Patrick Leigh Fermor in crete

Morris_11_14Jan Morris at Literary Review:

In death as in life, Sir Patrick Michael Leigh Fermor, DSO, etc., etc., marches epically on.

Paddy (as he is known to nearly one and all) left us three years ago, but since then he has been commemorated by majestic obituaries everywhere, a magnificent biography, a reconstructed final volume of his own masterpiece of travel writing, an eager book of travel that follows in his footsteps and a website largely dedicated to his memory. Now we have a book that specifically commemorates him not as an adolescent adventurer, or as a scholar-linguist, or as a gypsy-wanderer, or as a legendary hero, or even as the wonderful writer that he ultimately became, but as a soldier. Not so much as a regimental soldier – he would surely have been a curse to stickler adjutants – but as a born guerrilla, in a military métier that the British enthusiastically adopted in the Second World War.

When they found themselves outgunned, outnumbered and often outfought in that conflict, they threw, with Churchill's keen support, many talents into the unconventional ranks of the Special Operation Executive, formed particularly to wage war behind the enemy lines. It was this cloudy outfit that in 1942 sent Captain Leigh Fermor as an undercover operative into German-occupied Crete.

more here.