On the trail of veteran’s relatives in Leven...

A military funeral during the Cyprus Emergency
A military funeral during the Cyprus Emergency

A search is underway for the relatives of a soldier from Leven who died in active service during the 1950s.

Lance Corporal William Nicol Cameron died on May 4, 1958 during the ‘Cyprus Emergency’ whilst serving with the Royal Military Police.

Les Smith in Cyprus during the 1950s

Les Smith in Cyprus during the 1950s

William and his comrade Brian Turvey were killed while on patrol in civilian clothes in the Varosha district of Famagusta and are amongst the 371 remembered with honour on the British Cyprus Memorial in Kyrenia.

Now Cyprus veteran Les Smith hopes to track down William’s relatives to let them know that he is eligible to receive a posthumous Elizabeth Cross.

Les, who founded the Cyprus Veterans group, said: “I’ve been in touch with Brian Turvey’s family and now I’d like to get in touch with William’s relatives.

“Anyone who died while in active service since 1945 is eligible for the Elizabeth Cross.”

The ‘Cyprus Emergency’ began in 1954 when Greek Cypriot militant group, the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters, tried to remove the British from Cyprus.

A total of 371 British soldiers lost their lives during the conflict which ended in 1959 and Les, who lives in St Helens on Merseyside, is hoping to track down as many as he can.

“I started this because I’ve been going back to Cyprus for the last couple of years to attend the memorial in Kyrenia,” he said. “When I was there I learned about the rock that’s being brought over from Cyprus that is going into the The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.”

A piece of rock from the island is being brought to the UK by the RAF to be erected with an inscription on a plaque in the shape of Cyprus.

A copper time capsule will be inserted in the Memorial Rock with the names of the 371.

Les said: “I began by letting people know that this is happening, as I’m still in touch with a lot of people who served out there.

“Then I thought, well let’s get as many people whose relatives died out there too and let them know also. So that’s how I got involved in trying to trace as many of the 371 relatives as I can.”

Les’s quest has been going well so far: “My aim is to get 100 of the 371.

“How many I will get I don’t know but I have managed to reunite quite a number so far of people who served out there in all regiments.

“I would ask anyone who knows of anyone who served in Cyprus to please get in touch.

“And I would say to William’s family that he has not been forgotten by his ex-comrades.

“I would love to get the Elizabeth Cross to them as they are entitled to it.”

Contact Les by email at cyprusveterans@gmail.com.