The Police Roll of Honour Trust has erected a major new memorial to recognise the sacrifice made by the British Police Officers of the United Kingdom Police Unit Cyprus (UKPU) who were killed on the Island during the state of emergency in the 1950s. This lasted between 1955-1959.
The emergency started because representatives of the Greek Cypriots sought independence from British Colonial power and unification with mainland Greece. As it developed and the British military presence was increased on the island, it became necessary to also increase numbers within the colonial police. British Police officers, recruited from across the United Kingdom, volunteered to serve on attachment to the island and they became known as the United Kingdom Police Unit to Cyprus (UKPU). Around 1000 officers served on the island during this period, some for multiple periods of attachment.
Eleven of these UKPU officers lost their lives while serving in Cyprus, Eight at the hands of the terrorists and the others due to accidents or from natural causes. Most of these officers were buried on the island.
To read more about the Cyprus Police Memorial Click Here
West Mercia Officers attend the unveiling of the Cyprus Police Memorial
On 8th October 2014, Inspector Nick Semper and Sergeant Neil Whitchurch, both from Herefordshire, attended the unveiling of the Cyprus Police Memorial.
On the 28th September 1956, Sergeant Hugh CARTER, Herefordshire Constabulary, was serving with the United Kingdom Police Unit in Cyprus when he was killed in Ledra Street, Nicosia by terrorists. He was 25 years old.
The officers had intended to travel to Cyprus with Mr Joe Carter, brother of Sergeant Hugh Carter and himself a retired West Mercia Police Officer, and his wife. Unfortunately, Mr Joe Carter was medically unfit to fly, so the officers represented him.
They arrived in Cyprus late on Friday 7th October and then the following morning they met with Steve Lloyd and Sid MacKay, both of the Police Roll of Honour Trust. They then set about locating the old British Cemetery.
Later that day they caught the bus back to the Cemetery. Whilst waiting for the bus, they met two ladies who had previously served as Police Officers in Cyprus during the Emergency, one of whom is a West Mercia Police pensioner.
Mrs Patricia Young met her husband whilst serving in Cyprus, left the police upon returning to the UK and followed her husband to Worcestershire. He finished his service in Bromyard. Pat currently claims a widow’s pension and her sight is failing. We assisted her during the ceremony, and through the Remembrance Day ceremony the following day as the light faded early and she had great difficulty with the extraordinarily high kerbs.
Upon arriving at the Old British Cemetery the officers were directed to their seats and found that wreaths had all been organised perfectly and were placed on the seats.
Sir Hugh ORDE made the key address and unveiled the Cyprus Police Memorial. This was followed by the blessing, the Act of Remembrance and the placing of wreaths. Sergeant Neil Whitchurch placed a wreath on behalf of West Mercia Police Federation, whilst Inspector Nick Semper placed one on behalf of West Mercia Police.
The ceremony finished quite late, by which time it was dark. It was followed by a drinks reception during which Sid MacKay made presentations to key individuals, in particular to the surviving relatives of Police Officers of the United Kingdom Police Unit who had been killed in Cyprus during the Emergency. Inspector Semper and Sergeant Whitchurch accepted on behalf of Mr Joe Carter.
The following day, Sunday 9th November, Inspector Semper and Sergeant Whitchurch attended the Remembrance Day Service at the same Cemetery, where a Military Memorial also exists, and they again placed wreaths on behalf of West Mercia Police and West Mercia Police Federation.
On Friday 14th November they visited Mr Joe Carter at his home address in Malvern. They told him all about the unveiling of the memorial and provided him with some photographs, and most importantly they gave him the plaque presented by Sid MacKay on behalf of the Police Roll of Honour Trust.
The officers say that it was a genuine honour for them to represent the Carter family, West Mercia Police and West Mercia Police Federation at the unveiling of the Cyprus Police Memorial.