By Chris Elliott…..
With the New Year arriving no doubt we will see many people reflecting on past memories and we are also reflecting on the many Cyprus memories that we have published on CyprusScene.
For the past 6 years Margaret Sheard has been in contact with many British Ex-servicemen who served in Cyprus during the Cyprus Emergency who came forward to share their memories which has led to more memories being shared or past friendships being rekindled.
Perhaps the first ex-serviceman’s memories to be shared was from Derek Chilvers who served with the Suffolk Regiment in Cyprus and following a return visit some years ago he wrote to us asking for a photo we had published in an article about a Royal British Legion Remembrance lunch.
Having received his contact request and asking a few questions about his time and experiences here in Cyprus he was encouraged to remember more which he responded to and very soon he and Margaret were preparing an article together which, when publish in April 2013, received hundreds of comments and has been instrumental in many past friendships being re-kindled and many more individuals telling us of their experiences.
This article “British Army memories in Cyprus 1958-1959 has had over 130 comments and has had 14,120 readings with hundreds of plays of the 2 videos we made and included in it.
Interest in these articles and others continue and in a recent comment Derek Chilvers said to Geoffrey Simpson on his memories article “Cyprus Remembered – Geoffrey Simpson ex 65th Coy RASC”.
“Hello Geoff, my story was the first to be put out by Margaret Sheard and I am truly amazed at what has come from it since and I am now meeting up with the lads I served with and it is really great, we have three reunions a year and at each reunion we have another one of the lads turn up.
Well done with your story and I hope you can find some old friends because of it.
Derek ( Chilvo )”.
Memories of Cyprus was not just those of British servicemen who served here but also their children and we published an article ” Karaolos Camp and Army School, Famagusta” which was published in June 2014 for a group of children, now mature adults, who have a memorial/research Facebook page “Karaolosschool” about an army school they attended..
Our article continues to be read with the occasional comment being made and the latest was from Christine Bagg who said the following.
“I went to the Famagusta Army School for three years from around 1957-1960. I remember the time of the shooting, sitting in the school hall, crossed legged, singing songs until I was loaded into an army truck with a load of other children and taken home.
I had no idea what was going on and found it incredibly exciting. My father was in the Army Education Corps teaching English and Maths to soldiers who had missed lessons during the war. I remember him grim faced climbing on a chair to get his gun from a high cupboard – as an adult teacher he rarely wore it. I can’t remember much about the school, other pupils or teachers but I remember being very happy there, standing at easels for art and going to the beach Saturday mornings for lessons in the shade.
My name then was Christine Shergold”
Memories from that period have also been published for our Turkish Cypriot friends Sermen and Eren Erdogan whose father was the Head Gardener in the grounds of the British Governor’s House where they all lived.
Sermen has written a fine article about their childhood years living there “Cyprus – Childhood memories in the British Governors House 1950 -1962- RIP” followed by another joint article with a rediscovered childhood friend “Cyprus – Childhood Memories in the British Governors House, 1957-1962 by Margaret Archibald and Sermen Erdogan”
Finally on a recent trip back to Cyprus from Australia, Sermen wrote of the visit with his brother Eren to what was the British Governors House where they once lived in “Childhood Memories: Our home revisited after 54 years as a Frozen Cypriot”.
These articles and memoirs are just the tip of the iceberg of so many people’s memories which also started with Margaret writing about Newman’s Farm which once stood on the Karaoğlanoğlu road and the remains of the farmhouse were converted into the Chinese House which still stands there to this day.
Newmans Farm was a nine Donum dairy farm which was started by Philip and Evelyn Newman who settled in Cyprus in 1922. Margaret had the good luck to make contact with Pat Newman, the grand daughter, who supplied her grandmothers memoirs from which a series of articles were published.
These articles created great interest from readers with more information being offered and we also had a visit from the great grand daughter Lara Newman and her husband from Australia and during their 24 hour visit to Northern Cyprus we were able to take them to the Chinese House and also to other notable places connected with the Newmans including the Old British Cemetery where some of her family members are buried.
Pat Newman, the grand daughter, and her husband Fred also came to Northern Cyprus and we were able to show them the same family places and arranged for her to tell the story of the Newman family and Newman’s Farm on BRT Radio and studio TV and finally be interviewed by BRT TV director Engin Dervişağa for his Vox Pop show in what had been her family home – The Chinese House Restaurant (Newman’s Farm).
After the descendents of the Newman family left Cyprus during the Cyprus Troubles a number of people took over the farmhouse building and following a message from Ertan Ziya from Canterbury in the UK we were very soon writing about his father Yusuf Ziya who leased the farm and very soon were meeting members of his family including Ertan when he visited Northern Cyprus and we published an article “Newman’s Farm and Yusuf Ziya”.
During the preparation of this article we tried to find where Yusuf Ziya was buried and found his grave in the huge Dikmen cemetery where we placed flowers much to the delight of his daughter who lives in Texas and left Cyprus before he died and she treasures the photo of his grave that we sent to her.
Looking back we are so very proud to have had the opportunity to help people to share their memories with us so we could share them with a worldwide audience..