Heidi Trautmann

Nov 11, 12 and 13 : 'Festival of Remembrance’ Concert

We will remember them!


*Plans to commemorate our fallen in November are well advanced here in the TRNC and include a three night ‘Festival of Remembrance’ Concert, as well as a Remembrance Day Service at the Old British Cemetery in Girne, followed by a 3 course luncheon at the Pia Bella hotel.


It is now 10 months since the official Memorial Service took place at the Old British Cemetery in Girne on Sunday 8 November 2009, which was attended by over 450 veterans from the UK and at least the same amount from expats and locals, and at which there was also an unveiling of a large granite Memorial to honour the lives of the 371 servicemen killed in the ‘Cyprus Emergency’ between 1955 – 59. The service was conducted by The Rt. Revd Michael Lewis, Bishop in Cyprus and the Gulf, Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East with Peter Millett, the British High Commissioner, as the guest of honour on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.  Plans are now being drawn up for another Remembrance Service which will commence at 12.30pm on Sunday 14 November which will be open to the general public and it is anticipated that up to 50 UK based veterans of the conflict will also attend, many travelling with the Royal British Legion Travel Club.

The British Cyprus Memorial Trust was established nearly three years ago in the UK whose members include Lord Maginnis, Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon, General Sir John Waters, and Lieutenant General Sir Henry Beverley with the main aim of raising donations from the public in order to allow this project to move forward. You can visit the Trust website at:  www.britishcyprusmemorial.org for further information.  The fruits of their efforts can be seen at the Old British Cemetery in the form of a granite Memorial which was actually made in the UK and was shipped over to the island just in time for the official unveiling.  For the chief architect and designer of the memorial, Keith Rackham from H L Perfitt Ltd of Diss in Norfolk, this was a labour of love for both himself and the company who are the appointed suppliers to the MOD to provide individual Memorials for those killed on active service, and Keith flew in to North Cyprus early last November in order to personally oversee the unloading and erection of the Memorial.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon commented “The British Cyprus Memorial Trust is immensely grateful to all those in Northern Cyprus who have worked so hard to ensure that the Cyprus Memorial was successfully unveiled last November in Girne and the Memorial should stand the test of time and be a focal point for remembrance for years to come.”  Having achieved their stated aim the Trust will wind down by the end of the year with responsibility being handed over to a local committee based here in the TRNC.


*Every country has a right to commemorate their dead – in fact it is a duty


We spoke to the Chairman of the local organising committee for his view:  Retired Major Brian Thomas BEM has been the Chairman of the local organising committee here in the north since May 2009 and as the ‘leg on the ground’ the committee have again been quietly busying themselves with the organisation of this year’s memorial weekend.  Brian, who served for 33 years in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and retired to North Cyprus in 2006, commented “Last year’s Memorial service was an emotionally charged affair for both the veterans and the general public and we now aim to conduct a formal Remembrance Service at the Old British Cemetery every Remembrance Sunday with the Memorial as a focal point.  As we did last year there will be a seating enclosure on the road outside the cemetery, the dual carriageway will be closed for the duration of the 40 minute service, we have booked a trumpeter who is travelling from the UK and ChorusLambousa choir will also perform and the general public are most welcome to attend.  In addition this year ChorusLambousa are holding a ‘Festival of Remembrance’ Concert over 3 nights (Thursday 11, Friday 12 and Saturday 13 November) at the Baron’s Theatre in the Chateau Lambousa which will include songs from the past, some poetry reading as well as some community singing and this should be a very popular event for which tickets are now on sale for 25tl at the Saturday Lambousa market and also Molly’s Place near the Pia Bella in Girne. The theatre owner, Gordon Kent, is even allowing us to raise much needed funds at this event for the upkeep of the Memorial. Finally we have arranged a 3 course sit down luncheon to take place immediately after the Remembrance Service from 2pm at the Pia Bella hotel in Girne which will give locals the chance to mix with the veterans.  Tickets are £20 per head and you can book direct with the hotel from now until the first week in November.”


*The last word goes to a relative in the UK who travelled to the TRNC for last year’s Memorial Service…


The Trust received the following message from a travelling relative titled ‘What can one say?’ -  “It’s hard to know what to say after all these years. Trying to find out about this that and the other of my brother Ivan...Now all of a sudden it’s happening, and I am being introduced to complete strangers that are making me cry at 71…oh dear, oh dear.  I just want to say a big thank YOU to all that have been so helpful, and still are, so that our visit to Cyprus this coming November, will finally put a closure on WHY. Thanking you once again, I remain...very gobsmacked, but a happy man!”

Further comments from relatives and well-wishers cab be viewed at an online Memorial Book at the following link:  www.friendsandrelations.com/partners/bcmt/html/book/


FOTOS:  The Memorial unveiling in 2009




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