An Aussie soldier’s account of life on the run in Crete is heading for bestseller status, with Escape from Crete, the 1941 war diary of Lieutenant James Carstairs, shortly to be made available in Australia.

Following the book’s launch at the Historical Museum of Crete in May as part of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Crete, scores of the bilingual publication are on their way from Greece, reflecting the high level of interest in the story of how a remarkable Victorian officer led a large group of Allied troops off Crete during World War II.

Published by the Society of Cretan Historical Studies in English and Greek, the bilingual book charts the exploits of Carstairs during the battle for Crete and later, how, after the Allied surrender he took to the mountains and was protected by civilians and the resistance.
Co-editor Michael Sweet told Neos Kosmos that since its launch, many enquiries from Australians wishing to get hold of a copy reflected the book’s popularity.

“It’s the only account that has ever been published, written by an Australian officer, of that extraordinary chapter in Greek and Australian history where a very special bond was forged. It’s a great adventure story and it sheds light on the profound relationships that were formed as well as giving fascinating details on day-to-day interactions.

“The diary is full of fascinating insights into that time when Anzac soldiers experienced such a profound connection with the people of Crete, who, at great risk to themselves, went out of their way to help them after the Nazi occupation.”

The diary can be ordered directly from the Historical Museum of Crete. Copies are likely to be available in Australia from July for approximately $30. For further details email [email protected]