Chania Commonwealth War Cemetery

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Location: Souda

Northwest of the port of Souda, 5 km from Chania Town, you can find the Commonwealth War Cemetery. This is an impressive location at the edge of Souda Bay offering magnificent views of the Aegean Sea. The graves in this cemetery belong to soldiers of the Commonwealth who died in Crete during the Second World War.

More specifically, there are 1,527 tombs of soldiers who died during the Battle of Crete (May 1941) and during resistance operations against the Nazi troops all over the island till 1945, when the Second World War ended. Most of the soldiers buried here are British (862), but there are also soldiers from Australia (197), New Zealand (446), Canada (5), South Africa (9) and India (1).

At the entrance, there is an inscription with the names of all soldiers buried in this cemetery. It also houses the tomb of the brilliant archaeologist John Pendlebury, curator of Knossos from 1930 to 1934, who continued the excavations started by Sir Arthur Evans in Crete. When World War II started, Pendlebury joined the British Intelligence Service and returned to Crete to organize the Resistance, but was executed by the Germans in 1941.

Louis de Soissons was the architect of this cemetery, whose maintenance is the responsibility of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Every year, events are held here in the memory of the victims of World War II that lost their lives in Crete. Throughout the year, the cemetery is visited by large numbers of people from all over the world, mainly from Britain, Australia and New Zealand.



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