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The Book

My Unique Lifetime Association With Patrick Leigh Fermor

The German presence was still everywhere on the island of Crete in July 1942, when Helias Doundoulakis, a nineteen-year-old member of his brother George’s famed resistance movement, went to the bus station in Chania Porte to greet Patrick Leigh Fermor.

Known to the Greeks by his code name “Mihalis,” Leigh Fermor was scheduled to replace Captain Thomas Dunbabin of the Special Operations Executive (the “SOE”), the British equivalent of the United States’ Office of Strategic Services (the “OSS”).  “Churchill’s secret army,” the SOE,  was tasked with assisting local resistance movements in fighting the Axis powers, especially in sabotages of key Axis infrastructure. In short, Prime Minister Churchill ordered the SOE’s Director, Major General Colin Gubbins, to “set Europe ablaze.” 

In this exciting account, Helias Doundoulakis narrates the adventures that ensued after that momentous meeting.

The German presence was still everywhere on the island of Crete in July, 1942 when Helias, a nineteen-year-old member of his brother George’s famed resistance movement, went to the bus station in Chania Porte to greet Patrick Leigh Fermor (then known to the Greeks by his code name, “Mihalis”), who was scheduled to replace Captain Thomas Dunbabin of the Special Operations Executive (the “SOE”), the British equivalent of the United States Office of Strategic Services (the “OSS”), formed to assist local resistance movements fighting against the Axis powers.

Filled with a spirit of adventure, young Helias hardly knew what to expect of the new captain, and was stunned when he encountered the charismatic Leigh Fermor, whose carefree – often dangerous – approach to life excited and intrigued the boy. What followed was a unique lifetime friendship that surpassed both men’s expectations. Now, in his golden years, the author pays tribute to his memories of Leigh Fermor, and commemorates a time long gone, but never forgotten. Read this compelling account, and get to know two very remarkable figures and the heroes that supported the cause of freedom.