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Len Frazer
Μια δύσκολη Απόδραση/No Easy Escape

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The Australian testimony of officer
Len Frazer
Μια δύσκολη Απόδραση/No Easy Escape

The Australian testimony of officer
Len Frazer
Μια δύσκολη Απόδραση/No Easy Escape

17/05/2021

The Society of Cretan Historical Studies commemorates

the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Crete

The Australian testimony

of officer Len Frazer

Μια δύσκολη Απόδραση / No Easy Escape

Bilingual edition

FRIDAY, JUNE 20TH 1941 Locals bring supplies, bread, milk, cheese, eggs but Norm [Wiseman], Con [Curtain] & Kiwi decide to leave for coast, for Sougia to see Greek with boat if possible. I stay to meet another officer who Pop has gone to bring. Underclothes taken to be washed. Get a blanket & supplies, a sack of bread, eggs, misithra. Not happy & decide to leave next day.

The Society of Cretan Historical Studies is pleased to announce the new bilingual publication in the Testimonies series, Μια δύσκολη Απόδραση / No Easy Escape by Len Frazer. The 13th volume in the SCHS Testimonies series is based on the diary of Len Frazer, an officer in the Royal Australian Engineers, in which he describes his desperate efforts to evade capture, roaming around the interior of Crete for a year after the end of the Battle of Crete.

Lieutenant Len Frazer with members of 9 Section,
2/8 Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers,

prior to embarkation for overseas service, September 1940.

The tidal war of the Second World War was to sweep Len Frazer far away. When the German parachutists attacked Crete, he was in the northwest of the island, in the wider Chania area. The Australian officer took part in the torturous Allied retreat to the south coast, where he was trapped after the departure of the Royal Navy. After eventually escaping from Crete in 1942, he made his way back to Australia and served in New Guinea and Borneo. At the end of the war he returned to Australia, where he died in 1968.


Born in 1908 in a working-class district of Melbourne, Len Frazer lost his father at an early age in one of the bloodiest battles of the Western Front. Despite the difficult consequences of this loss, in the years that followed he managed to stand on his own two feet, making a career as a civil engineer and surveyor, and starting a family of his own.


The texts of the Diary are edited by Len’s son, social anthropologist Dr Ian Leonard Frazer, who is familiar to readers of the Testimonies as co-editor of the bilingual 7th volume in the series, James De Mole Carstairs, Απόδραση από την Κρήτη / Escape from Crete. His introduction links his father’s account to other narratives, such as that of George Psychoundakis, the famous “Cretan Runner”, who was one of Len’s guides on his way from Apokoronas to the Mesara, shedding light on the often fragmentary entries in the Diary.


The 13th volume in the Testimonies series was edited by Clare Mitsotaki, Irini Foukaraki and Costis Mamalakis. The Greek translation is by Rosemary Tzanaki and the typesetting by Sofia Giannadaki.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian newspaper cutting (July 1955) asking who was the Australian lieutenant known as Johnny, mentioned as travelling with George Psychoundakis, in a review of the latter’s book The Cretan Runner. This was, of course, Len Frazer, as his account No Easy Escape reveals.