The Alf Page

In memory of Alfred Hey
25 April 1921 ~ 2 June 2014

Alf

The ALF page is mostly about Alf. Well, what did you expect? Alf was an honoured guest at the White Lady. Having fought in the Battle of Crete in 1941, he later returned to Crete, found the White Lady and became a firm favourite of everybody here.

Although this page tells Alf's story, it is dedicated to all those ordinary people who gave their lives in the Battle of Crete, ordinary people who, for one reason or another, found themselves caught up in a war, a war not of their choosing, but a war through which they were forced to struggle for survival and for which many paid the ultimate sacrifice. We will remember them.

Alf's story

RA Cap Badge

Alf's first visit to our island of Crete was in 1941 as a 19-year-old gunner with 234 89th H.A.A. Regiment of the Royal Artillery. Alf was wounded in action near Galatas (in the hills above Chania); Alf was one of only seven survivors from his troop. He very soon found himself a POW in Chania. Later he was transferred to the notorious "Hell Camp" (the former Pavlo Mela army camp) in Thessaloniki. From here he was transferred to the infamous Lamsdorf (Stalag VIII-B) prison camp just inside modern day Poland. In January 1945, as the Russians were approaching, Alf found himself part of the "Long March" walking in freezing temperatures (as low as -25oC) for about 1,000 miles towards the west. After about four months marching the group that Alf was with were liberated by American forces and Alf eventually returned to 'civvy' street.

For more information on the Battle of Crete and Alf's experiences see the References section below.

Alf's second visit to Crete was amore pleasant experience: he came for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Crete in 1991. Whilst here he discovered the White Lady Taverna and we found a great friend. Through Alf's many return visits for the Battle of Crete anniversaries We were honoured to meet many veterans and we started our own Battle of Crete commemorative nights.

Alf presents to Yiannis & Antonia
White Lady presents the Greek flag to Alf

During one of Alf's visits when he came to the White Lady and met Yiannis and Antonia he was so impressed by the welcome (Filoxenia) that he received that he presented the White Lady with a commemorative plaque which now hangs in the taverna on the "Alf Wall". Yiannis and Antonia presented Alf with a Greek flag. Alf then decided to move to Crete, and lived next door to Antonia's mum in Tsesmes for a number of years.

Royal Hospital Chelsea

In October 2005, Alf moved back to the UK to take a well deserved place as a Chelsea Pensioner where he remained for a number of years until eventually moving back to his son and daughter-in-law's house.

 

Alf Plaque1
The Plaque

In May 2007, Alf returned to Crete for the annual commemoration of the Battle of Crete and for the White Lady 20th Anniversary celebrations. During the final event of the celebrations Alf was presented with a commemorative plaque by Father Dimitrios (the parish priest of Tsesmes and Agia Triadha) on behalf of the White Lady.

 

 

Greek War Medal
Alf's Memorial

Alf sadly passed away on 2nd June 2014 at the grand age of 93. Antonia and Andreas represented the White Lady at his funeral. Alf bequeathed his Commemorative War Medal (awarded to him by the Greek government) to the White Lady. Some of Alf's ashes are in a specially built memorial garden next to the cemetary in Ano Meros (Yianni's village). Alf has a wonderful view across the Amari valley.

References

I had intended to write much more about the Battle of Crete when we decided to re-write the site, but there is a wealth of information already on the Internet and in books that I decided just to share with those who are interested a few references. So here they are (some of the books may be out of print, check on Amazon, etc):

"Until now, we knew that Greeks were fighting like heroes; from now on we shall say that the heroes fight like Greeks." - Winston Churchill, on the Battle of Crete.

"The Battle of Crete lasted 10 days. Crete fell, but never surrendered. There would be an 11th day... And they would pay." - Geórgios Tzíkas, fighter, Petrakogiórgis Resistance Group.

Compiled by the Webmaster