Introduction by Margaret Sheard …..

Having been present at the unveiling of the Cyprus Rock Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in the UK, I was disappointed that it was not possible to attend the first memorial service which was held on 21st August 2017.

A review of the memorial service has been circulated by David Littlemore who dedicated so much time in arranging for this memorial to become a reality to commemorate the British military personnel and police officers who lost their lives during the Cyprus Emergency 1955-59.  Following is David’s account of the first memorial service.

By David Littlemore …..

On Monday the 21st of August we held the 1st Memorial Service at the NMA since last year’s Unveiling and I am delighted to report that it was a resounding success with about 150 veterans and their families attending. We had a number of families of men who had lost their lives in the Cyprus Emergency attending for the first time having been informed about the service by the “Cyprus Veterans”.  One of these families had travelled from New Zealand to attend the service and, with the support of the Cyprus Veterans, they are to be presented with the Elizabeth Cross in London. 

It was agreed by those present that the service would be a regular annual event at the NMA and would be held on the 21st of August as the Cyprus Emergency Memorial Day. 

Below is another comment, received via Cyprus Veterans, from Derek Yeomans who attended the memorial service.

The attendance for the service was down on last year, however, a total of 150 friends and family made the journey to the Arboretum to pay their respects to the 371 who died during the conflict. The purpose of the day was not only to remember but not to forget those who rest in Wayne’s Keep.

It was great to meet up with so many old friends who pledged to make the journey to North Cyprus for Remembrance Sunday in November, most of us now in our 80s so time is not on our side and in the near future travel may be restricted to local shops.  Altogether the day went well and looking forward to next year.  Regards Derek Yeomans (Royal Artillery) 

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By coincidence I have just received an email from Betty Miles who we were able to help in 2015 with a mystery about her husband Dave’s childhood friend, Bobby, who lost his life in Cyprus.   Betty and Dave were in the area on 19th August and visited the Arboretum so were able to lay a cross at the Cyprus memorial.  They commented on what a wonderful place it is.

Robert Leslie Bunton was accidentally killed in Cyprus on 5th October 1958 while doing his national service.  The mystery was where he was buried as there was no grave at Wayne’s Keep.   We eventually established that Bobby had been repatriated and he was buried at Rippleside Cemetery, Dagenham on 14th October 1958.  Following this information, Betty and Dave were able to pay their respects at Bobby’s grave.  To see this article – click here