Greece Bicycle Tours – Revisiting ‘Vasili the Lion of Crete’
My first boss in 1965 was Neville Perkins of Christchurch who is now 85 years old. Before coming to bike in Crete I went to see him to talk about his brother Dudley who was famous for surviving being left behind in the evacuation during WWII in May -1941. He made it to Egypt in June 1943 and returned via tripiti in August 1943 to lead 100 resistance fighters in the white mountains centred on the village of Koustoyerako until he was killed February 1944. I told Neville I would visit and take photos back to New Zealand. From the ferry at kaloyeros a taxi drove me into the isolated hill village and then onto our overnight stay at Paeochora. The village was tiny and in decline – with only elderly people and the centre of the village which was the coffee shop/taverna now closed and converted to a residence – there are memorials to the war heroes and to the villages of Moni, Livaidas, and Koustoyerako which were destroyed for the support they gave to NZ and Aussie soldiers.
The coincidence from hell was that when I opened the book ‘Vasili the Lion of Crete’ by Murray Elliott which was written about the exploits of Dudley Perkins and the resistance, the taxi driver who had virtually no English began pointing at the photos in the book very excited – his father, his uncle and a number of others – mostly now passed on. His father and uncle owned the coffee house in Koustoyerako and were the Cretian leaders of the resistance reporting to Perkins. He had never seen the book and I am unsure whether he knew the story. I gave him the book and hope that he has someone translate the sections about his father. This was a very memorable day for me – and I look forward to going through the photos with my friend Neville Perkins.
Reproduced with our sincere thanks to Mr Craig Boyce. Find out more about our