An emotional remembrance service was attended on Monday by about 150 veterans and their families, some of whom had travelled from as far afield as New Zealand, at the “Cyprus Rock” in the UK’s National Memorial Arboretum, at Alrewas, Staffordshire.
It was the first annual ceremony to take place there since the monument was inaugurated last year.
The four-tonne granite rock, transported to the UK from RAF Akrotiri, contains a capsule bearing the names of all 371 service personnel and 21 civilian police killed during their tours to Cyprus during the Emergency.
The service included a two-minute silence and the lowering of standards. Wreaths were laid and the Last Post and Reveille sounded.
David Littlemore, a former military police officer from the era and Royal British Legion Kyrenia branch member who spearheaded the campaign for a Cyprus memorial in Britain, told Cyprus Today those attending had had the chance to share memories.
“It was a very emotional day for us all,” he said.
“These events go back 60 years now and are lost from most people’s memory, but not [that of] the veterans and families, some of whom never had the chance back then to have the bodies of their loved ones shipped to the UK to be buried there, and never got the chance to even visit their graves.
“Most of those who never came home . . . were national servicemen who didn’t volunteer to go at the age of 19 and 20.”
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