Englishman Mark Cooling visited the Souda Bay Cemetery in May 2022. He wanted to tell descendents of the men of 28th Māori Battalion:
"Please be very re-assured that all these brave young heroes are being looked after with exemplary care by the locals. They clearly have enormous respect for them and their huge sacrifice. The morning we visited there were three men tending to the grounds. One thing that stood out was how lush the turf looked. Crete has a very hot climate and even the lawns of the millionaires garden residences suffer and don't look this impressive. The cemetery overlooks picturesque Souda Bay and also had the white mountains as a backdrop."
Photo supplied by Mark Cooling.
Souda Bay Cemetery
Submitted by Kusabs on Sun, 30/10/2022 - 10:28
My Mother’s brother, Leroy Merriman of B Company 28th Maori Battalion, was killed during the Battle of 42nd Street, 27 May 1941 and is buried in this cemetery.
Following cessation of hostilities, graves registration were reburying three bodies. It had the names of the three deceased soldiers but could not put names to bodies, this was before DNA identification was available. They did have a lead, one victim had a gold tooth filing. Each of the three soldiers’ families were contacted to confirm if their family member had a gold filing. Unfortunately Leroy’s family was not able to confirm this and as a result he lies in an unmarked grave in Souda Bay Cemetery.
When my brothers one of my sons and I visited the island in 2011 having no known grave for our Uncle we tangi’d over the grave of an unknown hero in the hope that we had found our loved one.