John Pendlebury (Crete)

John Pendlebury was an archaeologist working on the excavation of Knossos in Crete. The following taken from Wikipedia at

Anticipating the coming war and strategic nature of Crete, Pendlebury succeeded in convincing the British military authorities of the value of his unique knowledge. They sent him back to England for military training, and in May 1940 he returned to Heraklion  as British Vice Consul, but his job title did not hide from most of the diplomatic community the nature of his duties. He immediately set-to working up his outline plans: improving the reconnaissance (routes, hiding places, water sources and chiefly sounding out the local clan chiefs. In October, on Italy’s attempted invasion of Greece, Pendlebury became liaison officer between British troops and Cretan military authority.

By the time Germany had occupied mainland Greece in April 1941 Pendlebury had laid his plans, unfortunately they could not include the Cretan division of the Greek army which was captured on the mainland. The invasion of Crete started on 20 May 1941, Pendlebury was in the Heraklion area where it started with heavy bombing followed by troops dropped by parachute. The enemy forced an entry into Heraklion but were driven out by regular Greek and British troops and by islanders now armed with assorted weapons.

On 21 May 1941, when German troops took over Heraklion, Pendlebury slipped away with his Cretan friends heading for Krousonas which was some 15 km to the southwest. They had the intention of launching a counterattack, but on the way there Pendlebury left the vehicle to open fire on some German troops, who fired back. Some Stukas came over and Pendlebury was shot in the chest. Pendlebury was taken to a nearby cottage and he was laid on a bed. The cottage was overrun and a German doctor treated him chivalrously, dressing his wounds; he was later given an injection.

The next day Pendlebury had been changed into a clean shirt. The Germans were setting up a gun position nearby and a fresh party of paratroopers came by. They found Pendlebury who had lost his identity discs and was wearing a Greek shirt. As he was out of uniform and could not prove that he was a soldier, he was put against a wall outside the cottage and shot through the head and the body.

He was buried nearby, later being reburied 1 km outside the western gate of Heraklion. He now lies in the cemetery (Grave reference 10.E.13) at Souda Bay maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission