The Souda Bay Cemetery - the last resting place for those servicemen who died in the Battle for Crete

The Souda Bay Cemetery is about 5 km east of Chania on the west of the Island of Crete. It's in a beautiful, quiet location overlooking the sea and is the last resting place of the British Commonwealth war dead who lost their lives between May 20th and May 31st 1941, during the Battle for Crete.

There you'll find rows and rows of white headstones set in immaculate lawns and decorated with borders of flowers. Little pomegranate trees (the fruit of the underworld) are laid amongst the flowers and shrubs along each row.

At the seaward border of the Souda Bay Cemetery there are large bushes of rosemary (the herb of remembrance), all are significant symbols for the last resting place of so many who died in the Battle for Crete.

There are 1527 graves, mostly British, but with a large number of New Zealanders too (447), together with 197 Australians, and some other countries are also represented. Not all those buried here were identified and some headstones bear the legend Known only to God.

Visitors can sign a book with comments and feelings, and the entries are testament to the effect this moving place has on people who visit from all over the world. The visitor's book is housed in an enclosure near the entrance gate.

Please take some time to watch this moving video of images of Souda Bay War Cemetery and Crete, accompanied by haunting violin.



How to Get to the Souda Bay Cemetary

If you are driving from the airport take the main road to Chania and follow signs for Souda. You will start to descend a steep hill and eventually you'll see a sign for the cemetery on the left. Turn first right into a small parking area.

If you are driving from the direction of Heraklion look for the exit Souda Bay about 10 km from Chania. Take this road and you will pass the Naval Base on your right (don't stop and take pictures!). Once in town you'll see a set of traffic lights - turn right towards the port, and then left to follow the road along the harbour. Eventually you will come to a Y junction and you will see a large INKA Supermarket. Take the right fork at these lights and drive up the hill for a couple of kilometres. The cemetery is signposted on the right.

If you are driving from Chania Town, take the Souda Bay exit and then turn right at the end of the road. Turn right at the T junction and then when you get to the INKA Supermarket turn left. After a couple of kilometres you will see the signpost for the cemetery.


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