Remembrance Sunday at Souda Bay

by Helen Peters –

Yesterday we held the annual service of Remembrance at the Souda Bay War Cemetary. This year was the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of WW1.

The flags were flying and the sea was still and calm, very different to the war when this area saw some savage fighting.

Wreaths were laid on behalf of different regiments and arms of the armed forces.

We had two Veterans of the Cretan conflict of WW2 with us. There were representatives of the Regional Governor of Crete, the Municipality of Hania and an MP (Mr. Kiriakos Virvidakis) from Chania.

Thank you to everyone who made the occasion possible and especially to those we were remembering.

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Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen
Thought to have been written between 8 October 1917 and March, 1918

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