A selection of letters, drawings and other archive items
A sample of items from the Leigh
Fermor archive at NLS.

Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor was regarded as one of the 20th century's most important travel writers.

He also organised one of the most daring feats of the Second World War, when he kidnapped the German garrison commander on Crete. His exploits made it to the big screen in the 1956 film 'Ill Met by Moonlight', starring Dirk Bogarde.

Now the National Library of Scotland has added Leigh Fermor's archive to the wealth of travel literature in the national collections.

Notebook from European trek

'Paddy', as he was known, wrote of his trek across Europe at age 18 in what is considered to be 'among the most beautiful travel books in the language'. One of the star items in his archive is the only surviving notebook from that year-long journey.

The archive also features literary manuscripts, photos, sketches, correspondence with leading figures of the day, such as the poet Sir John Betjeman. Other items include visitor books and honours Leigh Fermor was awarded.

A grant from the John R Murray Charitable Trust enabled NLS to buy what Manuscripts Curator David McClay describes as 'a fantastic collection'.

Read more in our press release about the Leigh Fermor archive.

13 August 2012