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Cemetery Details

# Cemetery Information

Suda Bay War Cemetery

Turf renovations have begun on part of the cemetery nearest the sea. The expected date of completion is mid-December. All memorials and graves shall be accessible although footing at certain times may be a bit muddy as there shall be no grass.

SUDA BAY WAR CEMETERY

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Casualty Record Detail
Casualty Record Detail
Casualty Record Detail
Casualty Record Detail
Casualty Record Detail
Casualty Record Detail
Casualty Record Detail
SUDA BAY WAR CEMETERY Print this image


Country:
Greece
Identified Casualties:
742

Location Information

Suda Bay War Cemetery is located approximately 5 km east from the centre of Chania (Xania). From Chania follow the Suda Boulevard road for approximately 4 km until you arrive at the junction of Ellis and then turn left following the signs for the Airport and Vlite. Proceed for around 200 metres along this road until you arrive at the junction of Mavridaki Street. Turn left onto Mavridaki Street and follow this road for 400 metres until you come to the CWGC sign on the right hand side. Proceed for a further 100 metres and turn right at the next CWGC sign. The cemetery is in an olive grove.

Visiting Information

NOTE: From 8th July 2014 turf renovation will be undertaken in half of the cemetery. The existing turf will be sprayed off and allowed to die and then later, new grass seed will be sown. This work is required in order to control an invasive grass species called Kikuyu grass. New roses will be planted in the winter.

During the renovations, the entire cemetery will still be accessible although some areas will be muddy underfoot where the grass has been removed. Signs have been installed at the cemetery entrance to inform visitors of the works but the area will not be cordoned off. The expected completion date for the renovations is mid December 2014.

The Cemetery is permanently open and may be visited at any time.

Wheelchair access is via the path to the right of the main entrance.

For further information and enquiries please contact maoffice@cwgc.org

Historical Information

In May 1941, the Commonwealth force in Crete was organised in five widely separated defence areas along the north coast - around the three airfields at Iraklion, Rethymnon and Maleme, and at Suda Bay and the port of Chania. The Germans launched their attack on 20 May with airborne troops. The airfield at Maleme was quickly captured and used for landing German reinforcements. On 23 May, the remainder of the Maleme position had to be given up and its defenders fell back to Chania. On 26 May, the Allied line west of Chania was broken. Suda Bay became indefensible and the troops from these two positions, with the remainder of the Maleme garrison, withdrew across the island to Sfakion, where many of them were evacuated by sea on the nights of the 28 - 31 May. The airborne attacks on the Iraklion and Rethymnon positions on 20 May were repulsed. Iraklion was successfully defended until the night of 29/29 May when the garrison was evacuated by sea. Orders for the Rethymnon garrison to fight its way southward for evacuation did not arrive, and it was overwhelmed on 31 May. Of the total Commonwealth land force of 32,000 men, 18,000 were evacuated, 12,000 were taken prisoner and 2,000 were killed. The site of Suda Bay War Cemetery was chosen after the war and graves were moved there by 21st and 22nd Australian War Graves Units from the four burial grounds that had been established by the German occupying forces at Chania, Iraklion, Rethymnon and Galata, and from isolated sites and civilian cemeteries.

There are now 1,500 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 776 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate a number of casualties believed to be buried among them. The cemetery also contains 19 First World War burials brought in from Suda Bay Consular Cemetery, 1 being unidentified. There are also 7 burials of other nationalities and 37 non-war burials.