Visit to Wayne’s Keep – November 2014
By Margaret Sheard….
Although I had arranged a visit to Wayne’s Keep for 4 of our ex-servicemen friends from the UK, we eventually joined together with the Royal British Legion, Kyrenia Branch, party which was attending on the same day.
We met up at the Pia Bella Hotel in Girne and the 2 coaches arrived to collect the remainder of the group from this pick-up point. Our access to the buffer zone was through Metehan Crossing and from there we were escorted by the UN to Wayne’s Keep which was our first port of call. The Custodian, John Whitmore, who had arranged the visit for both myself and RBL, gave a short talk to the group about the cemetery before we passed through to wander around looking at the gravestones which I always find very distressing when you see the ages of these young men and women who lost their lives, 18, 19, 20 years old, such a waste.
Having visited the cemetery on quite a few occasions, we still have a feeling of sadness and this time with a large party of people it was even more poignant as many of them had a particular grave to visit. One lady had a bouquet of flowers which she placed on her fiancee’s grave, such a sad moment. 3 of our friends from the Suffolk Regiment placed a cross on a grave of a fallen soldier of the Suffolk’s, as they did when we visited last year.
The UN Padre joined us and the Union Flag and Branch Standard was marched into the area by the RBL Branch Standard Bearer Mr. Kim Tyler, then there was a short Remembrance service and a wreath was laid by one of the group. Two UN buglers played the last post at the end of the service. It was a very emotional experience as I had found before when attending a Remembrance Sunday service at Wayne’s Keep.
We spent quite a bit of time at Wayne’s Keep before boarding the coaches again and travelling through the buffer zone to St Columba Church, where the UN had laid on some refreshments. As we were travelling it was interesting to hear the comments of the members of our party, Derek, Mick, Terry and Harry, as they recognised certain landmarks, it must be very nostalgic for them to be in the area where they spent most of their national service days in Cyprus way back in the 1950’s, many still being in their late teens. The church is still in use and as you enter there is a room full of memorabilia and many photographs and then entering the church itself there is a feeling of peace and calm. Another nostalgic visit for many.
It was time to board the coaches for our return journey back to Kyrenia and I think everyone enjoyed their visit to the buffer zone and to pay their respects at Wayne’s Keep.