that he had telegraphed to the Prince of Montenegro asking whether it was His Highness’ pleasure that they should remain in Crete. For five days the men were detained on board, notwithstanding an order sent by Colonel Bor to their captain to bring them ashore immediately. On Tuesday the Russian Ambassador in Constantinople telegraphed that they might be landed if they wished and if their services were desired. Nevertheless, they were detained until late in the afternoon, when they were allowed to land. It appears the authorities neglected to swear in the men on their arrival, so technically they were not amendable to discipline.”[4]

Russian troops and Montenegrin gendarmes in Rethymno.

Montenegrin gendarmes.

International Officers, including Montenegrins. Picture taken before November 1898.

The gendarme seated in the front row bears a passing resemblance to Mašan Božović, who is described, albeit on Wikipedia, as:  “… participat[ing] in the leadership of the Montenegrin Detachment in Crete as part of the international peacekeeping troops on that island.”

Montenegrin gendarme on Crete. Mašan Božović

By early March 1897, it was apparent that the lack of local Christian recruits into the new body, the unreliability of the Montenegrin contingent and the lack of finance from the Porte to pay for the existing gendarmerie, let alone the ‘new’ gendarmerie, had put the whole re-organisation into jeopardy. Matters were further complicated when, on 1st March 1897, the ‘old’ gendarmerie went on strike over them not being paid for 18 months or so. The mutiny was eventually put down by Major Bor with the assistance of a detachment of Italian and Russian sailors; although not without loss of life.[5]

With European sailors and marines now landed at the major towns on Crete, the Powers were no longer prepared to carry the financial and organisational burdens of maintaining the ‘new’ gendarmerie and on 7th March 1897 the British Ambassador in Constantinople, Sir Philip Currie,  instructed Chermside “…that the officers and men of the new Cretan gendarmerie should be paid off and discharged, and that the Gendarmerie Commission, with the assistance of the Consuls, should do this with the least possible delay.” [6] On 9th March,  Major Bor tendered his resignation to the new Vali.[7]

That day, 9th March, Currie reported to the British Foreign Minister Lord Salisbury that the European Gendarmerie Commission propose to leave Crete and return to Constantinople, arrangements being made to pay off the new gendarmerie:

“Officers will receive three months’ pay and the Montenegrin soldier’s one month’s as an indemnity, in addition to pay for the last month, and the cost of their journey home…. the old Mussleman gendarmerie, consisting of 49 officers and 535 men, still exists.”[8]

On 13th March Col. Chermside reported to Constantinople that the 9th the ‘new’ gendarmerie had been paid up to the 12th March, being discharged the following day. He further reported that:

“Of the new gendarmerie, 4 Italian officers of the carabinieri are placed at the disposal of the Italian “Commandant de Place” of Canea, and also 2 Montenegrin officers and 83 men, now in Russian pay. Even had the latter been at once repatriated it would, in Major Bor’s opinion, have been quite possible, as a temporary measure, to undertake their duties which are exclusively those of guard and patrol, by men of the force of the international squadron already ashore.”

In the same report, Chermside goes on to make it clear why the new gendarmerie was disbanded when he states:

” Of the 2,700L in the safe of the 3 per. Cent Customs Surtax Fund, over 1500L were required for the [paying off]; it is therefore evident that under existing arrangements the force enrolled could not have been further developed, nor even have been much longer maintained.”[9]

Montenegrin gendarmes appear to have been employed by the Italians in Canea as late as April/May 1897, during the 30-Day War. Illustrations in several London magazines show what was presumably the same incident; the disarming of Bashi-Bazouks by a Montenegrin gendarme in the company of Italian Marines.

The Occupation of Crete, Disarming Bashi-Bazouks at the Gate of Canea after the Fight at Akrotiri

Montenegrin gendarme disarming Bashi Bazouk.

A photograph supposedly showing Montenegrin gendarmes in the company of British and European troops, was also taken around March/April/May 1897 – dated from the arrival of Seaforth Highlanders on 24th March.

International forces, Canea, April 1897. Possible Montenegrin gendarmes marked.

The British records concerning the Montenegrin gendarmes then go quiet for some time and it might be assumed that they continued in the Service of the Russian Consul. The final appearance in British records occurs over a year later, on 26th April 1898, when there was an allegation of “… an attack by French soldiers and Montenegrin gendarmes on a Turkish soldier near Canea…”[10] In reality, the attack turned out to have been made by an Ottoman soldier upon two French soldiers; the Montenegrins attempting to break up the disturbance and arrest the Ottoman.[11]

Acknowledgement: Many thanks to Mark Ivanovic for reminding me, in a comment on a previous post,  of the presence of Montenegrin gendarmes on Crete.

References.

[1] House of Commons Command Paper. 1897 [C.8398] [C.8437] Turkey. No. 8 (1897). Further correspondence respecting the affairs of Crete. [In continuation of ”Turkey no. 7 (1896):” c.–8193.] Inclosure 1 in No. 341. Chermside to Currie, 13th March 1897.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Rodogno D. (2012) Against Massacre: Humanitarian Interventions in the Ottoman Empire, 1815-1914. Princeton University Press. F.N. 37. Chapter 9. p.331.

[4] http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NOT18970401.2.22 THE STATE OF CRETE., North Otago Times, Volume XXVI, Issue 8865, 1 April 1897. Reprint of The Times report dated February 19th1897.

[5] http://mickmctiernan.com/history/gendarmarie-mutiny-crete/

[6]House of Commons Command Paper. 1897 [C.8398] [C.8437] Turkey. No. 8 (1897). Further correspondence respecting the affairs of Crete. [In continuation of ”Turkey no. 7 (1896):” c.–8193.]  No. 248. Currie to Chermside, 7th March 1897.

[7] Ibid. No. 255. Currie to Salisbury, 9th March 1897.

[8] Ibid. No. 256. Currie to Salisbury, 9th March 1897.

[9] Ibid. Inclosure 1 in No.341. Chermside to Currie, 13th March 1897.

[10] House of Commons Command paper. 1899 [C.9084] [C.9085] [C.9086] Turkey. No. 5 (1898). Further correspondence respecting the affairs of Crete. [In continuation of ”Turkey no. 3 (1898):” c. 8853.] No. 197. Sir P. Currie to Salisbury, 26th April 1897.

[11] Ibid. Incl. 1 & 2 in No. 210. Admiralty to Foreign Office, 6th May 1898.

 

Italian Artillery.

 

The forces of the Powers landed in Crete in 1897 included not only marines and infantry, but a number of artillery units.  These consisted, in the initial stages of the Intervention, of ‘mountain guns’, small artillery pieces that could be easily dismantled and carried on the backs of mules or horses. The British contingent consisted of six guns from No 4 Mountain Battery, Royal Artillery, stationed in Candia, supplemented by a number of small naval guns, several of which were landed at Canea.

Photographic and pictorial evidence suggests that the Italian artillery contingent initially appeared to consist of at least four mountain guns.

Italian battery embarking from Naples en-route to Crete.

While the initial positioning of European troops, prior to the withdrawal of the German and Austro-Hungarian forces in 1898, called for the Italians to be based in Irapetra on the south coast of the island, the mountain artillery appears to have been located for the most part on the north of Crete, around Canea. This was in response to the threat to the town from Greek forces under Colonel Vassos and their Cretan Christian allies.

Italian troops with mountain guns, on parade in Canea

Italian battery in Canea, 1897.

Italian battery in Halepa, 1897.

Italian battery in Halepa, 1897.

As a consequence of the threat from the Greeks and Christians, two Italian guns were apparently stationed  at Fort Subashi, the fortress protecting the main water supply to Canea; these were joined at some stage by guns landed from H.M.S. Anson.

Italian guns at Fort Subashi. 1897.

Around the same time as the posting to Fort Subashi, April 1897, two Italian guns were stationed on the Akrotiri peninsula. These guns were under the command of Captain G.E. Egerton, Seaforth Highlanders. In spite of photographic evidence which would seem to suggest the Italians and the Highlanders got on well on at least one occasion, Egerton recorded that he  ‘…did not trust the Italians a yard …[although they] are 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.’

It also appears that the Italian artillery was used to protect the western approach to Suda Bay, the main deep water port on Crete and base for the Powers’ navel forces.

Italian Gun, Suda Bay April 1897

In addition to the mountain guns in and around Canea, the Italian force in Irapetra clearly also had some artillery support.

1st battery, 36th Italian infantry in review in redoubt in Irapetra, 1897.

 

 

 

Whatever happens, we have got, the Maxim gun, and they have not.*

The British battalions landing in Crete in 1897/1898 were normally equipped with two Maxim guns. Unlike later machine guns, these Maxims, the forerunners of the Vickers machine gun, were mounted on wheeled carriages. While they outclassed and out gunned anything that the Cretan Christian Insurgents had available, they were relatively difficult to move and, as the Northumberland Fusiliers found to their cost in 1898 when they lost both of theirs, difficult to land in a rough sea from a small boat.

Royal Welsh Fusiliers’ Maxim guns, Candia c.1897

The guns shown here in Candia are those of the 2/Royal Welsh Fusiliers. While the photograph is undated, given the fact that the campsite is neat and tidy and the cannonballs are nicely painted, it was probably taken during the RWF’s first tour on Crete between April 1897 and August 1898. Their return in September 1898, after the Muslim riots, was to a much less formal campsite.

 

  • Hilaire Belloc,  ‘The Modern Traveller’  1898