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In eternal memorial: "They are all ours"

In eternal memorial: "They are all ours"

15 Apr, 2024

The other day, 50 years since 1974, an unprecedented ceremony took place. After a prayer in the church of Agios Panteleimon, the burial of additional bones of missing warriors of 1974 followed at the Makedonitissa Tomb in Nicosia. The identification process showed that these additional bones belong to fifteen heroes of the platoon of the 286th Motorized Infantry Battalion of the National Guard 1974, whose bones had already been located, identified and buried in recent years. The fifteen heroes were young people, mostly 18-20 years old. Those present at the prayer and then at the Tomb included the mother of one, the daughter of another, brothers and relatives of the others and their comrades-in-arms. One case involved a hero-soldier missing for decades who was identified, but his brother, then a reservist, remains missing to this day. 

The information about this legendary platoon, known as "the platoon of Second Lieutenant Sergidis", is shocking. These are testimonies from survivors of the wider area and from the references in a book by the then Turkish military commander. The platoon consisted of 24 young soldiers and a reserve with old atomic weapons, who in the second phase of the Turkish invasion, in the hot summer of August and after an adventurous march with battles, managed to climb the Lapatsa hill, northwest of Nicosia. There they were surrounded by Turkish troops, who launched an attack with the participation of Turkish air force, dozens of tanks, mortars and two elite Turkish battalions. The platoon's decision was a fight to the finish. A battle ensued for hours, until the occupation of the hill by the invading Turkish army. Since then, all of the platoon's soldiers were missing, until most were identified decades later. Three soldiers and the Second Lieutenant are still missing. 

A false witness of the fight to the end of these soldiers was the Turkish commander, who reported that he visited the hill a few days after the battle and saw their lifeless bodies, quite mutilated, while many dead soldiers were still holding their individual rifles. How were these heroes honored and how many know their names?

At the burial of the bones, a family came with fifteen pure white lilies, which they placed one by one reverently on the graves. To someone's question, "who is yours", the answer was spontaneous and from the depths of the ages:  

They are all ours. 

The heroes belong to the homeland and therefore "they are all ours". The fifteen whose additional bones were interred are: 

DEA Papadopoulos Konstantinos of Charalambos, Nicosia

Sergeant Papaioannou Antonios of Savva, Nicosia

Corporal Dimitriou Georgios tou Petros, Xylotympo

Corporal Tsangaris Ioannis tou Michael, Dymes

Soldier Agathokleous Herakles of Christofis, Agios Tychonas

Soldier Theodoulou Theodoulos of Georgiou, Palaikithro

Soldier Ioannou Marios tou Georgiou, Kakopetria

Soldier Iona Paraschos of Christos, Nisos

Catalan soldier Kostas of Christoforos, Agios Epifanios

Soldier of Kyprian Michael of Christofis, Geroskipou

Soldier Michael Michalakis of Georgiou, Strovolos

Soldier Michael Michalakis of Christodoulos, Pentageia

Soldier Nearchus Kyriakos tou Christos, Agios Dimitrianos

Soldier Panagi Panagis of Neoklis, Marathovouno

Soldier Pittis Markos of Andreas, Dali



Kostas Mavridis, MEP (DIKO – S&D), President of the Political Committee for  Mediterranean

photo https://kathimerini.gr 

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