Served in Crete (WIA and POW); escaped from Greek hospital by boat being adrift 9 days before rescue.

This officer was captured in Crete he was badly wounded and was flown to Athens where he was put into a P/W Hospital.

He remained in hospital for several weeks during which time he, and several other British prisoners of war, tried to escape on numerous occasions some being successful.

Eventually Lt Farran, his wound being nearly healed, managed to escape by crawling under the wire surrounding the hospital ground. He made a dash for some houses which he reached and lay low until he recovered from the effects of the escape, his wound giving him some trouble. He was helped and aided by some Greek peasants who, at great personal risk, passed him from house to house until he was some distance away from the P/W Hospital. There was a considerable hue and cry as he was the first wounded officer to escape from the hospital.

After running considerable risk, Lt Farran reached Athens. He remained in Athens for several weeks in the hopes of contacted a British submarine that the Greeks told him would be calling to rescue escapees. This, however, turned out to be a myth and, eventually, with the help of money supplied by friendly Greeks, a caique was hired and Lt Farran had a party of escapees left of Egypt.

Lt Farran was the senior officer on board, the escapees consisting of a mixed group of British, New Zealanders, Australians, Palestinian Cypriots and Greeks. After a short time at sea, it was discovered that food and water were running short. Lt Farran took charge of rationing and, with the aid of Lt Sinclair and SSgt Wright maintained some degree of order and organisation amid highly difficult circumstances.

The Greeks mutinied and finally stole the remaining food. The boat encountered severe storms and for forty-eight hours was blown out of its course. The two officers maintained a permanent guard on the diminishing water supply, Lt Farran on one occasion being to to lay one man out who went temporarily off his head through lack of water. The engine gave out, the escapees were too weak to paddle.

Lt Farran rigged a small sail made of two blankets and slow progress was made. Water was now non-existent. The party’s lives were saved by SSgt Wright who made an elementary distiller extract drinking water from sea water.

Lt Farran experienced great difficulty in maintaining morale, but when some forty miles out of Alexandria they were sighted by a destroyer and picked up.

Throughout Lt Farran showed great determination and leadership under most trying circumstances, and it is largely due to his perseverance that this party eventually reached safety.

ADC to GOC 7th Armd. Div.,
Maj.-Gen. Jo Campbell, V.C., D.S.O., Jan. 1942

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 3rd Hussars
  2. The award of The Distinguished Service Order
  3. The award of The Military Cross
  4. The award of a 2nd Bar to The Military Cross