|ISLANDS A-Z||CRETE||CYCLADES||DODECANESE||EASTERN AEGEAN|
The Allied war cemetery at Souda in Crete
The Allied war cemetery is sited on the peninsula of Akrotiri. The war cemetery is located near Souda, the port of Chania. In May 1941, the Germans assaulted Crete by an airborne attack. Crete was considered to be an extremely strategic spot and the island was an important military base for the Allies. The Souda Bay was considered to be the best natural harbour in the Mediterranean.
The Germans landed thousands of soldiers from 20 to 31 May. The
defence of Crete was led by a New Zealander and included 32,000 men. Despite
the Allies' advantage, the Germans could conquer the whole of Crete. A
big loss for the Allies, an even bigger loss for Greece, especially for
the Cretans. Crete was not recaptured until the final stage of World War
A soldier of the 1939-1945 war.
There are one thousand five hundred and twenty seven exactly the same tombstones in the cemetery, many with names, others completely anonymous. On the anonymous headstones it is written: A soldier of the 1939-1945 war. The majority of the soldiers were very young, many were only in their twenties when they died.
You really get something to think about when you visit the cemetery: war is so meaningless. Of those buried here, 862 were from the United Kingdom, 446 from New Zealand, 197 from Australia, 9 from South Africa, 5 from Canada, 1 from India and 7 soldiers of unknown nationality.
The Allied war cemetery at Souda on the peninsula of Akrotiri.
The Germans have their own cemetery in Crete, near Maleme west of Chania. It was at the airfield in Maleme that the main attack began, the German paratroopers landed here.
If you want to become absorbed in the subject, there is an excellent book about Crete during the World War II, the book is called Crete: The Battle and the Resistance, written by Antony Beevor (who also wrote the books "Berlin: the Downfall 1945" and "Stalingrad"). I highly recommend the book.
Some of the 1,527 graves in The Allied war cemetery at Souda east of Chania in Crete.