Looking for a place in Chania, for heroes of World War II
We received a letter in Chania Post, from a member of Royal Marines Association. Mr. Ken Brotherhood is trying to find a place for a memorial in Chania.
The Second World War was a very bad time for Greece, and Crete in particular.
The battle for the island and the many acts of bravery during the years of occupation showed the world the true courage of the Cretan people. Among the many allied troops who tried in vain to halt the German invasion were men of my own regiment, the Royal Marines. With other gallant defenders, including your own Vth.Brigade, the were detailed to form a rearguard enabling many others to be evacuated. We have produced a memorial to honour our dead in that action.
Now we come to the problem. A local farmer offered us land for a permanent site, but when he sold the farm, the new owner naturally wanted to use all of it. The cemetery at Souda Bay is full; someone came over especially from the mainland to check. I have tried all I can to find a solution, with no luck. I tried the Greek embassy in London, the British embassy in Athens; nothing.
I would like to appeal directly to the people of Chania. The memorial consists of seven flat metal panels; the Royal Marines badge, an explanation of the reason for the memorial, and a list of the dead.
My wife and I have visited Chania; if the council is willing, it would be relatively easy to mount these panels somewhere along the cliffs along the harbour.
It would be a fitting tribute to the men who died, and also an attraction for the many British tourists who come to your town, and a reason for many more to visit and a continuing source of publicity. The few survivors of the battle, our Crete Veterans, are few in number now, old men in their nineties, growing fewer year by year. They will all soon be gone, but we believe the actions and their bravery should not go, and what they did in those final desperate days should be remembered.
I will be grateful for any help you can offer.
Royal Marines Association