Young Tassos was born into an uncertain world. As he grew up the outside world started to impact on Corfu and the peace of Kalami bay. Between 1914 and 1918, World War One raged across Northern Europe. In 1915, Corfu was occupied by the Italians before they were expelled by the French.
An almost forgotten part of this conflict is Serbia’s great ordeal, which began on September 16, 1915, when Kaiser Wilhelm I issued the order for the Imperial German army to crush Serbian resistance. A general assault followed in the first week of October, forcing a retreat to allied-held territory. The only exit route was the island of Corfu, and that meant crossing through the mountains Albania in the depth of winter. The Serbian government and military sheltered in exile on Corfu, based on the small island of Vidos. The beleaguered troops suffered from hunger and a devasting epidemic swept through the encampment leaving over 200,000 dead. The Atheneos family would have seen the Serbian ships passing Kalami Bay via the Corfu channel.
Meanwhile in India, another family was growing - a family who would go on to make The White House, and Corfu, famous around the world. The Anglo-Indian family of Lawrence Samuel Durrell and his wife, Louisa, moved around India according to Samuel’s railway engineering projects. They first had a son, Lawrence in 1912. Leslie was born in 1917, Margo in 1920, followed by Gerald, born in 1925. Two of the brothers from this family would become famous in their own lifetimes. Lawrence Durrell was a literary phenomenon in the post war years and his younger brother Gerald also went on to write succesfully, as well as earn fame as a conservationist. Tragically, Lawrence Samuel Durrell died in 1928, after a short illness. In a short space of time, Louisa and her children left for England, a distant country in which they had never lived.