The forgotten soldiers buried in no man's land

Breaking News

Fify years ago, terrorists on Cyprus killed nearly 400 British soldiers. Now, with the help of Telegraph readers, they are at last to get a fitting memorial, reports Gordon Rayner.

In an all but forgotten graveyard in the UN-patrolled no man's land which divides Cyprus, a small group of ageing British veterans will gather today to remember 371 servicemen whose sacrifice remains unrecognised 50 years after they fell.

Wayne's Keep Military Cemetery, near Nicosia, is the last resting place of the soldiers, sailors and airmen murdered by Greek-Cypriot terrorists during four years of bloodshed which ended in April 1959. The vast majority of those killed were young men carrying out National Service, some of the last British conscripts to lose their lives in service of their country.

Yet to date, no memorial has been built to honour them, and with Wayne's Keep virtually inaccessible to the general public, their families and comrades feel a deep frustration at being unable to pay their respects.

This year, with the help of Telegraph readers, they intend to right that wrong by raising £200,000 for a permanent memorial on Cyprus, which will bear the names of every man who died at the hands of the Greek Cypriot guerrilla organisation EOKA.

Today's commemoration service, marking the 50th anniversary of the end of hostilities, will be one of the only gatherings at Wayne's Keep since Cyprus was divided more than 30 years ago. A cruel quirk of geography means that the cemetery, which also includes Second World War graves, lies in the narrow buffer zone, enforced by the United Nations, which divides the Greek Cypriots in the south and the Turkish Cypriots in the north.

Wreaths will be laid by representatives of the British High Commission, which has given its support to the memorial campaign, and of the Army, which lost 274 men, the Royal Air Force, which lost 69, and of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, which lost 28 between them.

comments powered by Disqus