In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews Nicholas Hammond, Venture into Greece. With the Guerillas 1943-1944. London: William Kimber, 1983. When the Second World War began, Nicholas Hammond already knew Greece well. As an archaeologist and classical historian he had been making an archaeological survey of northwestern Greece and southern Albania since 1930. He spoke modern Greek and "some Albanian," and when he was called up in May 1940, he was immediately sent to Athens after "some minimal training in the use of explosives." The Greek authorities refused him entry, wisely it seems, for Hammond's mission was to enter Albania secretly and instigate a rising against the Italians, and at this stage the Metaxas government was trying hard to behave like a neutral. Hammond returned to Greece with the British Expeditionary Force in March 1941, but not as an ordinary officer. He was attached to SOE, and his job was to train saboteurs and to distribute radio material for use in the likely event that Greece became occupied . After the defeat of the British and Greek forces in April, Hammond blew up the stores of cotton at the Lake Copáis Company and then had a very narrow escape to North Africa. In an article published in Balkan Studies in 1982 he has given a fascinating account of this period. Before returning to Greece by parachute on 20 February 1943, Hammond taught demolition to Greeks in Palestine, earning the nickname 'Captain Vamvakopyritis' (Captain Guncotton). Venture into Greece is an account of Hammond's second assignment in Greece, which lasted about one and a half years, from February 1943 until late August 1944. As he explains in the preface, the book was written in 1944 and 1945, almost entirely from memory, just after he had returned to England: "The views which I held then, in 1944, are given here unaltered , for they were part of the scene." In 1981 he added the Introduction and a chapter called "Retrospect," which shows, however, that his basic views had not changed in the meantime. In an appen247 248 Reviews dix Hammond gives the draft of the one signal which he took with him to England. The main part of the book is thus a personal and nearly contemporary account of Hammond's experiences, first as an independent British Liaison Officer (BLO) in Thessaly, and from May onwards as the chief BLO in Macedonia. He describes in detail his dealings with the local ELAS, then in its early stages, and the reasons for his gradual conviction that ELAS was completely dominated by the Greek Communist Party (the KKE). InJuIy 1943 Hammond went into Thessaloniki disguised as a Vlach peasant in order to contact the rightwing resistance group known as PAO. His Greek did not let him down, though the reader is allowed to share some pretty hairraising episodes. In the winter of 1943-44, the Allied Mission was reorganized, and Hammond was made the chief BLO with ELAS (a position parallel to that of Tom Barnes with Zervas' EDES) while Col. Woodhouse, the Commander of the Mission, toured Greece in his mobile HQ. In June 1944, when Woodhouse was ordered to report to London, Hammond took over his responsibilities. He was acting Commander of the Mission until he left Greece on 29 August 1944. Thus Hammond was in a senior position for most of his stay in Greece, and his book is of corresponding importance. On many issues or episodes in the history of the Allied Military Mission it provides new information or illuminating comment: the disagreement among British officers about the nature of ELAS, the problems of providing relief for the destitute villagers, the outbreak and the course of the civil war between ELAS and EDES are some examples. Another is the unhappy affair of the ELAS attack in April 1944 against EKKA and the murder of Psaros, EKKA's leader. Here Hammond gives the interesting information that the local British Liaison Officer (Gordon-Creed) apparently agreed with ELAS in their charges against EKKA: "Our local Liaison Officer (in EKKA territory ) had become rather scornful of the EKKA rank and file, who were more and more preoccupied by their fears of ELAS and were concerned more with means...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 247-251
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.