Charlie Jager was a romantic who read Homer and carried a revolver, Ben Travers a teenage larrikin who played cards and rolled his own. They were mates whose friendship had been forged in the North African battlefields, and were now pitted against Hitler’s crack paratroops in the Battle of Crete. The two young Australians were among thousands of Allied troops captured after ferocious fighting that ended in Germany’s most costly ‘ victory ‘ of World War II. But Jager and Travers rebelled : breaking through the barbed wire to take their chance in the mountains. Escape took daring – but they realised the real heroes were Greek villagers who risked death to hide them from the Germans and smuggle them to the mainland. There, they joined a band of other escaped prisoners, pirated a boat and defied theodds by sailing to North Africa. Charlie Jager knew he could never repay his saviours. But, a lifetime later, he can tell the story.