GLASGOW HERALD le 14 Mars 1996.
Alexander McLeod, Royal Naval Volunter Reserve, DSC; born Bearsden, March 25, 1920, died Aix-En-Provence, aged 75. He took part in the defence of Crete.
Alexander McLeod, who has died in the south of France, had a varied career which spanned wartime naval service en the Mediterranean and Aegean, years in the Diplomatic Service, and finally the post of European sales direcor for William Grant and Sons Ltd, the distillers. A man of great talent and vitality, he was an expert linguist and had lived for a decade on the Greek island of Rhodes until illhealt took him to Aix-en-Provence three years ago. Alexander McLeod was born in Bearsden in 1920 and, following a family tradition, became as a young child a burgess of the Incorporation of Gardeners. He was educated at Kelvinside Academy, and joined the RNVR HMS Clyde in 1939 on the outbreak of war, subsequently moving to the 10th MTB (motor torpedo boat) Flottilla wich was shipped on the decks of cargo vessels to the Mediterrenean. Here he took part in the defence and evacuation of Crete. When the Flottila's boat were destroyed by German bombing in May, 1941, Mcleod returned to Alexandria ta await replacements from America. Until their arrival the following February he was involed in a number of naval undertakings - including the Red Sea Patrol monted with schooners. These wooden ships were also suitable for searching for magnetic mines and he did a stint of minesweeping on the approaches to Alexandria. When the American PT boats arrived in 1942, McLeod became first lieutenant on MTB 264. One of its operations was to land Special Operations personnel and rescue others from German-occupied Crete in April that year. The folling month MTB 264 broke its back rescuing people from a hospital ship. Rommel's advance was getting close to Egypt by then, and the removal of the MTB's base to Beirut was overseen by McLeod. In 1943 the levant Schooner Flotilla was formed by Adrian Seligman with McLeod as was one of the founder members. Operating Greek or Turkish built caiques, they infiltrated Aegean islands held by the Germans, landing parties of commandos and SOE personnel. McLeod won the DSC helping to evacuate British troops from the island of Cos in October 1943. Therafter he took command of the 2nd Levant Schooner Flotilla and, as Comaro II, was responsible for co-ordinating all raiding operations in the northern Aegean. For his exploits he was entitled to wear the badge of Greek Sacred Squadron. After the war he took an MA at Cambridge University, and joined the Diplomatic Service at the end of 1947, serving in Peking in 1952. He also studied at Princeton in the post-war period. Joining William Grant and Sons in 1961, he remained with them until he retired in 1979. As Continental sales director he was largely based in Copenhagen but also bought a faemhouse in Rhodes and a yacht built in Buckie on the lines of a Scottish fishing boat. Fluent in German, French, Greek, and Swedish, the life-long bachelor had a passion for books. His own large and formally catalogued collection ranged from history books through naval and shipping materiel to Islamic texts (he also spoke Arabic) and many books in Greek and about Greece. Osteo-arthritis in last years brough him to France and he died in Aix-en-Provence. LESLEY DUNCAN
Caiques of the Levant Schooner Flotilla:
Photos tirées du livre "Dust Upon The Sea" by W.E. Benyon-Tinker
Alexander McLeod faisait parti de l'équipage!
Fils de James Brown McLeod et de Christina Mary Craig, né à Glasgow (Ecosse) le 25 mars1920 et décédé le 22 janvier 1996 à Aix-en-Provence.
Je l'ai rencontré sur l'île de Rhodes en Grèces. Son destin était étroitement lié au pays pour avoir été parachuté en Crète lors de la guerre 39-45. Il a atteri au sud de l'île pour la libérer de l'occupation Nazi. Les grecs l'ont très bien acceuilli (et lui préservaient du fromage caché dans le fumier)....Une fois que cette première mission fut réalisée, il embarca en tant que commandant sur un lance torpille à Souda (Crète), qui à peine sortit du port a explosé pour avoir heurté une mine sous-marine. Les embarcations qui ont suivies été plutôt typique, barque de pêche convertit en flotte marine de guerre. C'était leurs seule chance de ne pas être repérés. Le film "les canons de navaronne" illustre bien l'exemple. Il est arrivé d'armer trop fort la barque pour qu'au premier coup de canon tout chavire! Rhodes fut son point de chute en fin de guerre, il tomba amoureux du lieux, qui plus été un endroit stratégique de la migration des oiseaux, sa grande passion. Il acheta un morceau de terrain et partit en mission pour les services secret britannique en Chine durant 3 ans, impossible de l'amener au restaurant asiatique après ça! Dans les années 60, il représentait le Whisky Grant à Copenhage, puis sa retraite commençait par l'acquisition d'un beau bateau écossai (photo à droite) de 18 mètres et la construction de sa villa à Rhodes. Il occupait ses journées à observer les oiseaux et naviguait entre les îles du Dodécanèse (Sud Grèce). Moi qui avait l'habitude du voilier, j'ai appris sur cette belle embarcation la navigation moteur d'unité plus importante (notre voilier faisait 10.70 mètres). Enfin des problèmes de santé l'ont poussé à vendre son navire et sa maison pour vivre ses derniers rêves, respirer l'aire de Marcel Pagnol, la Provence.