Photographer's Note

Mr Fermor a british and a writer traveller
1916-2011 is dead yesteday .
this picture is a small tribute for this man and his books particulary Mani a travel to southern peloponese

He was born in London, the son of Sir Lewis Leigh Fermor, a distinguished geologist, and Muriel Aeyleen (née Ambler). Shortly after his birth, his mother and sister left to join his father in India, leaving the infant in England with a family in Northamptonshire and he did not meet his family until he was four. As a child, Leigh Fermor had problems with academic structure and limitations. As a result, he was sent to a school for "difficult children". He was later expelled from The King's School, Canterbury, when he was caught holding hands with a greengrocer's daughter. His last report from The King's School noted that the young Fermor was "a dangerous mixture of sophistication and recklessness. He continued learning by reading texts on Greek, Latin, Shakespeare and History, with the intention of entering the Royal Military College Sandhurst.
At the age of 18, Leigh Fermor decided to walk the length of Europe, from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. He set off on 8 December 1933, shortly after Hitler had come to power in Germany, with a few clothes, several letters of introduction, the Oxford Book of English Verse and a volume of Horace's Odes. He slept in barns and shepherds' huts, but also was invited by landed gentry and aristocracy into the country houses of Central Europe. He experienced hospitality in many a monastery along the way. Two of his later travel books, A Time of Gifts (1977) and Between the Woods and the Water (1986), were about this journey. Written decades later, they benefit from his scholarly learning, and give a wealth of historical, geographical, linguistic and anthropological information as the narrative proceeds.

Leigh Fermor arrived in Constantinople on 1 January 1935, then continued to travel around Greece. In March, he was involved in the campaign of royalist forces in Macedonia against an attempted Republican revolt. In Athens, he met Balasha Cantacuzène (Bălaşa Cantacuzino), a Romanian noblewoman, with whom he fell in love. They shared an old watermill outside the city looking out towards Poros, where she painted and he wrote. They moved on to Băleni, the Cantacuzène house in Moldavia, where they were living at the outbreak of World War II.
Leigh Fermor joined the Irish Guards, but due to his knowledge of modern Greek, he was commissioned in the General List and became a liaison officer in Albania. He fought in Crete and mainland Greece. During the German occupation, he returned to Crete three times, once by parachute.

He was one of a small number of Special Operations Executive (SOE) officers posted to organise the island's resistance to German occupation. Disguised as a shepherd and nicknamed Michalis or Filedem, he lived for over two years in the mountains. With Captain Bill Stanley Moss MC as his second in command, Leigh Fermor led the party that in 1944 captured and evacuated the German Commander, General Heinrich Kreipe.[6] The Cretans commemorate Kreipe's abduction near Archanes.

Moss featured the events in his book Ill Met by Moonlight: The Abduction of General Kreipe (1950). It was later adapted as a film by the same name, directed/produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and released in 1957. In the film, Leigh Fermor was portrayed by Dirk Bogarde.

In 1950, Leigh Fermor's published his first book, The Traveller's Tree, about his post-war travels in the Caribbean. The book won the Heinemann Foundation Prize for Literature and established his career path. He went on to write several further books of his journeys, including Mani and Roumeli, of his travels on mule and foot around remote parts of Greece. Critics and discerning readers regard his 1977 A Time of Gifts as one of the greatest travel books in the English language.

He translated the manuscript, The Cretan Runner, written by George Psychoundakis, the dispatch runner on Crete during the war. Leigh Fermor helped Psychoundakis get his work published. Leigh Fermor wrote a novel, The Violins of Saint-Jacques. It was adapted as an opera by Malcolm Williamson.

His friend Lawrence Durrell, in Bitter Lemons (1957), recounts how, during the outbreak of Cypriot insurgency against continued British rule in 1955, Leigh Fermor visited Durrell's villa in Bellapaix, Cyprus:

"After a splendid dinner by the fire he starts singing, songs of Crete, Athens, Macedonia. When I go out to refill the ouzo bottle...I find the street completely filled with people listening in utter silence and darkness. Everyone seems struck dumb. 'What is it?' I say, catching sight of Frangos. 'Never have I heard of Englishmen singing Greek songs like this!' Their reverent amazement is touching; it is as if they want to embrace Paddy wherever he goes.

Later years

The London Library's copy of Words of Mercury on location, chez P.M.L.F., 2007After many years together, Leigh Fermor was married in 1968 to the Hon. Joan Elizabeth Rayner, née Eyres Monsell, daughter of the 1st Viscount Monsell. She accompanied him on many of his travels until her death in Kardamyli in June 2003 aged 91. They had no children.[9] They lived part of the year in their house in an olive grove in the Mani Peninsula, southern Peloponnese, and part of the year in Worcestershire. In the 2004 New Years Honours Patrick Leigh Fermor was named a Knight Bachelor. In 2007, he said that, for the first time, he had decided to work using a typewriter - having written all his books longhand until then.

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