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Fighter and historian Christopher Woodhouse dead at 83

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February 16, 2001 


LONDON-- (AP) - Christopher Woodhouse, who helped organize resistance forces in Nazi-occupied Greece and later wrote extensively about modern Greek history, has died. He was 83.

Woodhouse, who also served as a Conservative legislator, died Tuesday in Oxford, his family said. The cause of death was not announced.

Since his brother's death in 1998, Woodhouse had been known by the family title Lord Terrington.

Posted in wartime Athens as a member of the Royal Artillery, he helped organize the fractured Greek resistance after the country fell to German, Italian and Bulgarian forces in 1941.

He traveled the country, coordinating sabotage efforts and sometimes living in caves. In 1942, he helped plan and carry out one of Greece's most celebrated acts of resistance, the destruction of the Gorgopotamos viaduct, which carried the railway line from Thessaloniki to Athens.

A colonel by age 26, he received an OBE, or Order of the British Empire, and was honored by Greece as a Commander of the Order of the Phoenix.

The Athens-based Konstantinos Karamanlis Foundation called Woodhouse "a fighter on the side of Greek fighters at a crucial time in the war, a politician faithful to the principle of freedom and democracy, a tireless scholar and distinguished writer."

Woodhouse had studied at New College, Oxford University before the war and originally planned to pursue an academic career, but when he returned to Britain he entered the diplomatic service instead.

After postings in Greece and Iran, he left diplomacy and wrote a number of well-received books on Greek history. In "The Struggle for Greece, 1941-1949," published in 1976, Woodhouse drew on his own experiences to chronicle the defeat of the Greek communists in the civil war.

His other books included "Karamanlis: The Restorer of Greek Democracy" in 1982, "The Rise and Fall of the Greek Colonels" in 1985 and "The Philhellenes" in 1971. His autobiography, "Something Ventured," was published in 1982.

Woodhouse represented Oxford in the House of Commons from 1959 to 1966 and again from 1970 to 1974. He was chief editor of Penguin Books in 1960, held a variety of positions in the government, and taught modern Greek as a visiting professor at Kings College in London from 1978-1988.

Woodhouse's wife, Lady Davina, died in 1995. He is survived by a daughter and two sons.

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