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Time is running out to find families of the brave young Ulstermen who lost their lives in Cyprus

letter of the day: medals owed

Apart from the thousands of British servicemen who served in Cyprus from 1955 to 1959, very few people know that, in that time, we lost a total of 371 young soldiers, mostly National Servicemen and 21 British policemen.

I started a project about 18 months ago, searching for the relatives of the 371 British servicemen who lost their lives. My reason is to let them know that their loved ones have not been forgotten by their comrades and that a memorial (thanks to one man) has now been placed in The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. They should also know that, since 2009, the next of kin of the deceased are entitled to receive the Elizabeth Cross.

The memorial at The Arboretum was dedicated in August 2016. A service of remembrance will be held in August each year.

To date, I have contacted over 100 next of kin. Most have now received the Elizabeth Cross. At the moment, I am searching for the families of five men who came from Ireland and served with the Royal Ulster Rifles: Cpl Andrew Bryans, Rifleman Michael Joseph McDonnell, Rifleman Karl George Atkinson, Rifleman Daniel Donald Kinsella and Staff Sgt James William Lane.

I also have contact with the family of Eric Gillett and John White, from Liverpool, and would like to hear from any ex-servicemen who served in Cyprus from 1955 to 1959. Please contact me at: cyprusveterans@gmail.com.

Time is not on our side.

LES SMITH (EX-ROYAL HORSE GUARDS)

Rainford, Lancashire

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