Linked to Chania by an urban wasteland of car dealerships, small factories and wasteland sites Souda or Suda is the main port of Crete, thanks to one of the best deep water anchorages in the Mediterranean. Souda itself is dreary, dirty and noisy place dominated by large military bases.
The British and Commonwealth War Cemetery is by the shore at Souda Bay, near Chania. It is found off the road to the airport on the Akrotiri peninsula. The cemetery is in a very secluded spot in an olive grove right by the sea.
Many of the graves are to unknown soldiers because German occupying forces moved many of the remains and identities were lost. Like all cemeteries maintained by the War Graves Commission, it is beautifully kept. Three dead Germans were buried at Souda Bay, two civilians and a German corporal. His remains were discovered near Maleme in 1956 but his identity tag was removed. An English-made watch was found and it was assumed he was British.
Following an agreement it was decided to leave the remains at Souda Bay and so there is a single headstone to a German soldier in the British War Cemetery. The two civilian Germans were also buried at Souda following a mix-up over identities.
On the hillside overlooking Maleme is a cemetery dedicated to the German paratroopers that were cut down as they dropped from the skies in the Battle of Crete in World War II. The cemetery overlooks the shore and the former airfield below.
The capture of the vital airfield on the plain eventually led to the loss of Crete for the Allies who, in a mixture of stupidity, incompetence and inertia managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Thousand of Allied troops marched over the White Mountains to be evacuated from ports on the south coast.