Crete has seen wave after wave of invaders over the centuries. It was the site of major invasions during the World Wars. It was a battleground, a blood bath and is now a place of remembrance. The Allied Cemetery was established and holds the remains not just of the English, Scots, Welsh but Canadians, New Zealanders and Australians. Fully half the graves hold unidentified remains for in many cases neither ID nor relocation was possible. Those that survived those early days of battle starting 20 May 1941 were evacuated. The dead, quickly buried, remained behind.
It is peaceful, the visitors respectful. And these are the rows upon rows of those who are buried here – there are names and dates where they are known, regimental identification is all that is known for others. For others it is only country that might be known. Ground forces, navy, pilots and crew all rest here together. Religion doesn’t matter, country of origin doesn’t matter. Some graves have momentos from family, others pebbles from visitors, some just cared for by the Commission.