The sinking of Bartolomeo Colleoni in Crete, 19 July 1940

Shipwrecks, WW2, WW2 in Greece, WW2 Wrecks

By Pierre Kosmidis

Photos: IWM

The Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni was sunk during the naval battle off Cape Spatha in north west Crete, on 19 July 1940.


Out of her crew, 555 were eventually rescued by Allied warships, while 121 perished with the ship.



The battle started when Allied ships in the Aegean saw two Italian cruisers sailing from Libya to Leros.


The Imperial War Museum has a collection of the naval battle, which encapsules the final moments of the cruiser, as well as the shipwrecked Italians who survived.