|Corporal Henry Moran with his copy of the Crete News. Ballarat. Photo Moran Family|
The Crete News was produced by the Allied forces on Crete as a news and information broadsheet for all Allied troops defending the Island. This single sheet, double sided newspaper would be the main source of news for the troops.
The Allied commander, the New Zealander General Freyberg, had ordered its production also as a counter defeatist rumours. It was often easier for troops and civilians to listen to German propaganda radio reports than to access the BBC.
On 7 May 1941, he appointed New Zealand Lieutenant G. S Cox - a former foreign correspondent who had worked on London dailies - to produce the paper. As the New Zealand official history records, Freyberg wanted the paper to be "as close as possible in format and content to the newspapers with which the troops were familiar in peacetime and which they associated with facts and respect for facts."
To produce the paper Cox assembled his journalist and printing crew - one Greek journalist (George Zamaryas from Chania), paper was obtained wih the support of Greek Crown Prince Peter, a Greek compositor called Alexei, two New Zealand soldiiers who had been jouralists before the war (Privates Barry Michael and A Membry), another New Zeland soldier who had been a compisotir and printer (Private Alec Taylor) and the proprietor of Chania's evening paper allowed them to use his printing press, paper and compositors. An English teacher from Chios - a Mr Graham - was brought in to teach the Kiwi's the rudiments of Greek.
The editorial office was set up in a room in "Fernleaf House", part of the New Zealand headquarters. The print shop was staffed by three locals - Niko and two young girls - neither of whom could speak or read English.
Stories were drawn from the BBC. The title banner was cut from a wood block. When it came to printing the first edition various problems emerged - the lack of the letter "W" which was solved using the Greek "omega", the printing proprietor had left for his kafenion (a Karatsos cafe) and the print run being interrupted by bombing raids.
By 2am, Wednesday 14 May, the first edtion was printed and available for distibution to ther troops.
Throughout the Crete campaign, four editions of the Crete News would be prpduced - under increasingly difficult circumstances. the lat edition was published on Saturday 24th May despite having to re-locate some of the production to a cave outside of Chania. As the final 600 copies of the last edition were removed from the printers, a German bomb hit the printing presses and destroyed the print shop. Only two copies of this final edition are know to have survived the war.
Some pages of the Crete News are reproduced below:
Source: New Zealand Official History of WW2 - Crete; Moran family
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
& Member, Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign Commemorative Council